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How to Shrink Polyester Leggings

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Isn’t it challenging to shrink polyester leggings? Polyester is a synthetic polymer that is man-made with durable fibers that resists shrinking. 

You may notice that shrinking leggings in general require a specific temperature and method to get it right size. But what do you do when the fabric is not made with natural fibers?

How do you shrink polyester leggings? Turn the leggings inside out and put it in a washing machine and use hot water. Immediately afterwards place in a dryer and set it on medium-high setting, it is recommended to use a laundry bag or tied pillowcase to avoid direct heat on the leggings.

If you want to shrink polyester leggings then the only key elements are subject to heat in a washer and dryer. Polyester is used in footwear, bedding, textiles, clothing, and upholstery, and is known as a fast-drying fabric, light in weight, and easy to dye and wash. 

Polyester is a versatile fiber used frequently, which is why manufacturers produce leggings that are durable, dry fast in sweat, and easy to dye different colors. However, the fabrications eventually results in stretching that is incapable of shrinking. 

The best way to shrink polyester leggings is by running them through a hot water setting for a wash and high heat dryer temperature. Wash leggings and shrink them in appropriate manner so that they last as long as possible.

This article covers everything you need to know about shrinking polyester leggings the right way. Detailed below are answers to frequently asked questions about shrinking polyester leggings the right way. 

Is it possible to shrink polyester?

Though polyester is durable and generally resists shrinkage, it is still possible to shrink polyester. For minimal shrinkage, use a machine for washing and dryer. 

For maximum shrinkage, run in the hottest wash cycle, then place the leggings in a pillowcase and run the dryer for about 10 mins on high heat setting. Try the garment and repeat the process if necessary.

It is possible to shrink polyester with high heat washing and drying, but it does present the danger of garment damage. Run the wash cycle on high heat and then run it dry by placing the polyester leggings in a laundry bag on high heat. 

Finish the wash as per the wash tag after the heat treatment with a homemade laundry detergent. This will set the shrunk size that occurs both width and lengthwise.

How much will polyester shrink?

Polyester can be shrunk to 100 percent if it is subjected to a temperature of around 140 degree Fahrenheit. Polyester blended fabrics are easier to shrink, so check the clothing label for the other fiber blends used in the polyester leggings.

Polyester would not shrink in regular conditions, but it has to be triggered with a high heat of around 140 degree Fahrenheit to start the change. Polyester blends that are about 50 percent polyester with 50 percent cotton are much easier to shrink compared to 100% polyester leggings. 

How to shrink polyester leggings?

In order to shrink polyester leggings, there are two methods to follow: using a washer and dryer, and the other method is using an iron. One method does not necessarily work better than the other, but it ultimately depends on the fabric content you are working with. 

Both methods do require high heat to shrink polyester leggings. 

  • For more shrinkage and even distribution both width and lengthwise, use the boiling water or washer and dryer method.
  • For slight size changes, use the ironing method. 

Shrink polyester boiling water

A hot wash to your polyester legging encourages shrinking faster. By using boiling water and high heat, polyester fibers can be broken down resulting in shrinkage.

Things you need

  • Stockpot
  • Polyester Leggings
  • Tongs
  • Water
  • Colander

Follow the steps below:

  • Take a large stockpot and fill it with clean water.
  • Bring it to a boiling temperature.
  • Remove it from the heat.
  • Take a pair of tongs and put the polyester leggings into the boiling water.
  • Leave the leggings in boiling water for around 7 minutes.
  • Now pour this water into a colander so that the water is drained with polyester leggings left in the colander.
  • Allow the leggings to cool down until it attains room temperature.
  • Wring it to eliminate additional water.
  • Air dry or put the leggings in a pillowcase and run on high heat in a dryer.
  • Repeat, if more shrinkage is needed.

More shrinkage is possible in blended fibers rather than 100% polyester. The appropriate boiling point is based on fabric thickness and desired clothing size.

Washing and drying

  • Take your leggings and turn them inside out, this will protect the leggings from fading as much as possible.
  • Prevent multiple garments washing together. Turning inside out will also avoid the bleeding of colors.
  • Polyester leggings should be washed in very hot water. Set the wash cycle to a hot water setting and run the washing machine to the longest cycle. Ensure hot rinse with hot wash as hot water is necessary to shrink the polyester leggings.
  • Avoid adding detergent when using the wash cycle for shrinking if you do not want to wash it. If you want to wash and shrink, then use a high-temperature setting with mild detergent.
  • Avoid cold water for shrinking.
  • Pop the washed legging into a pillowcase and tie it closed.
  • Put it on the highest heat for a 10 minute drying cycle.
  • Try on the leggings, and repeat the process if you are looking for additional shrinkage.

Using an Iron

If the above method is not working or if you are looking to make minor size adjustments, you can use the ironing method.

  • Wash the garment on high heat wash and rinse cycle.
  • Take the wet leggings and place them on an ironing board.
  • Turning the garment inside-out to minimize fading.
  • Place a pressing cloth over the leggings to cover them to avoid any direct heat damage.
  • Iron on medium heat setting to avoid any stiffening. 
  • Iron till the leggings dry.
  • Don’t use steam for ironing.
  • Try the leggings to fit the shrinkage and repeat in specific areas if needed.
How to shrink polyester leggings

Shrinking Polyester Leggings: Final Thoughts

It seems that shrinking polyester leggings is more challenging compared to blended or spandex leggings. Due to the characteristics of polyester, it require special treatment to shrink waist opening, leg opening or even tighten overall so the leggings fit you like a glove. 

There are three method to shrink polyester leggings properly: washer and dryer method, boiling in water or using an iron to achieve the desired shrinkage. 

If you are using washer and dryer method, start by flipping the leggings inside out and place them in washer with hot water setting and high heat temperature without detergent. However, if you would like to wash them, use mild homemade detergent to protect the garment as best as possible. 

After washing cycle ends, place the legging into dryer bag or closed pillow case and dry in high heat in longest cycle to completely dry. Try them on and if more shrinkage is needed then repeat the process.

The boiling method is a great ways to shrink polyester legging quickly and efficiently. In a pot, start boiling a clean water, then place the legging into the boiling water, turn off the heat and let it sit for 7 minutes

Pour out the water and let the legging sit on coriander. Remove any excess water by wringing them and then place it in hot dryer cycle to dry. Test by wearing them to see if the shrink satisfies your size.

Lastly, you may also use ironing method. You do need to wash the leggings beforehand in order to apply this ironing technique. After it is washed in hot water cycle, flip the leggings inside out and place them on an ironing mat.

Use pressing cloth on top of legging and adjust the iron to medium heat to dry out the legging. Avoid using steam as the legging should already be wet. 

After completely drying out the leggings with the iron, try them on and repeat the process if needed.

High heat shrinks polyester, however it can result in faded colors and degraded fibers. So shrink polyester leggings with caution, and don’t repeat this process very much without understanding the consequences.

Whether you use washer or dryer, ironing, or boiling method, shrinking polyester leggings is still possible to achieve. Simply follow these steps and technique to fix loosen fitting polyester leggings without sewing.

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