Does Acrylic Fabric Shrink?

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Acrylic fabric can shrink up to 10% when washed and dried. It’s important to keep in mind that acrylic fabric shrinks more easily than other synthetics like polyester and nylon. Acrylic fibers have a high affinity for water, which can cause them to shrink when exposed to heat and moisture. Shrinkage from acrylic fabric can be kept to a bare minimum by keeping it away from extremes of temperature and humidity. It is important to carefully follow the care instructions on the garment label to minimize shrinkage. Acrylic fabric can be washed and dried on a low heat setting to prevent shrinkage, if the care label mentioned the machine wash or dryer. However, it is most recommended that you hand wash this fabric in cold water with a mild detergent and not wring or twisting the fabric to remove extra water.

That’s why 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 to know how much acrylic fabric shrinks? 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 textile material made from a polymer called polyacrylonitrile. It is a type of synthetic fabric that is not only lightweight but also warm, and soft and has the feel of wool. Acrylic fabric is widely used for apparel, blankets, and other home textiles because of its durability, low maintenance, and hypoallergenic nature.

Acrylic fabric is easy to care for and can be machine-washed and dried. It is also durable and resistant to pilling, which is the lineup of small balls of fiber on the surface of the fabric. Acrylic fabric is often used as a substitute for wool in products such as blankets and sweaters and is also used in the production of carpets and upholstery.

Acrylic fabrics are often stronger than their cotton counterparts and also more resistant to tears, fading, and staining. Acrylic fabric is pretty strong and you can machine wash it usually. However, if the fabric is exposed to harsh chemicals then these substances react with the acrylic in the fabric and break down its molecular bonds resulting in a loss of strength and durability.

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?

Typically, Acrylic fabric does not shrink as it is a pretty strong fabric and resistant to wear and tear. You can easily machine wash it. However, it can also shrink up to 10% if not cared for properly. There are several potential causes of shrinkage in acrylic fabric:

  • Heat: Acrylic material is susceptible to shrinking when subjected to high temperatures. This includes washing the item in hot water and drying it in a dryer set to a high temperature. You can wash acrylic fabric in cold water and dry using a low heat setting in the dryer to avoid shrinking.
  • Agitation: Shrinkage of acrylic fabric may occur if the fabric is agitated excessively during the washing process. It is recommended that you wash acrylic fabrics on a gentle cycle and not wring or sequeezing them after washing.
  • Chemical Exposure: Acrylic fabric can shrink when washed with harsh detergents or bleach. It is recommended that a mild detergent be used and that bleach be avoided when washing the acrylic fabric to prevent shrinkage.
  • Stretching: Acrylic fabric can stretch when wet, and if it is stretched too much, it may shrink when it dries. To prevent shrinkage, it is important to handle the acrylic fabric gently when it is wet and avoids stretching it excessively.
  • Improper Storage: Another factor could be improper storage, Acrylic fabric can also shrink if it is stored improperly, such as if it is stored in a humid or hot environment.

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 to read the care label for your cloth before washing them.

Check Also: Does Denim Shrink?

Does Acrylic Shrink Easily?

Acrylic fabric, like other materials from the acrylic family, is not very susceptible to shrinking. Its coefficient of thermal expansion is small, therefore it doesn’t contract or expand a lot as the temperature around it changes. However, if the acrylic fabric is washed or dried improperly, it can still shrink up to 10%.

Acrylic fabric is a man-made textile constructed from polyacrylonitrile, a form of plastic. It’s well-liked for how it feels on the skin and the fact that it keeps its form and color over time. As mentioned before, Acrylic has a relatively low coefficient of thermal expansion, which means that it does not shrink or expand significantly when exposed to changes in temperature. However, it is not completely immune to shrinkage. If an acrylic product is exposed to extreme heat or pressure, it may shrink slightly. This is more likely to occur with thin or unsupported sections of acrylic.

You can easily avoid it by carefully following the product’s guidelines can also prevent the acrylic fabric from shrinking. This could involve doing things like washing the fabric in cold water and drying it in a tumble dryer on a low heat setting or even just laying it flat to dry. Acrylic fibers can be damaged by exposure to high temperatures, so take care when washing and drying. When the cloth is damp, it is best not to wring it or twist it, as this can cause it to lose its original shape.

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. In some rare cases, acrylic products will shrink to around 10% 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, typically acrylic does not shrink. The main reasons an acrylic fabric can shrink are that if it is exposed to extreme heat or pressure, it may shrink slightly. This is more likely to occur with thin or unsupported sections of acrylic fabric, otherwise, it is pretty resistant to shrinkage.

Overall, acrylic is considered to be a stable fabric that does not shrink easily.

Does 100% Acrylic Shrink?

There is some shrinking possible with 100% acrylic fabrics, although the exact amount will vary depending on the type of acrylic fabric and how it was processed during production. For example, acrylic fabrics that have been treated with a chemical finish to make them resistant to shrinkage may be less prone to shrinkage than those that have not been treated. However, the 100% acrylic fabric is less prone, if not at all to shrinkage as compared to a 50% acrylic fabric with the blend of a natural fabric like cotton, etc.

Acrylic fabrics are commonly used in apparel and home décor due to their durability and resistance to shrinking, fading, and wrinkling. So you can easily wash your apparel from 100% acrylic by using either machine wash or hand washing. In addition, you can tumble dry it without any worry. In case if you are worried too much about shrinks in the dryer then you can also air dry it also.

Can You Wash Acrylic?

Acrylic is a synthetic material and as such is pretty strong to wear and tear, you can wash it in either washer or by hand easily. The only thing you need to take care of is that don’t put it under too much heat, so it’s best to wash it without using any high temperatures. 

If it is possible dry your acrylic clothes on a drying rack instead of using a dryer as this removes the risk of heat being used on them. However, you can also tumble dry it without worries.

How To Wash 100% Acrylic?

You can wash 100% Acrylic fabric by using the following steps:

  1. First thing first, read the care label of the garment and see what is recommended, if it can be machine washed, dry cleaned or hand washed.
  2. Typically, you can wash the acrylic fabrics in the washing machine. To reduce the risk of your clothing shrinking, we recommend that you use warm water rather than hot water whenever possible. Also, wash your clothes on a gentle cycle.
  3. Use a delicate detergent with 100% acrylic clothing in the washing machine and use a gentle cycle and lukewarm water. Dry your clothes gently on a clothesline or in a dryer at low temperatures.
  4. 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.
  5. It is also recommended that you air your clothes once they are dry and turn them inside out before putting them in your closet.
  6. Avoid exposing 100% acrylic clothing to high temperatures at all costs, as this can cause serious damage and shrinkage.
  7. 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 reliable 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?

Yes, acrylic clothes can be washed. However, it’s important to follow the care instructions on the label to ensure that the clothes are washed correctly and to prevent damage. Acrylic fabric is generally easy to care for, but it’s prone to shrinkage and can become misshapen if not washed and dried properly.

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. Avoid using high temperatures or bleach, when washing acrylic clothes as it can damage them. However, you can typically use a laundry machine on your acrylic clothing unless it is mentioned otherwise on your clothes’ care label.

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 sweater at 30 degrees Celsius (86°F) is that which is used for regular wash or hand washing. This ensures that no damage occurs to the garment and it is washed properly.

You can wash your acrylic sweater by following these steps:

  • Check the care label, for washing instructions on the care label to ensure you’re using the correct method.
  • If the care label allows it, you can use cold or warm water to wash your acrylic sweater. Cold water is generally best to prevent shrinkage, but if the label allows it, you can use water that is no warmer than 86°F (30°C).
  • Choose a mild detergent that is designed for delicate fabrics. Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach, as these can damage the fabric.
  • Use a gentle washing cycle to avoid damaging the fabric.
  • After washing, gently squeeze out excess water instead of wringing the fabric. Wringing can cause the fabric to stretch or become misshapen.
  • The acrylic fabric should be air-dried rather than placed in the dryer. Lay the fabric flat or hang it up to dry. Avoid exposing the fabric to direct heat or sunlight, as this can cause fading.

However, 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 out of 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 could 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?

No, it does not. Because cotton is a natural fabric while acrylic is a synthetic fabric, cotton will shrink more than acrylic. Arcylic is known for its softness, warmth, and versatility, but it is not known for its shrinking properties when washed. In fact, acrylic fibers are resistant to shrinking, which makes them a popular choice for clothing and other items that need to maintain their shape and size.

On the other hand, cotton can shrink when it is washed and dried, especially if it is not pre-shrunk before being made into clothing or other textiles. The amount of shrinkage that occurs can vary depending on the type of cotton, the fabric construction, and the care instructions.

In short, cotton clothes are more prone to shrinkage compared to Acrylic clothes, as the cotton fibers are woven very tight and there is no elasticity.

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 at a low temperature is 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 mild 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 is a synthetic fiber made from polyacrylonitrile. Because of its low price, low weight, and ease of handling, it is frequently used for knitting and crocheting projects. Moreover, it can be maintained with ease because it can be machine washed and dried in the dryer on a low heat setting.

Here are some steps for washing acrylic yarn:

  • Fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Do not use extremely hot water, since this may cause the yarn to shrink or become rigid.
  • To remove dirt and filth from yarn, simply dip it in water and give it a gentle agitation.
  • Make sure that the yarn is completely free of soap by giving it a good rinse in cool water.
  • Squeeze the excess water from the yarn, being careful not to stretch or twist it.
  • You can dry yarn more thoroughly by rolling it up in a clean, dry towel.
  • Roll the yarn up and let it air dry flat on a dry, clean surface.
  • Also, keep in mind to not hang it as the weight of the wet yarn will cause it to stretch and lose its shape if you hang it to dry.

When cleaning a finished acrylic yarn product like a sweater or afghan, the same care instructions apply. In order to preserve the item’s surface and prevent pilling or fading, turning it inside out before washing is recommended.

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 polyacrylonitrile, 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 its 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. Arcylic fabric is also 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 low maintenance, 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 good 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 30-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 at low temperature because a high temperature can damage the fibers and make the fabrics stretch after washing. If you must iron your clothing, try to avoid using the high temperature function.

Wash Your Acrylic Clothes In Cold Water

Acrylic garments can be washed in cold water to prevent shrinkage. You can wash your fabrics at 30°C or 86°F. 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 Mild 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

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 the shrinking of the fibers after washing.

Avoid High Heat Dry

If you must then tumble dry your articles of clothing and 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: 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 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



I have been working as a seamstress since I was 12 years old, and I would be happy to teach you what I know. I, along with the rest of my team, investigate numerous sewing, quilting, embroidery, and fabric related how-to guides, and present our findings to you.

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