Does Poplin Shrink? (How To Wash and Iron Cotton Poplin)

Washing fabrics can be a guessing game at times. You know what you have been told about these materials and their vulnerabilities. yet, you see different instructions coming from the manufacturer. Sometimes you just have to guess and hope for the best that the material does not shrink.

Does poplin shrink? Poplin can shrink but it will depend on the fibers it is made from. If made from polyester then shrinkage may be minimal. But if it is made from silk or cotton there is a strong possibility the material will shrink. The fabric will shrink over time instead of in the wash.

To learn more about this popular fabric, just continue to read our article. It gives you the information you need to know about so you can use it effectively. Take a few minutes to see if the characteristics of this material are fit for your next sewing project.

Does Poplin Shrink When Washed?


While some people say you can wash poplin in hot water others say that temperature level will cause the material to shrink. How much shrinkage you get will depend on the fibers the fabric is made from.

This material seems to be a hardy fabric as some users also dry it on the warm end of the scale without any problems. But when the material is made from silk or cotton you should proceed with care.

Hot water does not seem to be a good temperature to wash polyester-made poplin. It is a material that can handle up to 60 degree C water temperatures or 150 degrees F approx.

The best thing to do is read the care instructions on the label that is attached to the fabric. That will be your best guide in how to prepare the material for washing and prevent any shrinkage.

Shrinking may not be the problem you need to worry about as this material can stretch beyond repair if you are not careful.

How Much Does Poplin Shrink?

If they do shrink, it will be a little bit at a time. The shirts that were once easy to tuck in may be more difficult to tuck after a wash or maybe more than one wash. Some people have experienced this minimal shrinking even when they used cold water in the wash and hung dry their shirts.

Other people have not had this experience yet so how much yours will shrink will depend on the quality of the material. The ones we just mentioned cost $140 each so if it can happen to those shirts it can happen to lesser quality material.

However, poplin is a material that shrinks over time and it may not be the wash that does it. It may be simply time has taken its toll on the fabric and it will get smaller the older it gets.

Because it is made with a tight weave do not count on a lot of shrinkage but prepare yourself for if that situation does happen. The amount of shrinkage depends on the quality of the fabric.

Can Poplin be Washed?


Yes, it can and that is one of the attractive features of this material. It may be made of cotton or silk but it is highly washable and you do not need to hand wash it or send it to the dry cleaners.

The best way to proceed when washing is to look at the care label to make sure. You never know when a clothing maker will slap a dry only instruction on clothing you know you can wash.

Check the fibers, as well as this fabric, can be made from silk, cotton, and polyester and you may want to err on the side of caution and reduce the heat of the water a little. Hang drying is always good but you can use your dryer without feeling guilty. Just keep the heat on medium when you do.

Poplin’s weave style may be the reason why this material can be washed without a lot of shrinkage. But different levels of quality may produce different results and what you get after a wash may be different from your friends’ results.

How to Wash Poplin Fabric

Washing this material is not going to be difficult. You can use water temperatures up to 60 degrees C or 150 degrees F approx. The conversion may not be as accurate as it could be.

You can use a fabric softener if you want. This is not a weak material so that chemical additive should not harm the clothing item. Do avoid really hot water as that may cause a little shrinkage.

Drying this fabric should be done on a low heat but these instructions will vary depending on the quality of the poplin fibers. If the clothing item is made of a poplin blend of fibers then make sure to not go higher than warm when you wash the garments.

You can hand wash if you want to but it is not usually necessary to use that method. That makes poplin clothing easy to maintain and helps you stay on schedule when you have lots to do. Hang drying is a good option as well.

Does Poplin Wrinkle Easily?


Yes, poplin does wrinkle to some extent and some people have complained that if they look at the material wrong, it shrivels up like an old prune. Others have had different experiences with this material.

They say that the fabric usually does not need a lot of ironing and this is a material you can put on right after washing and head out the door without ironing it. The quality of the fibers will make the difference and either add to your workload or remove some work from it.

When it wrinkles you can use the steam function on your iron, just keep the temperature to a low to medium level. Too hot may help the fibers loosen up and shrink as you work.

Poplin may be one of the better fabrics when it comes to wrinkles although it may be temperamental and surprise you on occasion. Just play it by ear and if the material does not wrinkle, be happy about it. The fabric is saving you some work.

Can Poplin be Ironed?

Yes, it can but you do need to watch the heat setting when you do. Some people have said that there are poplin clothing items that come out of the wash or dryer and you do not need to iron them. That should make someone’s day if they are in a hurry.

But if the fabric does wrinkle on you, you can use warm iron heat and a warm steam setting. Avoid going too hot as you may cause some damage to the fibers. Some people have said that you can stretch poplin while ironing and that stretch cannot be repaired.

What stops the wrinkles from appearing in poplin clothing is the weave style. The tight weave discourages this from taking place making the care for the fabric a lot easier on you.

Check the care label to find exact iron settings for polyester or cotton blends, and 100% polyester or cotton poplin. They may not be the same and silk poplin may be more delicate than all the fibers used to make this material.

Do You Have to Iron Poplin Shirts?


No, not always. It will depend a lot on the quality of poplin fibers used to make the garment whether you have to iron or not. There are poplin shirts and other clothing items that can be put on right after they have dried, no ironing is needed.

But if you do have to iron the clothing items made from this fabric, do so with care and check the care label to get the right setting. Not all poplin is made from cotton, some are made from silk and polyester fibers and when they are, you may have to change your setting to accommodate those fibers.

We have heard that even expensive poplin shirts can cause problems so you never know with this material. It can be labeled as finicky as different qualities of the fiber react in different ways from each other.

Take this material on a case-by-case basis as what will happen with one poplin shirt may not happen with another.

How to Iron Poplin Shirts

All you need to do is check the manufacturer's label to see which setting you need for the type of fibers used to create the shirt, etc. Since silk, cotton, and polyester are all used and even blended, you may have to adjust the iron settings to meet each poplin clothing item you own.

When you use your steam setting, make sure to keep it on warm and avoid any hot temperatures. The problem with poplin is that high heat may make it shrink or it may help it to stretch out of shape from which there is no return.

Be careful not to tug too hard when you are ironing as poplin will stretch on you. With the lack of shrinking ability, you probably will not be able to rectify that error. Always err on the side of caution and if you have to use a lower heat then do it. Damaging your own shirts, etc., is not a fun experience.

How to Soften Poplin Fabric


If the material is made with cotton fibers, you can use the same ingredients to soften poplin clothing items like you would for regular cotton materials. The fabric softener you buy in the store is okay to use and maybe the easiest option you have.

Strangely enough, no one is actually talking about this stage of the cleaning process. Even those specifically talking about polyester poplin do not mention how to soften the material when caring for it. All they say is to look at the manufacturer’s care label and then move on to the next topic.

What that tells us is that you have a lot of freedom in using different softening methods when the fabric gets a little hard or stiff on you. But err on the side of caution and use a little common sense as not all softening products, whether synthetic or natural, will be ideal to use.

You are going to have to stick with those products that are made for specific fibers. With blends, you may have to extra careful as while one softener works with one fiber, it may not treat the other one very well.

Can Poplin be Dyed?

When the fabric is made from silk or cotton then chances are that it can be dyed. Although it would be best to proceed with caution when you want to dye silk poplin shirts, etc. Sometimes it is best to leave those alone and find the same shirt in the color you want or close to that color.

With cotton poplin, you should have more leeway as cotton fibers take dyes very easily. You may have to watch the process you use as you run the risk of shrinking the material when using hot temperatures.

Polyester, on the other hand, may be your biggest problem or challenge. This material is not known to be friendly to dyes and it can melt on you if you use high heat in the dyeing process.

Also, since the color is added to polyester fibers during the construction process, it is very hard to change the color of polyester fibers. Then no matter the fiber, you can never lighten a dark-colored clothing item.

Some Final Words

Poplin is an interesting and easy to maintain fabric. It is lightweight yet doesn't shrink that much nor does it always wrinkle. The fabric is best for hot weather as it does not hold onto heat that well and you can stay cooler wearing this fabric even if it shrinks a little.

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