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Do Polo Shirts Shrink? (Here’s What You Need To Do!)

Most polo shirts tend to shrink when they are washed or dried at high temperatures. They do not stretch naturally over time.

Polo shirts are practically a wardrobe essential.

They are extremely versatile, supremely elegant, and if they fit perfectly, they make you look like Ryan Gosling.

But the question that I’ll be dealing with today is not about the aesthetical value of polo shirts; it’s about something else.

Their size.

In this article, I will be going over the stretching and shrinking capabilities of polo shirts in detail, along with some additional information that you might find helpful.

Do Polo Shirts Shrink in the Wash?

pique polo shirt

Polo shirts shrink when they are washed using hot water. Putting them in a dryer can also lead to shrinkage, especially if the high heat setting is used.

Most polo shirts are made from cotton or polyester-cotton blends. The presence of cotton in these shirts proves to be the reason behind the reduction in size over time.

See, cotton is a natural fabric. And one of the major downsides of using natural fabrics is that they tend to shrink pretty easily.

Manufacturers try to solve this problem by adding a synthetic fiber like polyester to the mix, but that does not get rid of the shrinking, it just lessens the likelihood of it happening.

Therefore, if you want to prevent your polo shirts from shrinking, you have to wash them in cold water. Instead of using the dryer, you need to air-dry your polos on a clothesline.

Also pay special attention to your black polo shirts, because repeatedly washing them can lead to color-fading.

How much do Polo Shirts Shrink?

Material of Polo ShirtShrinkage (In %)
Cotton10-15%
Pique5-10%
Polyester0%

Depending on the fabric used to make the shirt, a polo shirt can shrink up to 15% of its original size in a single wash.

While cotton has the highest shrinking percentage at 15%, pique (which is essentially a unique weave of cotton) is not much behind with around 10% shrinkage.

True polyester shirts, which are generally used during workouts, do not shrink at all due to the absence of cotton in the mix.

Do Pique Polo Shirts Shrink?

Pique polos also tend to shrink because pique is essentially a weave of cotton. It is the fabric that gives polo shirts their waffle-like pattern.

And because the main ingredient in making pique polo shirts is in fact cotton, they can also shrink if subjected to the high temperatures and agitation of a tumble-dryer.

How to Prevent a Polo Shirt from Shrinking?

The best way to prevent polo shirts from shrinking is to take care of them properly. This includes using proper washing and drying techniques that don’t rely on heat.

It is best to hand-wash a polo, but I know that it isn’t possible a lot of the time. Therefore, you can machine-wash it, but just make sure that you are using cold water. Not hot water, not lukewarm water – cold water.

Getting the drying process right is even more important.

Instead of throwing your polo in the dryer, hang it up on a clothesline instead. This will allow the shirt to naturally air-dry, and the lack of heat is going to prevent it from shrinking any further.

Nail these two things and it would be enough to prevent you from shrinking another polo shirt again.

How to Shrink a New Polo Shirt?

Sometimes, in a cruel twist of fate, you might actually need to shrink your polo shirt. In order to do that, you need to go over the following steps:

  1. Put your polo shirt in the washing machine, and select the hot water option.
  2. Once the wash cycle ends, take it out and immediately put it in the dryer.
  3. Select the highest heat setting available on the dryer.
  4. Dry your polo for 10-15 minutes. By the time it comes out, it should have shrunk by at least 5-10% depending on the material of the shirt.
  5. Repeat this process once again if you want to further shrink your polo shirt.

Thus, in order to shrink a polo, you need to do everything that the care label advises you not to do. But remember, you have no control over how much the shirt actually ends up shrinking.

Therefore, I would suggest you consider getting your polo shirt tailored instead. This will give you complete control over the changes you want in your garment.

Final Remarks

In this article, I tried to cover the entire topic of polo shirt shrinkage to the best of my abilities. All you can really do to make sure they stay the same size is use proper washing and cleaning techniques.

Here’s a quick recap of the article.

Do polo shirts shrink? Yes, polo shirts can shrink if they are subjected to high temperatures during the washing and drying process. This generally happens due to the high amount of cotton fibers in most polos.