How To Shrink Polyester Fleece

Wondering how to shrink polyester fleece? Is your favorite pullover just a little too big? Shrinking polyester fleece is possible contrary to common opinion. Although polyester was designed in the 1960 as a fabric that resists shrinking by its makeup, exposure to high temperatures will shrink polyester all the same. But temperatures must be extremely high and repetitive exposure to both wet and dry shrinking is required for optimal results. Here’s everything you need to know about how to shrink polyester fleece for a better fit.

What you’ll need to shrink polyester fleece

  • Access to a washing machine with hot water
  • Access to a clothes dryer
  • Mild laundry detergent

Follow these steps to shrink polyester fleece for a better fit:

  1. Prepare the polyester fleece for wet shrinking. To shrink your polyester fleece you’ll have to use the highest water temperature possible in your washing machine. Make sure to leave nothing in the pockets of the garment as exposure to high heat may cause color to bleed from items, although your polyester fleece should be safe.
  2. Shrink polyester fleece in hot water. Wash your polyester fleece with a mild detergent on the hottest cycle available in your washing machine. If your machine combines two cycles, one of hot water one of cold, stop the machine at the end of the hot cycle and drain the water out.
  3. Shrink polyester fleece in hot air. Polyester fleece will shrink more effectively in hot air than in hot water. Immediately after stopping the washing machine, place your polyester fleece in the clothes dryer to continue the shrinking process while the fibers in the garment are hot. Choose the highest temperature possible.
  4. Shrink polyester fleece even more. Once dry, put your polyester fleece garment on and see if you wish to shrink it further. If so, put it in the laundry machine again, exposing it to hot water then hot air as before. Repeat this sequence until your polyester fleece shrinks to the desired size.


  • If your polyester fleece has a pattern dyed on it or a decal on the center, do not attempt to shrink the garment. The temperatures required to shrink polyester fleece will cause dye to bleed and decals to peel or stick and fold, ruining the garment forever.
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