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How To Shrink Rayon in the Dryer

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Rayon, a semi-synthetic fiber known for its soft, smooth texture, shiny appearance, and excellent drapability, has become a popular fabric choice in the fashion industry. However, due to its unique properties, rayon can shrink under heat, which is both a blessing and a curse. If you have a rayon garment that’s a bit too big, intentionally shrinking it can be a quick fix. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the process of shrinking rayon in the dryer.


To shrink rayon in the dryer, first hand wash the garment and remove excess water. Then, place the damp garment in the dryer on a gentle setting. The hotter the cycle, the more the garment will shrink. Be cautious, as rayon is sensitive to heat and may shrink more than desired or become misshapen. Once dried, check the shrinkage and air dry or iron if necessary. Always use a low heat setting to prevent excessive shrinkage or damage.

Why Shrink Rayon?

The reasons to shrink rayon are varied. You might have a beloved garment that’s a bit too large, or you’re testing a piece of fabric suspected to be rayon. Since rayon is known to shrink easily, intentionally shrinking the fabric can help confirm its material.

The Shrinkage Process

When it comes to shrinking rayon in the dryer, follow these steps:

  1. Identify the fabric blend: Determine the percentage of rayon in the garment. A more aggressive method may be required for a garment with a lower percentage of rayon, while a less aggressive method may be suitable for a garment made of 100% rayon.
  2. Hand wash the garment: Gently hand wash the rayon material and let it soak in water for several minutes.
  3. Remove excess water: After washing, place the damp clothing between two dry towels and gently press out the moisture. Do not wring out the excess water, as this can stretch the fabric and cause wrinkles.
  4. Dry the garment in the dryer: Put your wet rayon garment in the dryer on a gentle setting until it’s completely dry. The hotter the cycle, the more the garment will shrink. However, be cautious, as rayon is sensitive to heat and may shrink more than desired or become misshapen.
  5. Check the shrinkage: When you take the item out of the dryer, check to make sure it has shrunk to the desired amount.
  6. Air dry if necessary: If the garment has not shrunk enough, you can lay it flat on a towel and gently roll the towel up to soak up any remaining moisture. Then, allow the garment to air dry.
  7. Iron if needed: If the rayon garment is wrinkled after drying, use a low heat setting on your iron to smooth out the wrinkles.

Risks and Mitigation

Shrinking rayon in the dryer can pose several risks, including shrinkage, loss of shape, wrinkles, and damage to the fabric. Here are some ways to mitigate these risks:

  • Use a low heat setting: To minimize the risk of shrinkage and damage, use a low heat setting for your dryer.
  • Remove from the dryer promptly: Once the drying cycle is complete, promptly remove your rayon garments from the dryer to prevent any residual heat from causing shrinkage.
  • Follow care instructions: Always read and follow the care label instructions on your rayon garments to ensure proper care and prevent shrinkage.
  • Consider professional cleaning: If you are unsure about the proper care for your rayon garment or are concerned about shrinkage, it is best to seek professional dry cleaning services.

Alternative Methods

If you don’t have access to a dryer or prefer not to use one, there are alternatives for shrinking rayon:

  • Hand washing: Gently hand wash the rayon garment in warm water and let it soak for several minutes. Afterward, lay it out flat to air dry.
  • Washing machine: Wash the rayon fabric in a washing machine on a warm or hot cycle. After the cycle finishes, hang the garment to dry instead of using a dryer.
  • Steam: If you have a steamer, you can try using it to shrink the rayon garment. Steam the garment evenly, and then let it air dry.


While rayon is a delicate fabric and generally not recommended for dryer use, you can still shrink it in the dryer with proper care. Always check the garment tag for specific care instructions and use a low heat setting to prevent excessive shrinkage or damage. With these tips in mind, you can effectively shrink your rayon garments to achieve the perfect fit.

Remember, the best way to care for rayon is to hand wash and air dry whenever possible. This method will help maintain the fabric’s quality and longevity while preventing unnecessary shrinkage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use bleach on my rayon garment?

No, you should avoid using bleach on rayon. Bleach can damage the fibers and cause discoloration. Always use a mild detergent when washing rayon.

How can I prevent my rayon garment from wrinkling?

To prevent your rayon garment from wrinkling, remove it from the dryer while it’s still slightly damp and hang it up or lay it flat to dry. If wrinkles do appear, you can use a steam iron on a low setting to gently remove them.

Can I shrink a rayon blend fabric?

Yes, you can shrink a rayon blend fabric, but the results may vary depending on the other fibers in the blend. Some fibers may resist shrinking or react differently to heat, so always test on an inconspicuous area first.

Does rayon shrink every time it’s washed?

No, rayon does not necessarily shrink every time it’s washed. However, it is more prone to shrinkage when exposed to heat, so always use cool water and a gentle cycle when washing, and avoid the dryer whenever possible.

Can I reverse the shrinkage in rayon?

Unfortunately, once rayon has shrunk, it’s often difficult to reverse the process. The best way to deal with shrinkage is to prevent it in the first place by taking proper care of your rayon garments.

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