Do Acrylic & Polyester Shrink When Put in the Dryer?

Acrylic and polyester are designed to maintain their shape and fit even after many washings, but they do not perform well when exposed to heat. A hot washer or dryer can shrink or melt these fabrics, rendering them unwearable. For best results, read labels and line dry any item that may shrink.

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Read your dryer's owner manual for other instructions.

Care Labels

Always read the care labels before drying acrylic or polyester clothing. Some items are safe to put in the dryer, while other items are best line dried. The garment type, as well as its construction, determines its care. Garments with decorative trim are best line dried.

Temperature

Acrylic and polyester may shrink, melt or become deformed if dried at high temperatures. Dry any garment made from acrylic or polyester on the permanent press setting or on a medium heat setting. Remove the garment while it is slightly damp and hang it to dry.

Considerations

Although acrylic and polyester are touted as low-maintenance fabrics, they have some potential drawbacks. In addition to shrinking and melting at high temperatures, wrinkles in garments could become permanently set in a hot, crowded dryer. Ironing these fabrics is challenging because they melt easily if the iron is too hot. Synthetic fabrics also attract oil stains, which are difficult to remove.

Recommendations

When drying acrylic or polyester garments, dry them with similar items and avoid overcrowding the dryer. Shake the garments out before you put them in the dryer so they are not bunched up or twisted. Remove and hang garments promptly to avoid shrinkage and wrinkles.