How To Shrink Polyester Spandex

Though you may have heard differently, it is possible to learn how to shrink polyester spandex without a PhD in chemistry. Typically a polyester spandex blend will be composed of 90 to 97% polyester with the remainder made of elastic spandex. Both materials were designed to be shrink resistant, and yet with exposure to high temperatures you can shrink polyester spandex all the same. Unlike cotton, polyester spandex will not fade or bleed dye at high temperatures, making it a perfect candidate for heat shrinking methods. However, do not try to shrink polyester spandex with your iron as the spandex will become gummy and in fact stretch the fabric rather than shrink it. Here are the steps to safely shrink polyester spandex for a better, sexier fit.

What you’ll need to shrink polyester spandex:

  • Access to a washing machine
  • King-sized pillow case
  • Access to a dryer
  1. Wash polyester spandex in hot water. Polyester spandex requires temperatures over 180 degrees Fahrenheit in order to shrink. Place your polyester spandex clothing in your washing machine on the smallest water level setting and choose the hottest water option. If your machine cycle combines hot and cold water, skip over to the spin cycle immediately after the hot water portion ends. It’s vital to keep temperatures high when you are trying to shrink polyester spandex. Though washing machines are designed to relax the fibers of your clothing with cold water after hot, this step will undo any shrinking you are trying to impose on your polyester spandex.
  2. Dry polyester spandex at high temperatures. Immediately after draining the hot water out of your polyester spandex garment, place it inside a large pillow case and tie a knot at the end of the case (or secure the end with a rubber band). This will ensure that as you shrink your polyester spandex garment it will remain clustered together rather than be tossed and stretched as it spins in the dryer. To shrink polyester spandex effectively maximize exposure to dry heat by keeping the garment in the dryer ten minutes after it is fully dry.
  3. Try on your shrunk polyester spandex garment. As soon as you take the shrunk polyester garment out of your dryer put it on to determine whether more shrinking is required (but watch out for hot zippers or buttons). If you want to shrink your polyester spandex clothing even more, repeat the shrinking steps immediately before the fibers start to cool and relax.


  • You can easily shrink polyester spandex down one or two sizes but bear in mind that polyester spandex will shrink both width and length-wise simultaneously, making your garments shorter as well as better fitting.
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