Does Acrylic Fabric Shrink?


It might not be the most exciting topic, but anything shrinkable will eventually go out of shape. The use of acrylic in clothing and bedding is a well-known phenomenon that comes with its own set of problems. Allowing for a more comfortable experience in the long run, here’s how you can get rid of that pesky pet peeve of having to constantly stretch your acrylic garment back into shape.

Irrespective of brand, acrylic is known to shrink. The reason behind this is the individual polymer molecules that make up the fabric. As a result of being so densely packed and tight, the fabric tends to be stiff. On washing, this causes them to be pulled apart along their natural weakest points – the ends of any fibers running across the fabric’s surface.

But how much acrylic shrinks? And why do you need to know? For starters, people are not all built identically. Some people will find that their acrylic clothes shrink more than others. Sometimes, the clothing won’t shrink drastically at all. And if you’re wondering why your acrylic clothes are suddenly too small for you, it’s cause they shrunk on you during the washing cycle.

And for those who find their acrylic pants or a swimsuit too snug, to begin with, this is something that can be easily prevented. By throwing your garments into the dryer instead of the washing machine, you can get rid of that tight feeling in no time.

in this article, I will talk about the reasons behind acrylic shrinkage, how to determine if your acrylic clothes are shrinking, how much they will shrink, and why they need to be washed in cold water.

What is Acrylic Fabric?

Acrylic fabric is a synthetic fabric that is made of 100% acrylic. This type of fabric is resistant to shrinkage and fading. Acrylic fabrics are often used in clothing, quilts, upholstery, and other household items.

Acrylic fabrics are often stronger than their cotton counterparts and also more resistant to tears, fading, and staining. 

However, if the fabric is exposed to direct sunlight before it has fully dried or come into contact with alkaline substances such as chlorine bleach or vinegar it can shrink significantly. This happens because the acids in these substances react with the acrylic in the fabric and break down its molecular bonds resulting in a loss of strength and durability.

In order to make the acrylic fabric, individual polymer molecules need to be tightly packed together. These polymer molecules will cause the material to be stiffer than most fabrics so it can’t be as flexible or soft as cotton or wool for example. 

As a result on washing this causes the acrylic fibers to be pulled apart along their weakest points which is where they cross over one another – this creates tiny holes in the material which cause it to become less elastic and more likely to shrink after washing (this is why we wouldn’t wash them in a machine).

But how much does acrylic shrink? Different brands of acrylic clothing will shrink at different rates. Whilst some people find that their clothes don’t shrink at all. So it’s something you might want to do a trial with before buying. Because if you’re not happy with the fit then it’s always possible to cut off the excess material and get a new item of clothing made from just your choice of fabric.

Check Also: Does Cotton Shrink?

Does Acrylic Shrink?

Acrylic fabrics are known to shrink. After being washed and dried, the fabric will lose a significant amount of its size. This is due to the composition of the fiber and how it can be formed into a fabric. Acrylic fibers are rigid and straight so they don’t give when stretched like other fibers do, resulting in less stretchability. The other major difference with acrylic is that it doesn’t get softer after washing so it retains its tightness through wear and use but also through washing.

Acrylic is a type of synthetic fiber which is made from Polyacrylonitrile which can be chemically altered to create acrylic fabric. Acrylic fabric can be dyed in a variety of ways and you will sometimes find small amounts of other fibers incorporated into the acrylic material, for example, cotton or polyester. 

Different manufacturers will produce the same product with differing materials, therefore each product may react differently when being washed or put under high temperatures, for this reason, it is recommended not to iron your acrylic clothing.

Check Also: Does Denim Shrink?

Does Acrylic Shrink Easily?

Acrylic fabric is made up of tiny fibers that are pressed together and are then treated with a polymer in the form of plastic, giving them strength and rigidity. When they are subjected to heat, they move back into position again. However, when they are left to cool down, they will shrink back together somewhat. 

This is very pronounced in acrylic clothes that have been washed over a period of time by machine, as it shrinks more than new acrylic does immediately after being washed. This is due to the fact that it has been exposed to heat, thus breaking down the fibers that hold it together. 

Generally, this means that if you have had your acrylic clothes washed many times by machine with no tumble drying then they will feel tighter and smaller than if they have just been washed in cold water.

How Much Does Acrylic Shrink?

The amount of shrinkage will depend significantly on which manufacturer you buy your products from and what the best product specifications you can get are. Most acrylic products will shrink to around 20% of their original size after washing; this is because of the nature of the material and the fact that the chemical bonds have been broken down. However, it can be as much as 30% or even more depending on what is inside the product and how long you have had your item for.

Acrylic shirts will shrink significantly in comparison to other shirts, so it’s best if you use a protective garment when using them.

Does 100% Acrylic Shrink?

Acrylic shrinks over time and this is because the material is not very elastic, so it will shrink more than other materials that are made from different types of fibers. So you should consult a professional before washing your apparel from 100% acrylic, hand washing, or tumble drying in case it gets too much and shrinks too much. 

Because of this, you should use warm water when washing your clothes with over 30% acrylic and a cool-to-warm water wash for a lower percentage of acrylic. Specifically, 100% cotton shrinks less than 50%, while 100% rayon is the most elastic and will shrink around 20%.

Can You Wash Acrylic?

Acrylic is a synthetic material and as such, it can be washed. The acrylic will shrink when put in the washer, however, you need to make sure that you don’t overdo it. This material is highly prone to shrinking if put under too much heat, so it’s best to wash it without using any high temperatures. 

It’s also possible to dry your acrylic clothes on a drying rack instead of using a dryer as this removes the risk of heat being used on them.

How To Wash 100% Acrylic?

You have to be very careful when washing items made from 100% acrylic, as this material is highly prone to shrinking if exposed to certain conditions. 

For example, if you put your 100% acrylic clothes in the washing machine at a very high temperature or in the dryer, then it will shrink and become damaged. However, there are a few things you can do:

  1. To reduce the risk of your clothing shrinking, we recommend that you use warm water rather than hot water whenever possible. Wash your clothes gently and hand wash with care.
  2. Use a delicate detergent for your clothes and avoid putting 100% acrylic clothing in the washing machine at all costs. Dry your clothes gently on a clothes line or in a dryer at low temperatures.
  3. If you have any stains, we recommend that you use cold water to hand wash them with a stain remover that is made specially to remove stains from synthetic materials. This way, you will reduce the risk of shrinking your garment and damaging it.
  4. It is also recommended that you air your clothes once they are dry and turn them inside out before putting them in your closet.
  5. Avoid drying 100% acrylic clothing in high temperatures at all costs, as this can cause serious damage and shrinkage.
  6. Be careful when ironing your synthetic clothing, as this can cause shrinkage when you put them in the washing machine or dryer. You should also avoid using bleach on your synthetic garments as this can damage them and cause shrinkage.

Acrylic clothing is a synthetic material that is made of polyacrylonitrile. This means that it is made from plastic, but not just any type of plastic. It is a very stable and durable material which is why it can be used for many different purposes. Because of this, acrylic clothing tends to be very hardy and it can also last for a period of time before it starts to wear out or deteriorate.

Check Also: Does Wool Shrink?

Can You Wash Your Acrylic Clothes?

If you have washed your acrylic with cold water and used a gentle soap powder, then yes, acrylic can be washed. The best way to wash your acrylic is with cold water alone. If you use high temperatures or bleach, you may want to consider another material. But it is highly recommended that you don’t use a laundry machine on your acrylic clothing as this will damage it.

If you want to take your acrylic clothing for a spin in the washing machine and you are not sure whether you should use cold or hot water, then we recommend that you use cold, as this will lead to much better results.

How To Wash Acrylic Sweater?

The acrylic sweater is the same as any other acrylic clothing made from acrylic. If you want to wash your sweater by hand, then you will find that you can wash them in the washing machine. The correct temperature water to wash an acrylic sweaters at 30 degrees Celsius is that which is used for regular cold wash or hand wash. This ensures that no damage occurs to the garment and it is washed properly.

Wash your acrylic sweater in cold water only, trying to keep the washing machine from being too hot. If you find that the acrylic sweater is a little too big or if it is getting stretched out and looks a bit worn then you can use a garment bag to pull it tighter. When you are taking your sweaters into the washing machine make sure that you hold them by the neck and not by any other part, as this can cause stretching in the garment.

Acrylic sweaters should be washed in a washing machine, although if you are handwashing your sweaters then do remember to use cleaning products that are labeled as being safe for acrylic.

Does Acrylic Shrink More Than Cotton?

Yes, it does. Because of the way it is cut and sewn, acrylic will shrink more than cotton. As such, you need to be careful when buying your garments as they can look and fit very differently if you have had them for a long period of time and they have shrunk in comparison to new clothes that you buy.

Acrylic clothes shrink more than cotton, as the fibers are very tight and there is no elasticity. That is why you should use cold water when washing your acrylic garments. Cotton, on the other hand, shrinks a lot less, especially when compared to acrylic clothes and will look much better after machine washing.

Check Also: Does Spandex Shrink?

How To Prevent Acrylic Clothes To Keep Them Shrink?

Acrylic clothing will last longer if you treat them carefully and with respect. The following tips should help:

  1. Keep your acrylic clothes out of the washing machine if you can as this can cause serious damage. If they do need to go in the washing machine then try to remove them as soon as possible and air them before putting them away.
  2. Try not to put your clothes in dryers too much as this can also be damaging. If you must dry them then use a low temperature on the door and make sure they are fully dry before taking them out of the machine.
  3. Ironing your clothing isn’t advisable as it can cause damage to the fabric and make it shrink smaller after washing. As such, it is best to wash cold water and air dry your garments unless they need to be ironed for a special occasion.
  4. Try to avoid using bleach on your acrylic clothes as this will damage them. You should also use a different detergent and wash your clothes in cold water, then air them and turn them inside out before putting them in the closet.
  5. If you have garments that are still new then you can wash them using warm water and washing powder, although this is not necessary unless the garment has been contaminated with some sort of dirt.
  6. Wash your acrylic clothing in cold water and air dry them. This will prevent shrinkage the next time you put them on.
  7. Try to avoid tumble drying your acrylic clothing as this can also cause shrinkage when put in the dryer.

How To Wash Acrylic Yarn?

Acrylic yarn, braids, and crochet yarn are all made from acrylic. When you wash your clothes with acrylic, make sure that you wash them in cold water and not too much heat at all. The best way to wash acrylic clothes is for them to be washed in cold water only and then hung to dry.

Never machine wash your acrylic clothes; always use a machine that is capable of washing synthetic fibers such as a hand or top loader washer. Never put the garment through the dryer either; always air dry them first before putting them away. Never iron your clothes made from acrylic as this can cause discoloration to the material and can destroy the look of the garment by aging it.

What Are The Advantages Of Acrylic Fabric?

  1. The first advantage of acrylic fabrics is that they are highly durable and can last for many years without showing any signs of wear and tear or damage.
  2. Acrylic fabric is a synthetic material that is made from polyvinyl chloride, which means it is very easy to wash and will not shrink if exposed to heat, such as an iron or dryer.
  3. Acrylic fabrics tend to be very soft and comfortable on the skin, so you won’t experience any itching or irritation when wearing your clothes. Acrylic clothing can be used for many different occasions because they are very versatile, so you can wear them to school since they will keep you warm, as well as on a date since they fit nicely.
  4. There is a lot of variety when it comes to colors, so you will be able to find something that fits your personal style, whether you’re looking for something that’s casual or formal. This makes them very suitable for different occasions and different occasions too.
  5. Acrylic clothes are made from synthetic fibers, which means that they are very soft and comfortable when worn, especially on sensitive skin. This makes them suitable for wearing under layers because there won’t be any itching or irritation. Acrylic fabric tends to be better for people that suffer from allergies due to their hypoallergenic properties.
  6. They are very affordable, so you won’t have to spend a lot of money just to get comfortable clothes that will last for a long time.
  7. Acrylic clothing is also durable and hardy, which makes them suitable for people who want clothing that will last for a long time without showing any signs of wear and tear or damage.
  8. They are also resistant to natural elements such as sunlight, humidity and heat. This makes them ideal for people who spend a lot of time outdoors, as they can stay dry under intense weather conditions.
  9. Acrylic clothing tends to be very stylish and unique, so you will stand out from the crowd.

How Do You Unshrink An Acrylic Sweater?

Acrylic sweaters can be very hardy, but this does not mean that you can keep them for an extended period of time without showing any signs of damage. These clothes are meant to be worn with layers underneath otherwise they tend to feel too tight. 

When it comes to washing your acrylic clothing, you will find that they shrink after they are exposed to heat. This is because the material needs to be twisted so that it can be formed into a shape or style. 

It’s normal for acrylic clothing to shrink when they are washed, but with the right technique and care, you can unshrink your acrylic clothing.

  1. The first thing you need to do is to make sure you take all of the clothes out of the washing machine as soon as the cycle ends. You don’t want anything else to stick to your clothing, as this will make it harder for you to remove the acrylic clothing from the washing machine.
  2. Acrylic fabrics tend to shrink when they are exposed to heat, so you will need to wash your acrylic clothes at a lower temperature. You can choose between 30% and 40% cold water when doing a 60-degree wash cycle. Once finished, take them out and let them air dry away from any heat source.
  3. Acrylic clothes are made out of artificial fibers, which means that they will shrink again and again when exposed to heat. However, you can try washing them at a lower temperature with non-bio detergent and check the size of your clothes after some time. If it’s still too small, try doing a cycle at a lower temperature again and repeat the process until you get the desired size.

How To Care For Your Acrylic Clothes?

With a little bit of care and attention, acrylic clothes will look and feel great. This can be achieved by following these simple tips.

Ironing Your Acrylic Clothes 

It is important to iron your clothing because it can damage the fibers and make them shrink after washing. If you must iron your clothing, try to avoid using the steam function as this can cause even further damage.

Wash Your Acrylic Clothes In Cold Water

Acrylic garments can be washed in cold water to prevent shrinkage. This also helps to keep the color of your fabric as well as make it last longer. It is important to thoroughly dry your clothes before putting them on, however, as you don’t want any water stains on your clothing.

Use A Different Detergent 

You should use a gentle detergent when washing your acrylic clothes and it is advisable that you avoid bleaching the clothing at all costs.

Air Dry In A Closet

It is important that you air dry your garments as soon as possible after washing them. This will help to keep the newness of your clothes and also prevents shrinking of the fibers after washing.

Avoid Tumble Drying

If you must tumble dry your articles of clothing, it is important that you spin the clothes inside out to prevent shrinkage.

Maintain Your Acrylic Clothes

It is important that you maintain your acrylic clothing as they will last a long time if they are properly cared for. You should hand wash any clothes that have spilled or dirt on them and use a gentle cleaning agent such as non-bleach detergent so that they are easy to clean and maintain their color over time.

Take Ownership Of Your Acrylic Clothes

It is important that you take care of any clothing that you buy and make sure it is protected from the elements and washed regularly.

Of course, there are many other factors that can contribute to the look and feel of your acrylic clothing. However, these tips should be enough to give your clothes a great start in their life so that they will maintain their look and dyes over time.

FAQ about Acrylic Fabric Shrink

Why Is Acrylic Preferred For Winter Wear?

The answer to this question is a very simple one; acrylic is such a great material that has many benefits. These include being it is lightweight, it can be easily obtained, it comes in many different colors, and it lasts a long time.

  1. Light Weight: The primary reason that acrylic fabric is preferred for winter wear is because of how lightweight it is. This makes them more comfortable to wear in the cooler months of the year when bulky clothing might be more inconvenient. It also makes it easier to wear while exercising as they are much lighter. As such, they are one of the most comfortable materials to wear in the winter when temperatures drop.
  2. Easily Obtained: Acrylic fabrics can be bought from many different shops and is available in many different colors. This makes it very easy for anyone to get a hold of this fabric. They are great for everyday use and look great when combined with other materials such as leather and wool.
  3. Colors Acrylic comes in a wide range of colors: This also helps when selecting your clothing for the winter. You can mix and match your clothing to fit perfectly with your style and preferences. The great thing about acrylic is the fact that it comes in a wide variety of colors to match different styles and personalities.
  4. Lasts A Long Time Unlike many other materials: An acrylic fabric lasts for a long time, even when used frequently. This makes it a great choice for those who are looking for a fabric that will last a long time and is reusable.
  5. Easy To Clean Because: Acrylic fabrics are easy to care for, they also make great winterwear as they can be cleaned rather easily. While it is important to hand wash your clothes in cold water, this can be avoided and you can put these through the washing machine if you have no other choice.

In the end, there is no doubt that acrylic fabrics are a highly recommended material for winter wear. They have many benefits and can last for a very long time. While they will not be as heavy as some other materials, they are still very durable and can last for many years without any signs of damage.

Why Is Acrylic Used In Clothing?

Acrylic fabrics are used in clothing because they are soft and comfortable on the skin and tend to last for a long time without showing signs of wear and tear. They can also be dyed into a wide range of colors, which makes them very versatile.

They can be made from 100% acrylic or high-quality synthetic fibers that are created using bicast technology, which comes from combining two different substances to create an artificial fiber that is said to be better than natural fibers in many ways. 

Acrylic clothing can be made into a wide range of different styles and is suitable for both men and women. They have the ability to hold their shape very nicely and are available in many different designs, so you will be able to find something that suits your personal style without having to compromise.

Is Acrylic Better Than Polyester?

There is an ongoing debate as to whether acrylic clothing is better than polyester, but there are a lot of things that you need to take into consideration before making a final decision. Acrylic tends to be quite pricey when compared to polyester and it is heavier. However, it also tends to be more durable, as polyester is more prone to rips and tears. 

Acrylic will hold its shape nicely and feel very comfortable on the skin, especially if it is made from 100% acrylic or high-quality synthetic fibers. When it comes to terms of colors, both colors tend to fade easily, so you will have to invest in good quality of clothing so they can last longer. Otherwise, you may find that they start to look shabby after some time.

Final Thoughts

Acrylic shrink is a common problem that many people complain about. But when it comes to information, there are many people who say that acrylic products don’t shrink, and others who tell you that they shrink a lot. What we can tell is that it depends on how long the product has been used and how much it has been washed.


  1. Reddit – Is it possible to shrink acrylic?
  2. MoneySavingExperts – Has anyone else had pure acrylic shrink on them?
  3. FAQ-Blog – Can acrylic yarn shrink?
  4. Wikihow – How to Wash an Acrylic Sweater
  5. Quora – Will acrylic sweaters shrink?
  7. Crochetville  – Will acrylic shrink?
  8. Wikihow – How to Wash Acrylic Fibers


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