Does 50 Percent Cotton 50 Percent Polyester Shrink?

Sometimes, some garments have our hearts but they’re bigger and looser than the usual size we wear. If this garment in question is 50 percent cotton and 50 percent polyester, then you’re in luck.

50/50 Poly-cotton can be shrunk to give a better fitting. However, set your expectations right – don’t expect an xxxl size shirt or hoodie to become a size S after shrinking. 

With whatever limited knowledge common people have about fabrics, it’s a well-known fact that polyester is engineered and cotton is natural. Cotton is breathable but expensive. Polyester is affordable but not breathable.

Hence, fashion innovations gave birth to 50 percent cotton and 50 percent polyester fabric so that the resulting garment could be both cheaper and breathable. If you’re trying to shrink this fusion, HEAT is the only answer!

Does 50 Percent Cotton 50 Percent Polyester Shrink

Shrinking a 50-50 cotton and polyester tee or shirt won’t be easy though. Cotton can significantly shrink but 50 percent polyester in cotton is highly resistant to shrinking. Polyester, in fact, has the property to resist shrinking up to 140 degrees F.

That’s why the poly-cotton garment you’re trying to shrink has to be literally scorched in heat consistently at temperatures higher than at least 60 degrees F.

There are naturally some benefits and some disadvantages of shrinking poly-cotton. Expect to learn everything about the procedure: how much can 50 percent cotton and 50 percent polyester shrink, what is the process, what are the precautions, and much more!

Does 50 Percent Cotton 50 Percent Polyester Shrink – What to Expect?

To clear the air once and for all, the answer is Yes – 50 percent cotton and 50 percent polyester DOES SHRINK. But, the question is, how much? If you’ve purchased a 50/50 poly-cotton tee or hoodie that’s thrice your size, don’t expect it to hug your body after shrinking.

When the correct procedures to shrinking poly-cotton are followed, the garment shows a significant size reduction by 5 to 10% (that’s usually 1 to 2 sizes smaller). 

The road to shrinking anything that has 50% polyester in it (even when the other fabric is cotton that’s otherwise easy to shrink) is never going to be easy.

So, deck up for some hard work if you want to fit in your favorite shirt that’s bigger than your size this season. 

See also: Which is Warmer Polyester or Cotton?

How to Prepare 50-50 Cotton and Polyester For Shrinking?

There are basically two ways to shrink 50% cotton and 50% polyester fabric. But before we skim you through those two ways, it is important that you know the dos and don’ts so that the garment in question is shrunk properly. 

1.) Always ensure that the shirt or hoodie that you’re planning to shrink is clean. If there’s a stain and you shrink the garment as it is, the stain will become permanent. So, make sure to wash the garment properly before shrinking it.

2.) Don’t shrink multiple garments at the same time because the color might bleed at high temperatures. It’s safer to shrink one garment at a time.

3.) Always make sure to turn the garment inside out since heat might lead to fading. To preserve the color on the surface, make sure you’re not exposing it to direct heat. 

4.) Don’t shrink a garment again and again. Overdoing it will weaken the fabric’s strands and the cloth might tear or look old and shabby. 

2 Ways to Effectively Shrink 50 percent cotton and 50 percent polyester

HEAT, as we already mentioned, is the only way to shrink 50/50 poly-cotton. There are basically 2 methods to channelize heat in such a way that you’ll get the desired results. Have a look.

1.) Hot Wash and Hot Dry in a Washing Machine 

Hot Wash and Hot Dry in a Washing Machine 

Load your shirt or hoodie in the washing machine and select the highest possible hot water settings. Let the machine run for the lengthiest cycle.

Once it’s done, don’t wait for the shirt to cool down before you dry it. Use a pair of tongs and directly put the shirt in the dryer.

Again, set the mode to the highest possible heat settings and let it run for 15-20 minutes so that all the water is removed and the shirt is fully dry.

If it’s the size you want it to be, well and good. If not, throw it in the washer again. Run the cycle at the hottest possible water settings for another 15 minutes. This time, instead of drying the shirt in a dryer, use an iron at the highest possible heat setting. 

Yes, all this is going to be hard work. But, following the procedure carefully will shrink your 50 perfect cotton and 50 percent polymer garment by at least 1 to 2 sizes.

2.) Hot Wash in a Pot of Boiling Water 

This procedure to shrink 50 percent cotton and 50 percent polymer shirt or hoodie is beneficial when the garment is not meant to be machine washed.

However, it’s just as effective as the procedure carried out in a washing machine. Here’s what you should do:

1.) Boil water in a spacious and deep pot. 

2.) Wait until the temperature is 170 degrees F.

3.) Soak the garment you want to shrink in the pot of boiling water. 

4.) If you want to shrink the cloth slightly, remove it from the pot using tongs after 10 minutes and let it cool down for 5 minutes before drying it in a dryer at the highest possible heat settings.

5.) If you want to shrink the garment significantly, make sure to let the garment sit in the pot of boiling water for about 20 minutes. Don’t wait for it to cool down.

After you remove it from the pot, immediately toss it in the dryer and run it at the highest possible heat settings for about 15 minutes. 

See also: Are Cotton Shirts Better Than Polyester?

Things to Keep in Mind When Shrinking 50-50 Cotton and Polyester 

Now that you know the process of shrinking your favorite garments, it’s important that you have an idea about what you should keep in your mind if you want the process to be carried out precisely. Have a look!

1.) Use a pair of tongs or very good quality heat-resistant gloves to avoid the risk of getting burnt. 

2.) Don’t add detergent to the machine or pot of boiling water while you’re trying to shrink the garment. Clean it beforehand. 

3.) Always check the hoodie or shirt for size after you’ve shrunk it once. There’s no point in tossing it in the washer and dryer again if you’ve already reached the size you desire. 

4.) Expect some sort of fading since heat will lead to color bleeding 90 times out of 100.

5.) Carry out the procedure of shrinking 50 percent cotton and 50 percent polyester only once. If you do it again and again, the garment will get wrinkly and look very old. 

6.) No matter what, do not forget to check that the garment you’re trying to shrink in the washing machine is meant to be washed in the machine.

If you machine wash something that’s supposed to be hand-washed, not only will the garment become wrinkly, it might get torn and patchy. 

Disadvantages of Shrinking 50 Percent Cotton and 50 percent Polymer 

There aren’t a lot of disadvantages. But, there are some and you must know about them and only then decide whether or not you want to shrink your clothes.

1.) The garment won’t remain true to its color. It will fade slightly. 

2.) The garment might require ironing frequently despite it having polyester. However, you can starch your 50 percent cotton and 50 percent polyester shirt if you don’t want to iron it repeatedly. 

See also: Do Moisture-Wicking Shirts Shrink?


50 percent cotton and 50 percent polymer can easily shrink up to 1 to 2 sizes. Don’t expect it to shrink more than that.

You can either use the machine wash method to shrink the garment or you can use the boiling water pot method for more delicate (to be handled washed only) garments. 

In a nutshell, if you want to get the desired results, always keep in mind that consistency in heat is going to be the key!

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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