Does Spandex Shrink in the Washer Or Dryer?
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Does Spandex Shrink in the Washer Or Dryer?

In this article, we’ll talk about how to take care of your favorite spandex items and whether or not spandex shrinks.

There’s a good chance that you have at least one item of clothing in your wardrobe that contains spandex because it’s present in almost 80% of American clothing purchases.

Does spandex shrink? If spandex is exposed to high heat for an extended period of time, it may shrink. The shrinkage of spandex is frequently caused by hot water washing and tumble drying.

Whether you’re using spandex alone or in a fiber blend, this guide will show you how to prevent shrinking it as much as possible.

Does Spandex Shrink?

The biggest enemy of spandex is heated, just like many other fabrics. Regardless of whether the heat is from the dryer or the wash water, spandex will shrink if it is exposed to high temperatures.

The individual spandex fibers are put under a lot of pressure by machinery during production. The high twist of the threads is stretched during the spinning and weaving processes. Fabric tension is loosened by heat. The fibers pull back to their original length when the tension is released, which causes the fabric to shrink.

Being able to stretch to a great extent without losing its shape is one of the qualities that make spandex so useful. But the fabric can still shrink despite having this characteristic.

Does Spandex Shrink in the Washer Or Dryer?
  • Does polyester-spandex shrink? When heated up in the washing and drying processes, polyester spandex can shrink. However, tailoring would be a better option for altering the measurements of a polyester garment.
  • Does spandex-rayon shrink? Blends made of rayon and spandex don’t naturally shrink that much. On the other hand, tumble-drying these clothes can cause them to shrink by up to 50%.
  • Does cotton spandex shrink? When washed in scalding hot water, cotton spandex shrinks significantly. Wash these items in cold or lukewarm water to avoid unwanted shrinkage.
  • Does nylon spandex shrink? The blends of nylon and spandex can shrink if they are submerged in hot water for an extended period of time because both fabrics are man-made.

Does Spandex Shrink When Washed?

If you wash spandex in hot water, it will shrink. Spandex can melt and shrink when exposed to extreme heat for an extended period of time. Although spandex is more heat-resistant than many other synthetic fibers, it is not as durable as natural fiber.

Spandex can begin to shrink at temperatures of 65°C (150°F), but it can also melt at temperatures of 177°C (350°F). The majority of washing machines’ standard hot water cycle will bring the temperature necessary for spandex to shrink.

As a result, it’s unlikely that washing will cause your spandex clothing to melt. The hot water cycle, however, can cause your spandex to shrink. However, spandex is permitted in washing machines. All you have to do is run a cool or cold water cycle.

Spandex fabric won’t shrink in a spin washer’s motion. It is constructed to maintain its shape even under heavy movement. So long as the water temperature is significantly below the temperature at which spandex shrinks, your washer is safe to use with spandex.

Does Spandex Shrink in the Dryer?

Does Spandex Shrink in the Washer Or Dryer?

Clothing made of spandex does have a tendency to shrink in the dryer, especially if the heat setting is high. Generally speaking, it is not a good idea to put your spandex tights in the dryer, though much depends on the specific garment in question.

Spandex molecules are broken down and made to cling more tightly by the high heat and abrasion it experiences in the dryer, which causes shrinkage.

The notion of fabric shrinkage is widespread in the clothing industry. There are various kinds of fabrics and each reacts to washing in a different way. The manufacturer should have their fabrics tested before releasing them into the market. Below are the most common questions about shrinking clothes:

What Causes Spandex to Shrink?

The main causes are explained below:

Water Temperature

Spandex may shrink due to the high water temperature needed for a wash. It is best to hand wash your clothing if you wash it in warm water and avoid putting it in the dryer afterward.

Also, keep in mind that soaking spandex in soapy water can cause it to lose some of its elasticity, so even if you plan to hand wash it, avoid soaking it in warm water for too long.

Usage of Dryer

Additionally, spandex clothing may shrink due to the heat from your dryer. When the fabric is still damp and not completely dry, remove it. Then, to help prevent shrinking, lay them flat on towels and let them air dry.

For instance, your pant leg may curl and shrink a little if you hang it on a coat hanger. By laying them flat, you can stop the spandex fibers from tangling up, avoiding this problem.


Does Spandex Shrink in the Washer Or Dryer?

Your washing water’s detergent composition may also have an impact on your spandex clothing’s elasticity. Some detergents have high alkaline levels that can cause acid to leach out of clothing over time, reducing its elasticity. Before washing, make sure to read the care labels on your clothes and determine what materials they are made of.


Spandex can be washed either by hand or in a washing machine; it makes no difference. What matters is how you go about doing it. Your spandex fabric can be washed in the washing machine, but use cool water and a gentle cycle.

Additionally, if you plan to wash the spandex by hand, you can use warm or lukewarm water because there is less agitation in the hand-washing process than in a washing machine. But bear in mind that if you use warm water for washing, never put your spandex clothing in the dryer afterward.

Hang Dry Or Flat Dry

Your spandex clothing should be hung up in a space where it is not crowded with other items so that it can properly air out and maintain its soft, wrinkle-free, and pill-free appearance.

They may lose their stretch if they are hung over one another, making them more difficult to wear. If you want to reduce the risk of the spandex shrinking, flat drying is also the best option.

Do Spandex Blends Shrink?

Spandex has decent resistance to shrinking on its own. Spandex fabric must be heated in order to shrink. However, a garment’s only fiber is rarely spandex. Although it is expensive to produce, a small amount will give other fibers enough stretch to create a fabric that is incredibly comfortable.


Blends made of spandex and cotton are very popular. Although cotton does not naturally have stretch, it does have many other advantageous characteristics. Strong and inexpensive to produce, it is a fiber. It is adaptable and dye-taken well, making it useful for a variety of textiles and apparel.

While adding spandex will give a cotton fabric a comfortable stretch and give, it won’t affect the fabric’s durability. The spandex prevents the fabric from stretching out of shape while the cotton contributes to the fabric’s softness.

More cotton than spandex will shrink. Because cotton shrinks so easily, some cotton is treated with an anti-shrinking agent. The blend will shrink the garment more readily the more cotton there is in it.

Does Spandex Shrink in the Washer Or Dryer?


Manufacturers frequently blend spandex with polyester, a synthetic fabric. Since spandex is made of a stiffer material than polyester, it lends clothing made of polyester a softness and stretches that 100% polyester lacks.

Because polyester resists heat better than spandex, a garment made of polyester won’t shrink as much when washed as one made of only spandex. When you blend the two materials, the polyester can help lessen the shrinkage of the spandex, but it won’t completely stop it.

Related: How to Shrink Polyester and Spandex?

If you wash or dry a garment on high heat while a polyester blend contains more spandex, the likelihood of uneven shrinkage increases. The spandex fibers can warp the shape of the garment while the polyester fibers largely maintain their original shape.


Nylon is a heat- and shrink-resistant synthetic fabric, just like polyester. More washing and drying cycles can be applied to it than to pure spandex. However, the garment will be more susceptible to shrinkage in a blend with spandex.

Treating the garment as if it were made of the blend’s most delicate fabric is a good general rule for caring for clothing. Therefore, treating a spandex/nylon blend as though it were made entirely of spandex is the best way to prevent shrinkage.


Compared to spandex, rayon is a much more delicate synthetic material that is meant to resemble silk. It is vulnerable to moisture in addition to heat. In comparison to spandex, it is significantly more fragile to shrinking and damage.

Both the washer and dryer should not be used for rayon. In addition to damaging the fibers and causing them to shrink, movement, heat, and moisture can wear down the fabric and cause holes or tears.

How to Prevent Spandex from Shrinking?

Does Spandex Shrink in the Washer Or Dryer?

To avoid Spandex Shrinkage, adhere to the instructions below.

  1. There is a task that should always come first, regardless of the type of spandex you are using. Check for dirt or stains and trim off any extra material with scissors or a seam ripper before attempting to wash your spandex item. You should remove any loose threads before washing them because spandex’s elasticity can cause the fabric to pill over time.
  2. Utilizing the proper temperature in your water temperature setting will ensure that you are using the appropriate water type for your material and completing a successful load of laundry. By damaging the spandex fibers and increasing their susceptibility to shrinking, hot water use. By using cool water, you can also avoid wrinkles and unwanted shrinkage.
  3. If you let the fabric soak in cool water with a little bit of mild detergent, the amount of spandex that shrinks will be reduced. The spandex fibers are kept from becoming agitated by soaking.
  4. Washing your spandex clothing in the washer separately from other items of clothing is another way to avoid shrinkage. You should either wash spandex-containing items by hand in a sink of water with mild detergent and no bleach or use a separate cycle on your washing machine.
  5. To help preserve their spandex, some people add a half cup of vinegar to the water, but this can make lint or other debris stick to your clothes. Therefore, you must ensure that your spandex clothing is in a condition that you would not mind someone else wearing.
  6. Leaving spandex in the dryer after it is almost completely dry is a common error because there is a chance that it will become over-dried and stiff. To let spandex air out, hang it over a chair for about ten minutes. As a result, your clothing will keep its shape much better when you wear it and won’t wrinkle or pill as easily.

Not all fabrics, including spandex, shrink when they are washed. By using the incorrect washing methods, other fibers like cotton and wool can also shrink. Always read the washing instructions on the tag of the clothing you choose to make sure it won’t shrink when the time comes for a wash cycle.

Can You Shrink Spandex?

By washing spandex in hot water, you can shrink spandex. Washing and drying on a high heat setting is necessary for spandex to shrink.

When washed at a higher temperature setting, spandex blends with cotton may shrink more than spandex blends made entirely of spandex. Leggings made of spandex can also be shrunk by drying them for ten minutes at high heat in a machine.

This will seal the shrinkage of the spandex after washing. To prevent damage and give the fabric additional protection, place the leggings in a pillowcase and knot the opening before putting them in the dryer.

Wrapping Up: Does Spandex Shrink?

Even though spandex can withstand heat, it can still shrink when put in the washer or dryer. Since spandex-only clothing is uncommon, the presence of other fibers in the garment plays a significant role in determining whether or not the spandex shrinks.

You can ensure that your spandex wardrobe lasts well after the date of purchase by using the advice in this article. If you adhere to all of these recommendations, you should discover that your spandex clothing lasts a lot longer than that of your friends who are less knowledgeable about how to get the most out of their fabrics.


Does 98% Cotton and 2% Spandex Shrink?

What is the shrinkage rate of a fabric made up of 98 percent cotton and 2 percent spandex? A fabric with this fiber combination may be expected to shrink as much as 100% cotton typically does, which is between 5 and 20 percent.

How Much Does 95% Cotton 5% Spandex Shrink?

Due to its 95% cotton content, this fabric will shrink considerably in the washing machine and slightly more than the 98/2 ratio above in the dryer.

Does 100% Spandex Stretch?

This fabric can stretch to 5-8 times its normal size, and it is commonly used in form-fitting consumer apparel. Most of the time, small amounts of this fabric are woven into other synthetic, semi-synthetic, or organic fibers rather than being used in pure form in clothing.

What Happens If You Put Spandex in the Dryer?

Spandex does not react well to heat, and therefore putting full spandex clothing, such as a bathing suit or leggings, into the dryer will cause the fabric fibers to weaken and break. Denim, for example, may be suitable for drying if it contains a small amount of spandex fabric.

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