Everything You Should Know About “Does Viscose Shrink?”

Published by Hala Zaqqout on January 8, 2022 | Last updated on May 15, 2023

Have you ever taken your favorite viscose out of the washer or dryer only to discover it’s too small and wonder why does viscose shrink?

How many times has something like this happened to you before? You’re not alone if you’ve ever puzzled why viscose clothing shrinks after tumbling around in the washer or dryer.

Fortunately, there’s a simple answer – it all boils down to viscose fabric, temperature, and agitation.

If you wash the fabric too aggressively, the scales will tighten even more, causing the garment to shrink or feel like a solid piece. Luckily, learning how to keep viscose clothes from shrinking isn’t difficult.

This article will help you to know how to take care of it and to know if viscose shrinks when washing it.

What is Viscose?

Viscose (The most prevalent type of rayon) is a manufactured fiber made from natural materials. It’s one of the three types of rayon: modal, lyocell, and viscose.

It is a rayon fabric that drapes like silk yet has a soft cotton feel to it which is suitable for making light clothing. It is also cheap to make but needs maintenance because it can easily shrink and wrinkle.

Does Viscose Shrink Easily?

It certainly does. Viscose is a delicate fabric that requires special care because it can shrink in the washer or dryer. The heat and motion of a washer and dryer will shorten the fibers and cause them to shrink.

To avoid risks of distortion, pilling, shrinkage, we recommend you special washing, drying, and ironing.

Why Does Viscose Shrink?

Viscose is a very delicate material that doesn’t hold up well to much at all and has its fibers weaken when it gets to wet. One reason viscose shrinks is that it is a cheaply handmade material that lacks the strength of natural silk with low-quality fibers.

The fibers that are constructed are not prepared for being in contact with an excessive amount of warm water (or any warm moisture).

So, there is the risk of shrinking or tearing your viscose clothes when you use the washer or dryer. The more wet viscose is moved around, the more likely it is to shrink or tear.

Does Viscose Shrink in the Washing Machine?

Unfortunately, if viscose is not washed properly, it might shrink in the washing machine.

You need to be careful washing it because the combination of the temperature of the water and agitation in the machine could be harmful.

To avoid this, you must program a specific wash for delicate garments, that is, make sure the water flowing into the machine is cold, and then set the machine to delicate wash at a low speed.

You also need to make sure to follow manufacturers’ instructions to get the best out of your clothes with each wash.

Some Guidelines to Wash Viscose Clothes in the Washing Machine?

To keep your viscose fabrics in prime condition and at their original size, we recommend you special treatment in the washing machine. To help you do just that, here are some tips.

  • Check the labels on your clothes to see if you can machine wash the clothes. Don’t put them in the washing machine if they say not to!
  • Pull your clothes inside out before washing.
  • Put your clothes in a mesh bag for further protection.
  • Make sure that the water going into the machine is cold.
  • Program your washing machine up to complete a ‘delicate cycle’. A cold cycle with low speed will also suffice.
  • Add some delicate detergent.
  • Let the washing machine do its job and you can get the best results.

Does Viscose Shrink in the Dryer?

Fabric shrinking is mostly caused by heat and motion. These factors easily shrink viscose, so a tumble dry with heat is the worst method for drying viscose garments.

If you’re doing at-home dry cleaning, don’t put viscose in the dryer unless you’re using a no-heat tumble cycle.

It is better to layout the article of clothing on a towel in its natural position and let it air dry.

Does Viscose Shrink When Ironed?

The iron is another appliance that can shrink viscose due to heat if you don’t use it properly. To avoid this from happening, iron the garment inside out: this will prevent the fibers from shrinking and being damaged.

Plus, set the iron to a low heat setting and before ironing the garment you must moisten it, spraying a little water on it will suffice.

You can also use a cotton cloth pop or a towel over the clothing item to stop the heat from transferring into it.

Does Viscose Shrink When Hand-Washed?

The good news here is that viscose does not shrink when you hand wash it with cold water.

Then you should hang dry them to make sure they do not shrink due to too much heat.  

Does Viscose Shrink in Cold Water?

The good news here is that viscose does not shrink in cold water.

If you opt to use a washing machine, place your garment inside a mesh bag, wash in cold water, choose the gentle cycle and select the slowest spin speed.

Then hang them to dry to prevent them from shrinking owing to excessive heat.

Does Viscose Shrink in Hot Water?

Unfortunately, yes!

This is where you start to run into problems when cleaning viscose clothing. Many guidelines say that you should not use hot water because it may cause shrinkage if you don’t wash it properly.

So you should carefully read the instructions to ensure thar water does not get warm or hot.

Does Viscose Shrink More than Once?

Viscose clothing will shrink if you wash it in the washing machine (On a regular setting) or in hot water. And if you’re mindful of only ever washing viscose by hand in cold water, you can minimize shrinking.

However, CleanersAdvisor provides you with the correct ways of washing viscose clothing, so that they don’t shrink as readily.  Read on to follow the steps that will help you avoid risks of shrinkage.

How Often Should You Wash Viscose?

It depends, if you’re going to hand wash it then it’s safe to do so after every use, or when it gets dirty.

But if you opt to use a washing machine, place your clothes in a mesh bag, wash in cold water, choose the gentle cycle, and spin it at the slowest spin speed.

How to Wash Viscose Clothes Properly Without Shrinking?

The safest way to wash your viscose clothes is to hand wash them with cold water and mild detergent mix. But if you really want to use a washing machine, then check the tags on your viscose clothes.

Don’t forget to turn a viscose garment inside out before washing to retain the color and texture.

To keep it from shrinking, set the machine to a delicate wash cycle, that is, at a low speed and low temperature.

Always hang-dry them to avoid shrinkage due to excessive heat.

Check out this video to know the safest way to wash your viscose article of clothing and keep it from shrinking.

Does Viscose Shrink FAQ

To Wrap Up

Taking the proper care of your viscose clothing will keep it looking new.  We hope this guide helps you keep your viscose clothes from shrinking.

Share your viscose laundry tips and tricks in the comments below and let me know how you get on below in the comments!  


Ingersoll, H. G. (1946). Fine structure of viscose rayon. Journal of Applied Physics17(11), 924-939.‏
Lukanova, V., & Ganchev, V. (2005). A possibility for shrinkage decrease of textile fabrics made from cotton and viscose fibres. Fibres & Textiles in Eastern Europe, (1 (49)), 51-53.‏
İŞMAL, Ö. E. (2008). The Effect of Causticizing, Washing and Drying Processes on Shrinkage and Crease Resistance Properties of Viscose Fabric. Textile and Apparel18(3), 221-228.‏

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