Does polyester shrink in the wash?

Many clothes, bed linen, blankets, etc. are made using polyester and so it’s important to understand how to care for items made from it. Which begs the question, does polyester shrink in the wash?

Does polyester shrink in the wash?

The answer is that in the main, no, polyester doesn’t shrink in the wash. That’s only true when the heat isn’t too much though. If you keep polyester in the washing machine or spin dryer for too long, then the resulting heat can in fact make it shrink a little.

Polyester doesn’t shrink in the wash at low temperatures.

The above is also only true for clothing and linen that’s made from 100% polyester. In practice, many items are made from natural fibers woven together with polyester fibers. For example, cotton is often used, in which case the resultant material is known as polycotton. Silk and wool are also often mixed with polyester.

While, as stated earlier, polyester won’t generally shrink in the wash, the same isn’t necessarily true of these natural fibers. And so extra care must be taken when washing these blended materials.

What is polyester?

Polyesters are a category of synthetic (that is, man-made through chemical synthesis) materials, consisting of long chain polymer molecules. Polyesters find a wide range of uses including clothes, plastic bottles, insulation tape, blankets and bed sheets.