Does Spandex Shrink When Washed or Dried?


Does Spandex shrink? Some people might wonder. The answer at hand is that spandex does not shrink, nor should you expect it to. There are a few reasons why you cannot wash your spandex in the washing machine and expect it to be shrunk.

First of all, the fabric is made from nylon which is a stretchable and abrasion-resistant type of man-made fiber with strong tensile strength – much more durable than pajama cotton or knits. It means that the material is not going to deteriorate over time by being washed over and over again and the spandex pants are not going to shrink.

Also, spandex is a synthetic fiber, while most cotton fabrics are natural. The difference is that natural fibers shrink when put in hot temperatures, while man-made ones do not. Another reason why your spandex clothing will not shrink on you is because of the way it’s manufactured. Spandex manufacturers need it to stretch as much as possible so they add elasticity to the material during its processing which means it won’t shrink even after multiple washes.

What Is Spandex Made Of?

Spandex is a synthetic fiber, which means it should not be confused with natural fibers like cotton. Multiple companies make spandex, and the chemical makeup of each type might be different. The most common types of spandex fibers sold in the United States include nylon and polyester, as well as a hybrid called modacrylic.

The nylon-type spandex is breathable and soft, but it can be more stretchy and durable than polyester-based spandex. Polyester spandex is more affordable, but it may not always perform as well as nylon in clothing. Modacrylic blends the properties of polyester and nylon to make a fiber that is moisture-wicking and heat-resisting.

Spandex fibers are made with a chain of smaller molecules. As the molecules bounce against each other, they can move in any direction without stretching or breaking the larger molecule chains.

Spandex fiber chains are made with monomers and dimers. Monomers are molecules that are only one piece of the chain, while dimers are two-piece molecules. The more monomers bonded to a molecule, the higher the content of spandex. Each type of spandex fiber will vary in content, so it’s important to know what type of spandex you have before taking care of it.

Does Spandex Shrink?

The first question people tend to ask is, “Does spandex shrink?” The answer is yes. Because of the stretching ability of spandex, it can easily adjust to fit our bodies more comfortably.

Spandex is the most common fiber used in garments today, so it’s probably safe to say that most of us wear clothing that contains this stretchy fabric. If you have a spandex-based garment, then you should be able to ask the manufacturer if they understand how to prepare their clothes for wear. There are some basics they should know about spandex.

Spandex fabric is heat resistant, but it shouldn’t be left in the dryer too long. Use a low heat setting, and make sure to use the fabric care instructions that come with your garment. There are usually three steps involved in caring for your spandex: washing, ironing, and drying.

How Does Spandex Shrink?

Spandex can shrink anywhere from 2% to 5%, depending on the type of spandex and how it’s being used in your garment. When it’s in a fiber blend, there will be a higher rate of shrinkage due to the fiber content. When there is a mixture of spandex and cotton, it can shrink up to 5%. The type of spandex used will affect the amount of shrinkage as well.

In general, nylon-based spandex is 5% less elastic after each wash, while polyester-based spandex shrinks between 3-5%. Modacrylic blends can be up to 10% less elastic after each wash.

Spandex doesn’t always shrink all the way across, but you should still take some precautions when washing it. You might want to consider placing your clothes into a pillowcase when they are first put into the washing machine and then laying them flat on top of towels while they dry. This helps prevent feathers, pills, or lint from getting trapped in between layers and clogging your clothes dryers.

What Causes Spandex to Shrink?

  1. The Water Temperature

The water temperature required for a dryer can cause spandex to shrink. If you use warm water to wash your garment, then you should use a cool temperature when putting it in the dryer. If the spandex is saturated with soapy water, then it can lose some of its elasticity. When the fabric is almost dry, stop the washer from spinning and take out your clothes. Lay them flat over towels and allow them to air-dry to help prevent shrinking.

  1. Usage Of Dryer

The heat generated by your dryer can also cause spandex garments to shrink. The most common place where this happens is the sleeves. For example, if you hang your pant leg on a coat hanger, the sleeve might curl up and shrink a bit. This can be avoided if you lay them flat to prevent the spandex fibers from pulling together.

  1. Detergent

The detergent used in your washing water can also affect the elasticity of your spandex garments. Some detergents have high alkaline levels that can leach acid out of clothes, robbing them of their elasticity over time. Make sure to read the care labels on your clothing and to check their material composition before washing.

  1. Washing

Spandex doesn’t like water and anything that can dissolve in water, including dryer sheets and detergents. If you add any of these items to your spandex laundry, it will cause them to shrink. Adding vinegar or oxygen cleaners can also leave a residue that prevents the spandex from stretching as well.

  1. Hang Dry

When it’s time to hang dry your spandex garments, they should be placed in an area where they are not crowded together in a tight space so they can properly air out and stay soft without wrinkles and pilling. If they are hung over each other, they can lose their stretch and become harder to wear.

Does Spandex Shrink In The Dryer? 

In addition to shrinking in the washing machine, spandex can also shrink when you dry it with hot heat. This is because heat causes the fibers to “lock together” and pull away from each other, causing them to become less elastic.

The good news is that the shrinkage can be reduced if you make sure that the garment is completely dry before putting it in the dryer. The bad news is that if it isn’t completely dry and warm air hits your spandex fabric before it has a chance to cool down, more shrinking may occur.

If you have spandex that is made out of nylon or similar synthetic material, the answer is yes, spandex does shrink in the dryer. The amount that it shrinks will vary from brand to brand and from style to style. You can save yourself some money by allowing your spandex items to air-dry after they have been washed in cold water and tumbled dry on low heat. This will save electricity and reduce your utility bills while keeping you comfortable and looking fashionable.

Does Spandex Shrink When Washed?

The short answer to this question is yes, spandex does shrink when washed. When you wash spandex in the washing machine, the fibers tend to press against each other. This causes them to “lock together” and push away from each other. This creates a permanent change in the elasticity of the material itself, reducing its ability to stretch or return to its original shape when pressure or force is applied.

Because of this change in elasticity, you mustn’t over-dry your spandex clothing. Drying your spandex clothes for too long can cause them to shrink even more than if they were washed correctly in the first place.

Can You Put Spandex In The Washing Machine?

Spandex clothing can be machine-washed if it is labeled as being washable in the washing machine. Most spandex clothing will come with a tag attached to it that will list the recommended wash settings for your garment and the amount of time you should leave it in the washing machine before turning it off.

Many people choose to use cold water when washing their spandex garments because hot water may cause them to shrink too much. If you are concerned about shrinkage and want to use hot water when washing, check the labels on all of your garments before starting, and don’t leave them in for longer than what is recommended.

You should make sure that you do not use any detergent other than part of one recommended by the manufacturer of your spandex clothing. Some spandex clothing will come with a laundry additive that can increase its ability to withstand washing and drying. These waiver garments may also tell you what type of detergent they are most compatible with.

If you want to avoid shrinkage in your spandex garments, hang them up to dry within one day. Over-drying can cause more shrinkage, so don’t go over the recommended time if it is not listed on the tag or tag extension for each piece of clothing.

The best time to hang your spandex garments up to dry is the day they are washed. If you try to get them dry too early, you will end up with more shrinkage than if you waited until it was completely dry.

How to Prevent Spandex from Shrinking

Follow these below-given steps to avoid Spandex Shrinkage.

  1. No matter what type of spandex you have, there is one thing that should always be done first. Before attempting to wash your spandex garment, check for dirt or stains and remove any excess material with scissors or a seam ripper. Because of the elasticity of spandex, you need to take out any loose threads before you wash them because these threads can create pilling in the fabric over time.
  2. The next step to good laundry is using the correct temperature in your water temperature setting, so you are using the right type of water for your material. Using hot water can damage spandex fibers and make them more susceptible to shrinking. Using cool water also helps prevent unwanted shrinkage as well as wrinkles.
  3. Spandex shrinkage will be reduced if you allow the fabric to soak in cool water with a small amount of mild detergent. Soaking keeps the spandex fibers from being agitated.
  4. Another way to prevent shrinkage is to wash your spandex garments separately from other clothes in the washer. If you have items that contain spandex, you should use a separate cycle on your washing machine, or wash them by hand in a sink of water with mild detergent and no bleach.
  5. Some people use a half cup of vinegar in the water to help preserve their spandex, but this can cause lint or other debris to stick to your clothes. So, you should make sure that your spandex garment is in good enough condition that you wouldn’t mind someone wearing it.
  6. A common mistake with spandex is taking it out of the dryer before they are completely dry because you want them to be over-dried and stiff. Spandex should be hung over a chair for about 10 minutes to air out. This will prevent wrinkles and pilling from forming, so your garment will keep its shape much better when you wear it.

Spandex is not the only type of fabric that can shrink when you wash it. Other types of fibers like wool and cotton can also shrink with the wrong washing techniques. When you choose a garment, always check the washing instructions on the tag to make sure it won’t shrink when it comes time for a wash cycle.

Does Polyester And Spandex Shrink?

Polyester and spandex fabrics are made from synthetic fibers that can only stretch so far before they break. When you wash polyester or spandex fabrics in hot water, the heat causes them to shrink. This is why you should use cold water when washing and drying your polyester garments.

Steam or suction pressing can cause the fibers in polyester to shrink as well. This is because steam and suction press the fibers together, causing them to “lock” into each other. The more you press your polyester clothing, the less elasticity it will have.

To avoid the unwanted shrinking that can occur in your polyester garments, be sure to never use bleach on them. Bleaching can leave a residue on the fabric that could cause it to change its shape when it comes time for a wash.

Can You Put Polyester And Spandex In The Dryer?

Unlike spandex clothing made out of nylon or similar synthetic material, polyester can be put in the dryer. Spandex is a blend that contains both nylon and spandex, so it can shrink when it is washed in the washing machine.

If you have a few pieces of spandex clothing that you want to hang dry, you can put them together in a ball and then toss them into your dryer with the rest of your laundry. If your garments are made out of polyester or similar synthetic fabric, you won’t have to worry about excessive shrinkage and will be able to hang them up within minutes of removing them from the washer.

Does Nylon And Spandex Shrink?

Nylon and spandex fabrics are made of synthetic fibers that can only stretch so far before they break. When you wash nylon or spandex fabrics in hot water, the heat causes them to shrink.

Spandex garments are more likely to shrink when you wash them than nylon garments. Because spandex is made from synthetic fibers that can only stretch so far, the garment will change size after washing. Spandex may shrink by as much as two sizes when it’s cold-washed in the washing machine. This can cause it to become too small for you to wear comfortably or perhaps even be too small for your frame type.

Nylon has a longer lifespan than spandex, so it takes longer for your nylon garments to begin to change size after washing. However, if you do not take care of your nylon clothing and allow it to become too small for you, the results can be unpleasant. 

Nylon does shrink when it’s washed in the washing machine. After it has been washed, you should hang all your nylon garments to dry on hangers or racks instead of drying them with a clothes dryer. This will keep them from shrinking too much completely or allowing the fibers to get pulled over time and causing them to break off while they are being worn.

Does Rayon Spandex Blend Shrink?

Rayon is a cellulose fiber that is created through a process of dissolving natural fibers in chemicals. When you wash rayon spandex blends in hot water, the heat causes them to shrink. This is why it’s best to wash your rayon spandex garments in cold water so they won’t shrink too much afterward.

Rayon spandex blends are capable of shrinking at least as much as melange fabrics. Melange is a type of rayon mixed with cotton or wool to make it less likely to shrink when it’s washed. Melange is more expensive and hard to find, however, so you may want to choose a rayon spandex blend instead if you prefer your pants and blouses to stay form-fitting through the course of the day.

Washing Tips For Spandex Clothes

When you wash your spandex clothing, you should always check the tag to make sure that the garment is machine-washable. All of your spandex clothing is going to be machine-washable unless it has a special tag attached that tells you not to wash it.

Spandex clothing constructed out of nylon or polyester material may shrink when it is washed in low temperatures, so you should only wash your spandex products in cold water. Even when washing your garments at colder temperatures, keep an eye on the tags to make sure they don’t shrink more than they have been marked for.

Don’t put your spandex garments in the dryer until they are completely dry. Over-drying can cause a lot of shrinkage, especially if you use heat to dry your items.

If you have a spandex costume or pair of pants that you want to last for a long time, don’t hang them up to dry unless they are completely dry. Spandex can stretch when it dries, so hanging it back up will cause it to lose its shape and limit the amount of stretching that can occur.

How Long Does It Take For Spandex To Shrink?

Spandex fabrics will shrink with the right amount of heat and moisture. When you wash spandex in cold water, it will shrink within the washing machine when it comes time to spin and drain the water. 

The amount of shrinkage that occurs is based upon a variety of factors such as the type of material used to make the fabric, whether or not it’s a blend with another type of material, and what other clothes are put in with it during the wash cycle.

If you only have a couple of items of spandex clothing that you want to wash, you can put them in with your regular laundry. This will make it easier for you to monitor the amount of shrinkage that occurs during each washing cycle.

FAQ About Does Spandex Shrink

Does 95% Polyester and 5% Spandex Shrink?

Polyester is one of the most resilient fabrics available and is considered a “high-performance” material for this reason. It easily dyes, resists wear and tear and has very good elasticity. You can wash polyester in warm or cold water at home, although it will shrink more if you wash it in warm water than if you wash it in cold water. Polyester can shrink up to 5% when washed in warm water, but will not shrink when washed in cold water. Since polyester is stronger than other fabrics and can resist heat, if it is washed too hot, it will not shrink but will instead melt. For example, if you wash a polyester jacket in super hot water, the jacket may become insecurable and won’t stay on you because the fabric will melt in your hands.

Does Spandex Dry Quickly?

Spandex is a synthetic material made out of fibers, so it will not dry as quickly as other fabrics such as cotton. You can expect your spandex garment to take a little longer to dry after you use it if you do not allow it to air-dry or hang it somewhere where the light won’t shine directly on it. There is no chemical reaction between spandex and heat that occurs when you iron spandex clothing. This means that you don’t need to remove the wrinkles from your garments with a steam iron before hanging them up, but there are some ways you can make them look more presentable if you are pressed for time.

Final Thoughts

Welcome to the world of spandex clothing. Becoming familiar with the materials and washing methods used on spandex clothing will mean that you will have lasting, flattering results when you wear your garments in the future.

By following these tips, you will be well on your way to having a wardrobe filled with spandex that lasts long past its original purchase date. If you follow all of these tips, you should find that your spandex clothes last much longer than those worn by your friends who weren’t as familiar with how to get the best results from their fabrics.


  1. QVC – Does rayon/spandex shrink?
  2. Road Bike – How to shrink nylon/spandex fabric after stretch?
  3. AskAndyAboutClothes – Why Does My Clothing Shrink? Learn How To Prevent It
  4. Reddit – how do I shrink a 95% polyester, 5% spandex bodysuit
  5. Quora – Does cotton spandex shrink when washed?
  6. Wikihow – How to Shrink Spandex


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