Do Polyester Pants Shrink? Here’s What We Know!

As obvious as it appears, comfort and convenience are one of the major factors which affect the choice of clothing. And these two factors come into play in the choice of pants, hence polyester pants.

But you know the jinx, the flaw in every clothing material or fabric is what mostly determines the acceptability of the clothing. This article is about polyester pants and questions from customers and users of pants made from this fabric.

The query remains, Is my polyester pants going to shrink just like most of my other pants made from cotton or wool? Should I be cautious?

If you have the same type of questions lined, waiting to get a reply, and probably has not gotten one, then you are on the track to getting your questions answered as you read on in this article.

Do Polyester Pants Shrink

So, Do Polyester Pants Shrink?

Yes, polyester pants shrink.

This is the big question often asked about the status of clothing materials made from polyester, which have resulted in various school of thought.

These various schools of thought might account for your reaction to the answer provided for the question because you might have seen somewhere that polyester pants do not shrink.

However, you are not in for many surprises as I have taken caution only to get my facts straight. The polyester used in producing these pants is a man-made material from a synthetic fiber known as a polymer.

In its natural form, this material is resistant to a lot of things like water, shredding and equally shrinkage.

This means that polyester pants do not shrink normally but can do so under some circumstances which break down the fibers, causing them to shrink. The next subheading explains these processes in a well-detailed manner.

How Do Polyester Pants Shrink?

Let me start by saying that intense heat is the primary cause of shrinkage in clothing made with polyester, even polyester pants. People may ask; Why the use of polyester? How is polyester able to shrink if it is prone to shrinkage?

Your questions are all well-thought out so I will provide answers. First, polyester is used because it provides ease of wearing, it is lightweight and easy to dry.

Furthermore, the nature of polyester which is used in the production of these pants abhors it from shrinking. The polymer fiber is so strong that it can resist shrinkage in normal circumstances which other types of clothing materials cannot resist.

But there are exceptions to the circumstances which could eventually lead to its shrinkage. These exceptions are what then become the factors that lead to shrinkage in polyester.

The following are how polyester pants shrink:

  • Use of heated washing machine.
  • Hot water hand-wash.
  • High-temperature drying.
  • Hang-drying under the hot sunlight.
  • Use of heated pressing iron.

Use of Heated Washing Machine

Do Polyester Pants Shrink

I will place this factor as first among the reasons which can lead to shrinkage in polyester pants, due to its relevance in the cleaning of clothes.

Who doesn’t want to get their laundry done quickly and seamlessly? Indeed, nobody! That is why the use of washing machines has benched hand-washing in a far greater length.

But how you use your washing machine while trying to clean your polyester pants determines whether they shrink or not.

The washing machine has a temperature setting or guideline, and if you are using it moderately the risk of shrinkage is low.

On the other hand, using a washing machine that has been heated up can impact shrinkage in your polyester pants. Although this doesn’t happen right away, it takes time to manifest and it does manifest definitely.

Hot Water Hand-Wash

Do Polyester Pants Shrink

This point relates to most of us who are still hooked up on the old ways of doing things. Although hand-washing is not that relatively old, it is neither in vogue because most people switched to using the washing machine.

In the course of removing stains from polyester pants, which could be rather hard, most people resort to using hot water to hand-wash the pants.

They intend to remove stains but the repercussion of their action can lead to shrinkage in the pants.

Once the hot water exerts heat on the polyester pants, the fibers react by tearing away, sticking together to each other. As this process of fiber contraction continues to progress, the polyester pants get shrunk.

A lot of people are left wondering how just trying to clean off stains led to the shrinkage of their polyester pants, but the above description solves the puzzle for you if you are as askance as them.

High-Temperature Drying

Since the advent of dryers, both domestic and industrial ones, drying clothes has never gotten as easy as it is now. But this same invention can cause the shrinkage of your polyester pants if you mismanage it.

Don’t bother yourself by asking how you can do this, because I’ve got you covered. Dryers have a resemblance to a washing machine in their operation, the only difference is in their function.

Just like the washing machine, dryers have temperature settings that regulate how and fast you want your clothes to get dried.

Do Polyester Pants Shrink

For a slow and thorough drying, most people use the moderate setting while those who are always in rush turn it to the highest temperature and this is where things go wrong.

Yea, turning up the temperature of a dryer in the presence of all the tumbling can cause shrinkage in your polyester pants.

Hang-Drying Under Hot Sunlight

Do Polyester Pants Shrink

This process works just like magic, especially during the summer when the sun shines at its best. Hang-drying can be a better drying option than the use of dryers still, it can cause shrinkage in its minimal form.

If you are in the habit of hang-drying your clothes under hot sunlight, especially polyester pants, then you are probably shrinking your pants gradually without even knowing.

As the pants continue to stay long in the sun, it dries so much that the fibers start to contract, leading to shrinkage.

Use of Heated Pressing Iron

Do Polyester Pants Shrink

Polyester can get ruffled up as you wear clothes made with it, the same goes for your polyester pants. When this happens, you would want to straighten the lines and seams of the pants to achieve a more sleek look.

That is where a pressing iron comes into the picture, and thus shrinkage can occur if you use a heated-up iron on your pants instead of a mild temperature.

How Much Do Polyester Shrink?

How much a polyester material of clothing shrinks is dependent on the amount of polyester in the clothing.

Generally, polyester is built to resist shrinkage, but under adverse heat circumstances, it can shrink. If your polyester-made clothing consists of 100% polyester, then the rate of shrinkage will not be pronounced.

Polyester can shrink as much as 5%, but the percentage goes up if it is a polyester blend material or clothing.

While blends have their advantages, they also have disadvantages as they weaken the strength of the polyester fiber.

In this scenario, the fabric can shrink up to 8-10% due to the amount of blend inclusive in the polyester.

How to Make Sure Polyester Pants Do Not Shrink?

I mentioned earlier how polyester pants shrink, but this part of the article serves as a solution to the factors that lead to shrinkage in polyester pants. The tips on how to make sure your polyester pants do not shrink include:

  • Use of mild pressing iron.
  • Washing with lukewarm water.
  • Use a normal setting in the dryer.
  • Don’t leave pants in the dryers for too long.

Use of Mild Pressing Iron

Do Polyester Pants Shrink

In this tip, you are to desist from using a hot pressing iron on your polyester pants. I recommend the use of steam pressing iron with a mild temperature setting which would not only straighten the pants but also reduces the risk of a possible shrinkage setting in.

Washing With Lukewarm Water

Do Polyester Pants Shrink

You can also reduce or ensure that your polyester pants do not shrink by simply using lukewarm water to wash them, instead of hot water.

Even if you want to remove a stain, only stick to the appropriate detergents, which can help you take off the stains instead of washing with hot water.

Use A Normal Setting in the Dryer

Do Polyester Pants Shrink

Drying your clothes with a dryer can be very fun and fast. But if you don’t want to have an unpleasant experience while drying your favorite pair of polyester pants; it is in your best interest to set the dryer to a low temperature.

The process would not take long as expected since polyester dries faster.

Don’t Leave Pants in the Dryer for Long

As impossible as it may sound, some people leave their clothes in the dryer for a long time. Even if you are setting the temperature at a low rate, leaving your polyester pants in the dryers for too long can cause shrinkage over time.


I believe I have enlightened you on the various factors which lead to shrinkage in polyester pants.

Albeit, you now know that polyester pants can shrink under some circumstances, despite having a resistance to the process.

This article has also done its quota in showing you some tips which can help you make sure that your polyester pants do not shrink.


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