Does Cotton Polyester Shrink

Is there any cotton and polyester blend garment in your cupboard that you need to shrink for the perfect fit? Unlike clothing items made of 100% cotton, the cotton-polyester blended clothes are challenging to shrink. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Yes, cotton polyester blends shrink. Depending on the ratio of the two materials used in making the garment, you can determine how much shrinkage is possible. The higher the percentage of cotton used in producing the apparel, the more shrinkage, as cotton is more prone to shrinkage than polyester.

The best way to shrink them is by using hot water to wash the garment, applying high heat to dry it, and keeping it on the dryer for some time. In this blog post, you’ll get all the answers concerning whether cotton polyester blend garments shrink and, if yes, how to shrink them. So, hold your horses and get started.

Does Cotton Polyester Shrink?

Before you jump into the level of shrinkage of a cotton-polyester blended garment, understand where the garment shrinkage comes from. But it’s crucial to delve into some chemistry facts regarding cotton. Given that, irrespective of whether it’s natural or synthetic, every fabric material in the world is derived from the same thing – polymers.

Cotton Polyester Shrink

Based on the fabric type, polymers can be short and long. Polymers are chained-like elements, and these chains are interlinked via internal bonding. Such bonds are considered to be rigid, which remains intact in the case of both synthetic and natural fibers.

When it comes to these two fabric types, the natural ones are directly derived from animal or plant sources. Simultaneously, synthetic ones are artificial, processed, and made by humans. In terms of chemistry, the primary difference between these two fabrics is that synthetic fabrics come with long-chained polymers, while cotton fabrics consist of short-chained polymers.

You may already know that fabrics like silk, muslin, wool, etc., and cotton, fall under the category of natural materials. And garments produced using natural fibers tend to shrink after a thorough wash and this shrinkage links with the fabric’s short-chained polymers.

When natural fibers like cotton are utilized for producing apparel in the textile industry, they undergo several chemical processes and weaving. During such conditions, the manufacturers pull the short-chained polymers for an extended period to produce garments.

As a result of this artificial lengthening, when you later apply heat on the finished garment product, the fiber chains within the garment return to their natural position. And thus, the natural fabric materials tend to get shrank.

However, that isn’t the case with synthetic fibers like polyester. As they are produced long right from the initial stage of their processing to meet the garment’s demands, they lack the tendency to shrink or shorten in most cases. But when you combine these two fabrics, cotton and polyester, and if the cotton’s percentage is higher or equal to that of the polyester, you can shrink the garment slightly.

Does Polyester Shrink More Than Cotton?

No, polyester doesn’t shrink more than cotton, and there’s a reason behind that. Polyester and cotton are the two most preferred and widely used fibers in the textile world, but they come with distinctive behaviors. Polyester is a complete synthetic fiber that withstands and resists moisture, whereas cotton is a natural fiber that ensures seamless moisture absorption.

Cotton Polyester Shrink

Consequently, cotton becomes the most breathable and comfortable fiber with good tensile strength and a high absorption rate. On the other hand, polyester resists moisture absorption, resulting in it being highly resistant to wrinkles, mildew, stretching, and incredibly shrinking. Despite washing a polyester fabric many times, it will retain its shape and keep the garment durable.

Polyester is shrink-resistant, but cotton isn’t. So, when you blend these two fibers into one, you get a fabric that is not so prone to shrinking. A few factors can help you shrink a 50% cotton and 50% polyester blend. However, if the percentage of polyester is above 50% in the mix, shrinking the garment will become more challenging than ever.

Will 60 Cotton 40 Polyester Shrink?

Yes, a 60% cotton and 40% polyester blend garment will shrink. However, it will shrink only when treated under high-temperature conditions during the washing process. This applies to all garments, including shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, tops, and more, made of 60 cotton 40 polyester blend.

Cotton Polyester Shrink

The level of shrinkage depends on the amount of cotton in the cotton-polyester blend. And the fact that a 60 cotton 40 polyester blend has more cotton than polyester makes it easy to shrink. After all, there’s a reason why cotton shrinks a lot and fabrics like polyester do not.

As most natural fabrics are composed of a sturdy structure, they tend to shrink a little more than any other fabric. However, the shrinkage in a cotton-polyester blend garment will be much lesser when compared to the shrinkage in 100% cotton apparel.

Does 50 Percent Cotton and 50 Percent Polyester Shrink?

You can seamlessly shrink a 50 percent cotton and 50 percent polyester blended garment. However, the cotton part of the garment allows shrinkage, and polyester doesn’t shrink. Only cotton contributes to the shrinking process, so the shrinkage level will be much lower.

Cotton Polyester Shrink

A washing machine and a dryer becomes the two most crucial pieces of equipment for shrinking a 50 cotton 50 polyester blend garment. While washing and drying the blended garment, you’ll need to apply high heat to it. But you must be cautious when performing shrinkage on a t-shirt or garment with embroidered detail or graphic print. In that case, flip the apparel inside out, as it will keep it safe from fading and pilling.

Please get started by placing the garment inside the washing machine and pouring hot water into it. For washing and rinsing, set the washing machine to ‘high heat.’ Try using the most prolonged washing cycle, and do not use any laundry detergent unless the garment is too dirty.

Once done, place the garment inside the dryer. Here also set the dryer to ‘high heat.’ Keep checking the garment’s fabric material for shrinkage. If the outcome is still not satisfying, go for a hot iron, it will provide some additional shrinkage.

Steps To Shrink a Cotton Polyester Garment

The conventional washing and drying method is the best way to shrink your cotton-polyester garment. Here are the steps on how to shrink it:

Cotton Polyester Shrink

Step 1: Look At The Care Label

Make sure the garment is made up of polyester and cotton blend. The shrinkage procedure is irreversible, so you must implement the proper method to prevent excessive shrinkage.

Step 2: Take a Pot & Boil Distilled Water In It

When boiling distilled water in a bowl or pot, leave space to place the garment without any chance of water overflowing. To avoid color bleeding of the cloth, add some white vinegar to the water.

Step 3: Dip & Soak The Garment In The Hot Water Pot

Once the water begins boiling, dip the garment inside the pot for the next five minutes. To ensure it soaks in properly, stir it with a wooden spoon.

However, if you don’t want to shrink the garment too much, it’s best to take the pot off the stove when it’s on the verge of hitting the boiling point. Then, let the pool cool down for five minutes before dipping the garment inside.

The more you allow it to cool down, the lesser will be the shrinkage. But if you dip the garment inside the boiling water pot directly without any cooling, the shrinkage will be twice the size.

Step 4: Take The Garment Out of The Hot Water

Now carefully remove the garment from the hot water pot. To avoid any burning of the hands, use tongs. Then, keep it inside the dryer. Set the dryer into the ‘high temp’ setting and let it tumble dry. Once done, wear the garment and check if you have got the perfect fit or not.


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