Does Viscose Shrink When Washed or in the Dryer

It is important to understand how to care for viscose garments. Viscose is a fabric that is made from wood pulp, and because of this, it can be easily damaged when washing or drying.

If you do not wash your viscose clothing carefully, you may end up ruining the fabric. Does viscose shrink in the washer or dryer.


Viscose fabric tends to shrink when washed and especially when exposed to heat. This makes washing viscose at home a little tricky but not impossible if you know how to deal with this kind of fabric.

In this article, we will answer questions like: Does Viscose Shrink in the dryer or washer? Can you shrink viscose? how you can shrink viscose?

What is Viscose Fabric?

Viscose is a semi-synthetic fiber produced from naturally occurring polymers found in wood and other vegetable matter.

Viscose is created by first dissolving cellulose in a caustic soda solution. The resulting viscous solution is then forced through a spinneret into an acid bath, which precipitates the cellulose thread. As the threads are extruded, they are wound on bobbins or spools. The threads are then washed, dried, and bleached. The resulting yarn can be woven into fabrics for clothing and other uses, or knitted into garments.

Does 100% Viscose Shrink?

Viscose is a semi-synthetic material made from cellulose, commonly referred to as rayon. Because it’s produced using natural materials in a chemical process, it can shrink if not washed properly.

Viscose shrinks when exposed to heat. When this happens, the fibers of the material contract and make the fabric smaller. This means that the garment will no longer fit the person wearing it, or might not fit another person who tries to wear it later.

In addition to heat, improper washing and drying can cause viscose to shrink. This can happen with any fabric but should be avoided when washing viscose specifically because of its propensity to shrink when encountering heat.

Why Does Viscose Shrink? 

Many people are surprised to learn that viscose shrinks because most of us think of it as synthetic fabric. It is indeed a synthetic fiber, but it’s made from cellulose, which is found in wood pulp.

Viscose shrinks for the same reason that linen, silk, and cotton shrink: It’s made from plant-based cellulose.

When you wash natural fibers, it causes the hydrogen bonds between their cellulose molecules to weaken. This loosens the fibers and allows them to easily shift out of shape, resulting in shrinkage.

Another reason why viscose fabric shrinks is that it is often made from a blend of different types of material. For example, many viscose clothing items also include cotton or elastane. If the garment you are washing contains any materials susceptible to shrinking, such as cotton, then your entire garment may shrink in size if you do not wash on a cool cycle or lay it flat to dry.

Does Viscose Shrink When Washed?

Like natural fibers such as cotton and linen, viscose can shrink if it is not washed properly. The amount that it shrinks depends on how it was made, how much of the fabric is composed of viscose and whether you wash it in hot or cold water.

Viscose is more likely to shrink more than other types of fabric because it is made from natural fibers. Washing in hot water is a major component of shrinking viscose garments. This can cause the fabric to fade and lose its shape. Heat is also known to weaken fibers and make them more susceptible to shrinkage.

Does Viscose Shrink in the Dryer?

Viscose is a fabric that can shrink in the dryer, especially if you do not follow the garment care instructions. Viscose is a man-made material made from natural materials such as wood and cotton.

Viscose does shrink in the dryer because it is a delicate fabric that consists of natural fibers. The heat from the dryer will shorten the fibers and cause them to shrink.

The amount of shrinkage depends on the temperature of the washer and dryer as well as the amount of time the fabric is left in the dryer.

So you should choose a low heat setting when washing and drying viscose fabrics.

Does Viscose Shrink in Cold Water or Hot Water

Viscose does not shrink when washed in cold water, but it will shrink when washed with hot water.

Viscose fabric is often prone to shrinking when exposed to high heat temperatures, such as washing with hot water or drying at high heat temperature.

To overcome this problem, it is better to wash viscose fabric at low temperatures, either by hand or in the washing machine.

You can also wash your viscose clothes in a delicate cycle in the washing machine.

Does Viscose Shrink Every Time You Wash It

Yes, Viscose will experience a shrinkage percentage every time you wash it. The percentage depends on the amount of heat used in the washing process and how aggressively the washing machine moves and cleans the garment. 

When you use hot water, a detergent that contains harsh chemicals, and washing on heavy machine cycles, your viscose garment can experience significant shrinkage. In some cases, the garment will shrink enough to become unwearable.

If you want to prevent your viscose garments from shrinking, wash them in cold water with gentle detergent and on light cycles only. 

You can also avoid heat drying by hanging your viscose clothing up to dry, which prevents shrinkage from heat dryers that are often harsher than air drying.

How Much Will Viscose Shrink (Viscose Shrinkage Percentage)

How much a given fabric shrinks depends on how it was made. Viscose can consist of 100 percent viscose or be blended with other materials like cotton, polyester, spandex, or linen. The type of fiber used in the blend will affect whether a garment shrinks and whether the fabric was preshrunk by the manufacturer or not.

100% viscose can shrink by up to 25%. A blend can experience 3–5% shrinkage.

A 100 percent viscose garment may shrink more than a poly-viscose blend garment that contains polyester as well as viscose rayon. In general, a blend will shrink less because polyester does not respond to heat or moisture in the same way as natural fibers such as cotton or viscose rayon.

Many viscose blends contain polyester or spandex which don’t shrink easily when washed in hot water.

Can You Shrink Viscose Fabric

Yes, it is possible to shrink a viscose fabric. If your viscose garment is too loose or just lost weight you can easily shrink it by soaking in hot water, washing in hot water, and drying at high heat temperature.

Soaking in hot water and drying at high temperatures will also work for viscose. You will not have many problems shrinking a viscose fabric.

How to Shrink Viscose Dress, Pants, Shirts

It is easy to shrink viscose clothing but hard to determine how much it will shrink especially if it is a blend of polyester and spandex.

Here’s what you can do to shrink viscose fabrics:

Use boiling water

  1. Fill the bathtub or basin with boiling water and add some soap or detergent to the mix. 
  2. Put the dress or pants into the bathtub/basin and soak it for 20 – 30 minutes. 
  3. Take out the dress and squeeze out some excess water, then hang out and allow it to air dry for about an hour (or until completely dry). Your viscose dress should now be a little smaller than before.

Using a washing machine and a dryer

Wash at the Highest Temperature

The first step to shrinking your viscose dress is putting it in the washer. Fill the washer with warm water and put your viscose dress inside the machine. Set the machine to the hottest cycle and let it run through a long wash. This will help shrink down your viscose dress as much as possible.

Dry on High Heat

After you have finished washing your viscose dress, place it in the dryer. Dry at the hottest temperature setting possible on your machine. The heat will cause the fabric to shrink even more than when it goes through a hot wash cycle alone.

I have found an interesting video on YouTube that explains how to shrink fabric:

How to Unshrink Viscose

If you mistakenly washed a viscose garment on the wrong cycle, or it was intentionally shrunk, the good news is that you can easily unshrink viscose garments. 

Follow these steps if you want to restore your clothes to their original size.

Using hair conditioner or baby shampoo

  1. Fill a bucket with lukewarm water. Do not use hot water to wash the viscose clothing as this will cause the fabric to shrink further.
  2. Add 1-2 tsp. of hair conditioner to the water and mix well. The conditioner will relax the fibers in the fabric and make it easier to stretch out wrinkles and creases.
  3. Dunk your viscose clothing into the bucket and let it soak for about 10 – 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the garment from the bucket, wring out excess water, and lay it on a dry towel, spreading it out flat.
  5. Pull gently on various parts of the garment to stretch it back out to its original size. Once you have stretched it as far as possible, leave it to air dry.

How Do You Keep Viscose from Shrinking?

Viscose fabrics are very delicate and shrink easily when washed. Following the right washing process can keep your viscose clothes from shrinking or getting damaged.

Select the delicate cycle on the washing machine.

Use cold water and the spin is on low – This will prevent the viscose from shrinking or getting damaged by rough spinning in the washer.

Use a mild detergent without harsh chemicals – Harsh chemicals can fade and damage your viscose clothes. This will ensure your clothes do not get damaged and shrink when washed with detergent with harsh chemicals.

Always hang-dry – If possible, always opt for hanging your clothes up to dry instead of throwing them in the dryer. If you have to use a dryer, then be sure to use low heat and make sure the spin is on low. 

Does Viscose Shrink More Than Cotton

Cotton may experience a big percentage of shrinkage more than viscose because cotton is made from natural fibers, which tend to shrink more than artificial fibers such as viscose. Overall, viscose clothes don’t shrink as much as cotton clothes. However, this depends on the type of viscose used in the fabric. 

Does Viscose Shrink in Warm Water

Viscose doesn’t shrink when washed in warm water. It will only shrink when exposed to hot water temperatures. The more you expose the cloth to heat while washing, the greater the chance it has of shrinking.

Does viscose shrink when dry cleaned?

Viscose is a fabric that can not shrink when hand washed or dry cleaned. However, it can shrink if you make the mistake of washing it in hot water or putting it in a hot dryer.

Does Viscose and Polyester Shrink

Even though viscose and polyester are both resistant to shrinking, due to the fact that they’re both synthetic materials, it’s possible for a blend of these two fabrics to experience a small amount of shrink. This will depend on the percentage of each material in the blend and how you care for the garment.

The more polyester the clothing contains, the less likely it is to shrink. The shrinkage also depends on how much was used and what kind of weave it is. Polyester has a tendency to be more resistant to shrinking than cotton or linen because of its chemical structure.

Final Words

Viscose is a gorgeous fabric that comes in a variety of vibrant colors, but it needs extra care to keep it looking its best. By washing your viscose garments by hand and/or dry cleaning them, you will preserve their original size and color. Always wash your viscose garments on the gentle or delicate cycle and take care to avoid over-drying or ironing your garments.


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