How To Shrink Polyester And Spandex? (For Beginners)

Polyester-spandex blends are seeing a rise in popularity lately. They are being used to make shirts, shorts, tights, dresses, and much more.

But their number one use case is in the athleisure side of things. They are used to make compression pants and shirts that are meant to be worn in the gym.

If like me, you have been having some success in losing weight, then you would have ended up with a bunch of polyester-spandex blend clothing that’s just too big for you.

In this guide, I would be exploring a few different ways through which you can shrink the size of your polyester spandex garments.

4 Ways To Shrink Polyester And Spandex Clothes

shrinking spandex

There are 4 major ways to reduce the size of your polyester-spandex clothing. I have covered all of them in detail below.

1. Tailor your clothing

Tailoring is my recommended way of reducing the size of your polyester spandex garments. While it may not technically come in the category of “shrinking”, tailoring gives you complete control over how you want your clothes to look.

Both polyester and spandex can be tailored individually; therefore, a polyester-spandex blend can also be tailored. Most professionals would not have any problems in dealing with this material.

And the tailoring costs aren’t going to be too high. Most of the stuff on your garment can probably be tailored for $20 or less.

2. Wash and dry at higher temperatures

If you want to avoid tailoring, go for this method.

Basically, try to subject your polyester-spandex clothes to a lot of heat in a short period of time. First, take the garment and put it through a wash cycle. Instead of lukewarm or cold, make sure that the “hot” setting has been selected on the washing machine.

As soon as you take the garment out, put it in the dryer. Again, go for the highest heat settings available in your dryer. Once the garment is dry, it would have probably shrunk by 5-10%.

Repeat this process if necessary.

3. Iron immediately after washing

Another way to shrink polyester and spandex blends is to subject them to ironing directly after a wash.

This is the method I would recommend if you don’t have a dryer or don’t want to use one.

Take your polyester spandex garment and put it in the washing machine. Use hot water to wash the clothing and once the cycle is over, immediately lay the item flat on an ironing board.

Select the highest heat setting on your iron. Put a pressing cloth so that you don’t burn the polyester. Start ironing while the garment is still wet. Iron it until it has completely dried.

Depending on the proportions of the blend, your polyester-spandex clothing would have shrunk a lot.

4. Soak in hot water

The final method doesn’t require the use of a dryer, an iron, or even a washing machine.

Take boiling water and fill up a bucket with it. Take your polyester-spandex clothes and soak them in the bucket. Repeat this process once the water becomes cold or lukewarm to touch.

Going over this process 3-4 times would significantly shrink your polyester-spandex blends.

However, I recommend that you keep checking the size of the garment every time you switch up the water. Once the piece fits you perfectly, there’s no need to repeat the process.

How Much Shrinkage To Expect From Polyester-Spandex Blends?

Polyester and spandex blends tend to shrink from anywhere between 5% to 25% after being subjected to hot water treatment.

This is much less than the shrinkage observed by polyester-cotton blends because, in this situation, both materials are synthetic.

But keep in mind that this number is based on my general observations, and your clothes may shrink more or less depending upon the proportions of the blend.

That’s my main issue with shrinking clothes by subjecting them to heat. You don’t really have a lot of control over the dimensions of the final product.

According to me, tailoring is going to be a much better solution than these DIY hacks. Yes, it might cost a bit more, but it is not going to be completely unpredictable.

Is Polyester Spandex Blend Stretchy?

A polyester-spandex blend is very stretchy, but it does not increase its size over time.

Confused? Let me explain a bit.

The proportion of spandex in the blend is what makes a polyester-spandex garment stretchy. Even 2% spandex provides a lot of stretch.

But since both polyester and spandex and synthetic materials, they don’t mold to your body or stretch in the way that a leather jacket would.

They don’t become softer with every wear like a linen shirt would – polyester spandex blends are going to stay the way they are. You shouldn’t expect a huge transformation from them.

Is Polyester Spandex Water Resistant?

Polyester-spandex clothes are water-resistant and moisture-wicking. They don’t absorb water at all.

The reason for their water resistance is the fact that both spandex and polyester are synthetic fabrics. They are treated in such a way during their manufacturing process so that they don’ absorb a lot of water.

This quality of polyester-spandex blends makes them a favorite of gymgoers and athletes. Wearing a cotton shirt during a workout is not a good idea, because you would be completely drenched by the time you are finished.

This is the problem that polyester-spandex blends solve.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does polyester spandex stretch?

Polyester-spandex blends are stretchy in nature, but they do not stretch over time. Being synthetic in nature, the dimensions of these garments remains the same.

Do polyester spandex shirts shrink?

Polyester spandex shirts tend to shrink when they are subject to direct application of heat. This can include tumble-drying and ironing at a high temperature.

Does polyester spandex wrinkle?

Polyester spandex wrinkles, but not extensively. It wrinkles much less than natural fabrics such as cotton and polyester.

Final Remarks

There are four basic methods that you can employ in order to shrink your polyester-spandex clothes:

  1. Tailoring your clothing.
  2. Washing and drying at high temperatures.
  3. Ironing a wet polyester-spandex garment at a high heat setting.
  4. Soaking the clothes in boiling water.