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Which Fabrics Shrink in the Dryer?

Some fabrics stand up to the dryer like a champ. Others shrink away in fear—or, rather, heat. You probably already know that fabrics like wool and silk are as delicate as they come and need to be laid flat to dry. But what about the more common—and the obscure—fabrics in your closet? We’ve got you covered with this guide. 

Rapid-fire FAQs About Materials That Shrink 

Does polyester shrink in the dryer?  

No. 100% polyester fabric holds up extremely well in the washer and dryer, even on hot settings. It’s one of the most shrink-resistant, wrinkle-resistant fabrics known to humankind. (Thanks, British scientists in the 1940s!)  

Does rayon shrink in the dryer? 

Yes. Rayon shrinks in the dryer, sometimes even on the delicate setting. Additionally, this clothing material shrinks with heat of any other kind, such as hand-washing in hot water or ironing on high heat. However, in rare cases, a rayon-blend item can be machine-dried. Check the care tag to be sure.  

Does “dry fit” material shrink in the dryer? 

Not usually. Many performance fabrics are polyester blends that can be dried in the dryer without fear of shrinkage. Others may be cotton blends that need to be hung to dry.  

Related Topic: Which Is Correct: Laundry Mat or Laundromat? 

Does cotton shrink in the dryer? 

Yes, sometimes. 100% cotton can shrink in the dryer, especially on the hot setting. But you can likely get away with machine-drying a tightly woven cotton if you use the cool/delicate setting during both the washer and dryer cycle. Just double-check the care instructions. There are pre-shrunk cotton fabrics that are more durable.  

Does linen shrink in the dryer? 

Yes, usually. Linen reliably shrinks in the dryer, especially on the hot setting. It tends to shrink when exposed to water too. New linen items (not pre-washed) can be expected to shrink up to 4% the first time you wash them, even if you hang them to dry. The care tag on linen often recommends machine- or hand-washing in lukewarm water and hanging the item to dry.  

Does viscose shrink in the dryer? 

Yes. Viscose items are known to shrink during dryer cycles, due to both heat and motion scrunching the fibers. It’s not one of those pre-shrinkable fabrics, either—it can shrink every single time you wash and dry it.  

Does nylon shrink in the dryer?  

No. Nylon is not known to shrink in the dryer. In fact, it’s extremely hard to shrink. So, feel free to dry your nylon items, but keep the heat on medium or low. Exposing the fibers to high heat could stretch or melt them.  

Wrapping Up: What Material Shrinks in the Dryer?  

It’s time to summarize what we’ve covered so far and add some other “shrinkables” to the mix.  

Here’s a simple list of materials that shrink in the dryer:  

  1. Rayon  

  1. Cotton (sometimes) 

  1. Linen 

  1. Viscose 

  1. Silk 

  1. Cashmere 

  1. Wool 

  1. Lace 

  1. Spandex 

  1. Elastic 

  1. Leather and suede (including faux versions) 

  1. Canvas 

Don’t Shrink from the Responsibility of Proper Maintenance  

Although shrinking one of your favorite outfits in the dryer can be frustrating, it’s nothing compared to an appliance that breaks down unexpectedly. That’s why it’s important to keep your appliances on a regular maintenance schedule. The pros at Mr. Appliance can set you up with a maintenance plan that can help keep your appliances running smoothly all year long. Visit us here to schedule an appointment or call (888) 998-2011.