How To Shrink Polyester Sheets

Need to learn how to shrink polyester sheets? Is your bedding sweeping down to the floor, gathering dust? You can shrink polyester sheets by exposing them to high temperatures in your washing machine or clothes dryer or by ironing them. Unlike cotton which shrinks well in water, polyester will actually shrink better in hot air. Depending on whether your sheets are made of pure polyester or a polyester-cotton blend, you may have to repeat the shrinking process several times for optimal results. Here’s everything you need to know about how to shrink polyester sheets to perfection.

What you’ll need to shrink polyester sheets and polyester-cotton blends:

  • Access to a laundry machine
  • Access to a clothes dryer
  • Rubber gloves
  • Ironing board
  • Iron

Follow these steps to shrink polyester sheets with heat:

  1. Place your polyester sheets in the dryer. Place your dry polyester sheets in the dryer for ten minutes on the highest setting. This will start the shrinking process and pre-heat the polyester fibers for the next shrinking stage.
  2. Place your polyester sheets in the washer. While your polyester sheets are heating up in the dryer, fill your washing machine on the hottest water setting. Do not try to increase the water temperature artificially by adding boiling water as this can damage your washing machine. As soon as the dryer completes the ten minute cycle, continue shrinking your polyester sheets in your washing machine. Press the sheet under the water wearing rubber gloves to protect your hands from the heat. Let the hot cycle finish, then drain the water.
  3. Return your polyester sheets to the dryer. Sustain the high temperature necessary for shrinking polyester sheets by acting quickly. As soon as the hot water is rinsed from the sheets, place them in the clothes dryer on the highest setting. Allow the polyester sheets to dry completely this time, then keep them drying for another ten minutes.
  4. Iron your polyester sheets. If your sheets are made of a polyester-cotton blend, they will likely have shrunk sufficiently by this time. For 100% polyester sheets, you’ll need to iron them to increase the heat pressure on the fibers. Set up an ironing board and heat the iron on the highest setting, before the clothes dryer is finished. Iron the polyester sheet meticulously, allowing the surface of the sheet to become scalding hot. Do not touch the sheet, but test how hot it is by hovering your hand a few inches about it.


Bear in mind that all fabrics reach a point of maximum shrinking, and so will your polyester sheets. If three repetitions of the steps above have left your polyester sheets still drooping off the bed, consider cutting the sheet down to size and hemming the edges.

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