Does Rayon Shrink in The Dryer? In the Wash? (Helpful Guide)

Most of us will say that yes rayon shrinks. But that size difference may come from too many trips to the buffet or too many second and third helpings. In those cases, all fabrics shrink and not with the help of the dryer or the washer.

Does Rayon Shrink? Yes, rayon can shrink and yes the washer can make its contribution to the shrink factor as well. But it is really not those appliances fault. While agitation can help the fabric to shrink the greatest cause for rayon to lose its size is because of heat.

To learn more about how rayon shrinks just continue to read our article. It has the information so you know what to do to avoid this problem. You can’t donate or give away all your rayon outfits every time this happens

Does 100% Rayon Shrink?


Yes, it will and it is not because it is made of 100% of the fabric. Rayon is a delicate material that doesn't come with protection against heat. The biggest cause of rayon items shrinking is because you used warm or hot water and a low to high dryer heat.

That is if the material has not been pre-treated by the manufacture to resist shrinking. When that occurs you may see little to no shrinkage when you use higher temperatures to clean your rayon outfits. Watch the heat and stop the shrinking from taking place.

Does Rayon Shrink When Washed?

Not when you use cold or cool water or the material has been treated by the fabric maker. Rayon stands a good chance of being the same size it was going into the washing machine when you pull it out after washing it.

If you have a fabric blend that contains 30% or more polyester then you stand a good chance that the material will not shrink in the wash. The key factors are water temperature and if the material is blended with a non-shrinking or shrink resistant fabric. Check the label to make sure and know how to proceed.

Does Rayon Shrink in Cold Water?

No, rayon doesn’t shrink in cold water. This is the safest water temperature you can use when washing rayon and just about every other fabric known to mankind. What will make rayon shrink in cold water will be how long it is in the water and the agitation.

If the agitation is rough and there is a lot of friction involved then expect to see some damage done to your nice rayon outfit. Cold water is not the source for shrinking. If it was, then you would only be able to dry clean the material and that would be costly after a while.

Can I Put Rayon in The Dryer?

You should avoid using the dryer to dry your rayon clothing. Even if you put the dryer on no heat there is still the agitation of the dryer drum movement that may harm the fabric. Plus the rubbing against the other clothing in the same load can cause some damage to the material.

The best way to dry rayon is not to use the dryer, is not to hang it up but to lay it out flat. This may be time and space consuming but it is the safest method to dry those clothing made from this fabric.

Does Rayon Shrink in The Dryer?


Yes, it will shrink in the dryer because the main shrink factor found in rayon is its inability to handle the heat. A warm or hot dryer is not good for rayon material so you should avoid the dryer at all costs.

Even hanging on hangers can cause the rayon material to dry out of shape. Rayon bedsheets can also shrink in the dryer if you are not careful. Although improvements have been made to the fabric since its invention, it is still a very weak material to launder and clean. Always look to the label for further instructions.

How Much Does Rayon Shrink?

There is no real way to put a specific percentage on the shrink rate of rayon. The amount that it shrinks depends on different factors. The best that can be said is that it won’t shrink a lot but that is not a lot of help.

Some people may get more shrinkage than others depending on how they laundered the material, what temperatures they used, and if the material was part of a blend or not. The best thing to do is do everything you can to avoid shrinking the fabric so it will remain with you for quite some time.

Does Rayon Shrink as Much as Cotton?

It is hard to say as both materials are made from natural fibers. They will naturally shrink but rayon is more delicate than cotton so you may see more shrinkage from that fabric than cotton.

It is a material that will make spandex, a shrink resistant fabric, shrink. That goes to show you how powerful the rayon shrink factor is. There is no guarantee of how much each fabric will shrink but the good news about cotton is that it only shrinks once. It is hard to say how much rayon will shrink or how many times it will do that deed.

Does Rayon Shrink When Dry Cleaned?

If it did, then the manufacturers would not have you dry clean most rayon outfits. Dry cleaning is one of the safer ways to launder your rayon clothing even though it can get a little expensive.

When in doubt about washing even washable rayon, send the items to the dry cleaners and let them worry about keeping the clothing the right size. Professionals are very good at avoiding the shrink factor and you should be able to get your clothing back in better condition than when you sent them to the cleaners.

Does Rayon Shrink More Than Once?


It is possible but then almost anything is possible. Rayon is so delicate that it would not be a surprise if it did shrink more than once. Of course, if the material was pre-shrunk or treated to resist shrinking then you may not see it shrink at all.

When it comes to shrinking rayon has so many factors that get it to shrink it may shrink more than once when you are not careful. Using high heat will shrink the fabric more than once. Everyone’s experience will be different in this case as well as shrinkage also depends on the fabric rayon is blended with.

Why Does Rayon Shrink?

This material is a natural fiber made with chemicals to bring texture and the ability to mimic different more expensive fabrics. When the natural fibers get damaged, abused, or mistreated, then you can expect the fibers to shrivel up in response. When that happens the rayon fabric will shrink.

Unless the material has been treated by the maker to resist shrinking. In that case, you should not see any shrinking as the natural fibers are protected by yet another chemical. Shrinkage is all in the natural fibers although that shrinking rate may not be a lot. Protect them and you stop shrinking from taking place.

Does Polyester And Rayon Shrink?

The polyester fibers are added to the rayon to create a nice blended fabric. Depending on the amount of polyester, you may not see any shrinkage at all. Polyester was invented to stop clothing from shrinking on you.

That is why many natural fibers are blended with synthetic ones like polyester. The presence of the synthetic fiber prevents shrinkage and has your cotton, rayon, linen, etc., clothing remain the same size and shape after laundering.

If the content of the polyester is below 30% then you may see more shrinking taking place because there is not enough of that fiber in the fabric blend.

Does Linen And Rayon Shrink?

Both fabrics have a problem with shrinking. Putting them together will not stop or remove that problem from taking place. A 55% linen and 45% rayon dress will definitely shrink on you even when washed in cold water.

That was through machine washing which is understandable as agitation can shrink rayon and linen is not going to stop that action from taking place. Unless the clothing is treated to resist shrinking expect to lose some size when you machine wash that blend. Rayon is too delicate even for linen and it would be best to hand wash or send that dress out to the dry cleaners before you ruin it.

Can You Reverse Rayon Shrinkage?


Yes, it is possible to reverse rayon shrinkage and one method is to soak the fabric in warm water and about 1 tsp of baby shampoo. You will only need to submerge it for a few minutes and then lay the material out flat to dry.

While it dries you can stretch the material by pulling on those parts that shrunk. Instead of using baby shampoo you can replace it with hair conditioner and do the same method.

Don’t forget to rinse the garment under warm water to get all the soap out of the fibers. Be careful when wringing out the excess water as you may damage the fabric doing that.

What To do When Rayon Shrinks

You can donate the clothing or bedding items to charity thrift stores or other thrift shops. Or you can pass it on down to your children and see if it fits them or their beds. Or you can use the previous two methods already mentioned and a couple more that are about to be mentioned.

A clothes steamer can help you stretch your rayon clothing out. After using the above two methods, let the fabric almost dry then use steam to stretch the material further. A steam iron can do this step as well and you will be using your free hand in both options to do the stretching as you steam.

How do You Keep Rayon From Shrinking

By giving it the proper care when it gets dirty. Use cold water in the wash, a very gentle or delicate cycle, and place as few clothes in the washing machine at the same time as possible.

Then you want to avoid the dryer and hang drying as even hangers can influence the fabric. Lay the material out flat and let it air dry out of the sun. The two things you are avoiding that causes shrinkage in rayon is heat and agitation.

If you can avoid those two influences then your rayon items should remain the same size. Of course, you can save yourself the work and have the rayon items sent out to the cleaners and give them the worry.

How To Shrink Rayon

When you do this on purpose be aware that you cannot control the amount of shrinkage you get. This is going to be trial and error. The first way is to pre-wash the material with a mild soap.

Another way is to soak the garment after hand washing. But it is not the handwashing that doe sit but the soaking of the material. Of course, you can use warm to hot water in the wash and them medium to high heat in the dryer to shrink rayon fabrics.

Rayon is delicate so you may have many more ways to shrink the material than those just mentioned.

Some Final Words

Rayon will shrink on you if you look at it wrong. That is what it seems when you see how much the fabric has shrunk even after using careful laundry techniques. Avoid using heat if you do not want to lose your favorite and attractive rayon outfits.

Also, avoid agitating the material as much as you can. Treat the fabric like it was made of glass for successful cleaning.

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