Does Viscose Shrink in the Washer or the Dryer? Tips To Wash

Have your favorite viscose items lost their charm due to shrinking? Are you always in two minds about washing it, wondering, “Does viscose shrink in the washer or the dryer?” We understand your concern. In this article, we will explore whether it shrinks, and how to prevent it.

What is Viscose

Viscose is a popular type of rayon fabric, renowned for its silk-like texture, breathability, and absorbency. It’s often used as a cheaper alternative to silk or cotton. But you can consider buying this material because of its shrinkage.

Fabric viscose

Does Viscose Shrink in the Washer or the Dryer

Yes, of course, when you wash viscose, it tends to shrink each time. This is because water can make the material weaker, which leads to it shrinking. Also, that’s why it’s not a good idea to put them in a tumble dryer. If you wash your viscose clothes as you would normally do with other clothes, they’re likely to shrink more and more with every wash.

How to Wash Viscose Without Shrinking: Step-by-Step Guide

Now, to help you wash this material without shrinking, we provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to wash it:

Tools and materials you’ll need

  • Cold water
  • Mild detergent
  • Soft towel
  • Flat drying surface

Step 1: Preparing the cleaning solution

First, you’ll need to prepare your cleaning solution. Fill up a sink, basin, or tub with cold water. Then, add a small amount of mild detergent to the water. If you use harsh detergents that can damage the delicate fibers of viscose. After that, you continute to mix the water and detergent until blended.

Step 2:  Soaking the clothes

Next, place your viscose items into the soapy water solution. Make sure the entire piece is submerged in the water. Now, you can do other jobs and let it soak for about 15 minutes. When you do this, it can support detergent to penetrate the fibers and start lifting the dirt or stains.

Step 3: Hand washing

After the soaking process, you will gently rub the clothes with your hands. This helps to dislodge any remaining dirt. Remember to be gentle and avoid any harsh scrubbing or wringing motions. Because Viscose is delicate when wet, so, if rough handling can cause the fibers to break or stretch, leading to deformation or shrinkage.

Should wash by hand

Step 4: Rinsing your clothes

Once you’ve hand washed the clothes, now, you start to rinse. In detail, you drain the soapy water from the sink or basin and gently squeeze the garment to remove the excess soapy water. Then, refill the basin with cold water and place the garment back in. Agitate the garment again gently to help remove the soap. Well, you may need to change the water and repeat this process a few times until all the detergent is gone and the water runs clear.

Step 5: Removing excess water

Next, you need to remove the excess water before drying. To do this, gently press the garment between your hands or against the side of the basin. Another way is you can also lay the garment flat on a clean, dry towel and roll it up to absorb more water. Remember not to twist or wring the fabric as it can lead to stretching and shrinking.

Step 6: Drying

Finally, to dry your viscose item, lay it flat on a dry towel away from direct sunlight or heat. Reshape the garment to its original form. We highly recommend letting them air dry naturally. Because when you use a dryer or direct sunlight, this can cause the fabric to shrink significantly.

Read more: How to Wash a Leather Jacket in the Washing Machine: Safe?

Factors Leading to Shrinkage

Here, we provide some factors that can cause shrinkage in these fibers:

  • Exposure to water: Viscose fibers absorb water easily, which can cause them to swell and later contract, leading to shrinkage. That’s why it’s essential to wash these items in cold water and avoid soaking them for too long.
  • Heat: Viscose is highly sensitive to heat. This means hot water or high-temperature drying can cause the fibers to shrink dramatically. It’s recommended to air dry these garments and, if you need to iron, use the lowest heat setting possible.
  • Incorrect drying methods: Using heated drying methods such as tumble drying or direct sun exposure can lead to significant shrinkage. So, you should let Viscose be air-dried and laid flat to maintain its shape.
  • Harsh detergents or chemicals: Using strong detergents or bleach can weaken these fibers and lead to shrinkage. It’s best to use a mild, fabric-friendly detergent.
Viscose clothing label

How to Care After Washing

Proper care post-washing is crucial to keep viscose from shrinking, So, we give you some tips to care properly:

First, never put your viscose garment in the dryer. Instead, let it air-dry naturally. If the item is heavily wrinkled, you can steam it or use an iron on the lowest setting while it’s still slightly damp.

Additionally, for storage, hang viscose clothes in a cool, dry area. Avoid folding them to prevent creasing. Remember, viscose is prone to stretching, so use a hanger that matches the garment’s size to maintain its shape.

Read more: How to Get Wrinkles Out of Silk: 4 Effective Methods


Understanding the answer to “Does viscose shrink in the washer or the dryer?” can save you from the disappointment of ruined clothes. This material may shrink when exposed to heat and moisture, but with proper care and handling, you can minimize the risk. By following the washing and care guidelines shared in this article, you can enjoy your items for a longer time.


  1. Will Viscose shrink if washed in cold water?

    Fortunately, viscose tends to retain its size better when washed in cold water. By selecting a gentle hand wash option on your washing machine or washing your items by hand, you can avoid the problem of shrinkage. To reduce the chance of these items getting smaller, it's a good idea to use the coldest setting on your washing machine. Washing by hand also gives you better control over the water temperature.

  2. Will Viscose Shrink if Washed in Hot Water?

    It's very important to consider the water temperature when washing your viscose items. Most care labels will suggest keeping hot water at bay as it can lead to shrinkage and fiber damage. Fluctuations in temperature can also result in noticeable shrinking and changes in the garment's size. To avoid these issues, it's better to stick with a cool or cold water wash.

  3. Does Viscose Continue to Shrink After the First Time?

    Unlike other materials such as cotton, trying to shrink viscose items before use doesn't work because these fibers have a unique response to heat and water. Some viscose clothes come with a coating that resists shrinking, which might help during the first few washes.

    But over time, this coating can wear away, and the item might start to shrink with subsequent washes. That's why it's crucial to follow the care label instructions on your items to keep shrinkage to a minimum.