There are several good reasons why so many clothing manufacturers use a cotton and polyester blend…
You get the cool breathability of cotton, combined with the rugged, long-lasting durability of polyester. Such clothes are therefore more comfortable for the consumer to wear, and they get a longer lifespan from them.
But that doesn’t mean the combo is not without its drawbacks.
If you fail to take proper care of clothing, for example by washing and drying at too high a heat, a cotton and polyester blend can shrink.
That’s why I’ve put together this article…
Most people have (or want to have) cotton-polyester blend garments, but if you don’t know how to properly take care of them you could risk them shrinking a little with every wash, until they’re no longer suitable to wear.
But if you read this article, you’ll know exactly what you need to do.
The article is going to focus primarily on blends that are 60% cotton and 40% polyester, seeing as this is by far one of the most common blends around.
Let’s get straight to it!
Will A 60% Cotton, 40% Polyester Garment Shrink In The Wash?
Unfortunately, yes, any garment made up of 60% cotton and 40% polyester will shrink if exposed to high temperatures in the washer.
And this goes for garments of any description, whether they are hoodies, or t-shirts or whatever.
This all comes down to the cotton content, which we’ll explain further shortly.
But the good news is that you can prevent this shrinking, by using the proper techniques for caring for such garments.
In particular, this means avoiding high temperatures in both the cleaning and the drying of the garment. (More on this shortly.)
How Much Will A 60% Cotton, 40% Polyester Garment Shrink?
If not washed and dried correctly, you can expect 60% cotton 40% polyester blends to shrink by about 5% after every wash.
However, the good news is that proper care of these garments can really drive down the shrinkage to less than one per wash.
What Makes A 60% Cotton, 40% Polyester Garment Shrink?
If you wanted to ruin your garment through shrinking, that’s actually pretty easy to accomplish, because all you have to do is subject the garment to too high a temperature when you wash and dry it.
This is very easily done, seeing as all it takes is the wrong heat setting on your washing machine, followed by subjecting it to more high temperatures yet again when you put it in the tumble-dryer.
As little as 10 minutes on the highest heat setting is enough to generate some clearly visible shrinking.
The shrinking of these garments takes place thanks to the cotton content. These fibers are particularly prone to heat damage, and heat enhances the fiber’s tendency to shrink.
And if you wanted to really accelerate the shrinking, you could increase the shrinking with each wash simply by activating any “agitation” setting your washing machine may have.
How To Best Wash And Dry A 60% Cotton, 40% Polyester Garment
The main culprit for shrinking cotton polyester blend garments is not so much the washer as the dryer.
Since the real danger of shrinkage comes from exposure to high temperatures, and this is often much worse in a tumble dryer compared to a washing machine.
But how you wash the garment can make a significant difference too.
For example, rather than washing your clothes in the machine, you can choose to wash them by hand instead.
If you didn’t want to go down that route, however, be sure to at least use the cold water setting on your washer.
You should avoid putting them in the tumble dryer altogether, and either hang dry the garments, or alternatively, simply lay them to dry on a flat surface.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do 60% Cotton, 40% Polyester Garments Pill?
For those of you who don’t already know, piling is basically when fabric starts to wear, and you get those tell-tale bobbles on it that make it look very worn.
Thankfully, however, the answer to this is a resounding no. Because the polyester fibers are so strong, even if you were to put a 60% cotton 40% polyester garment on a hot wash, it won’t start to pill.
Do 60% Cotton, 40% Polyester Garments Wrinkle?
Unfortunately, these garments are prone to wrinkles.
However, because the polyester fibers are so strong you can go ahead and steam all the wrinkles out without risk of damaging the garment, just like with regular polyester.
Will A 58% Cotton, 42% Polyester Garment Shrink?
I’m saddened to report that, despite the lower ratio of cotton to polyester, a 58% cotton 42% polyester blend will also shrink in the wash.
However, it won’t shrink quite as much as a 100% cotton garment, thanks to the lower level of cotton, which is the material largely responsible for any shrinking.
Will A Garment Shrink If It’s 50% Cotton And 50% Polyester?
Unfortunately, even garments with a 50/50 split of cotton and polyester can also shrink in the wash thanks to the cotton fibers, which naturally shrink at sustained high temperatures.
So to summarize, garments that are 60% cotton 40% polyester can shrink in the washer and dryer by around 5% per wash.
You can avoid this by avoiding exposure to high temperatures, through either washing by hand or on a low setting, and by hang drying rather than tumble drying.