How to Shrink Acrylic Garments

by Celeigh O'Neil ; Updated September 28, 2017

Acrylic is commonly used in the manufacturing of hats, sweaters and blankets, among other garments.

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Clothing made from acrylic is a common fashion staple, particularly throughout the colder months. Acrylic garments are often oversize or bulky in order to provide warmth and a more universal fit than other fashion options. However, acrylic clothing can sometimes prove to be a bit too bulky, but it can be sized down for a more form-fitting look through the process of machine washing and drying.

Check the fabric content on the garment’s tag. If the garment is 100 percent acrylic, it can be washed for longer. If it is blended with wool or other fabrics, it will not require as much time to shrink.

Place the garment in a washing machine alone or with a maximum of three additional items.

Adjust the water temperature to “hot” and place the cycle on “heavy” for pure acrylic or “quick” for blended fabrics. Laundry detergent can be added if desired but is not necessary.

Place the washed garment in the dryer. Turn off any “shrink guard” or “soft heat” options, and time the dryer for 50 to 60 minutes.

Remove the garment from the dryer and try it on. If the garment does not reach the desired size, repeat the process.

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About the Author

Celeigh O'Neil has been writing professionally since 2008. She has a Bachelor of fine arts from the University of Ottawa, as well as degrees in fashion illustration/design, digital arts and certification in hair and makeup artistry. O'Neil was a frequent contributor to Toronto's "Dialog" newspaper and has worked as an instructional writer, creating lessons in fashion, art and English for students of all ages.