Does Modal Shrink? Exploring Modal Fabric Shrinkage

Does Modal Shrink
Does Modal Shrink

Modal fabric has gained popularity in the textile industry due to its luxurious feel, softness, and breathability. However, if you’re considering modal fabric for your garments or home textiles, you may wonder, “Does modal shrink?” In this article, we’ll delve into the topic of modal fabric shrinkage and explore various factors affecting it. We’ll also discuss ways to prevent or minimize shrinkage, ensuring you can enjoy the benefits of modal fabric for a long time.

Modal fabric is a type of semi-synthetic textile made from beech tree pulp. It is known for its silky, smooth texture and excellent drape. Modal fabric is highly absorbent and breathable, making it comfortable to wear in different climates. However, the modal can experience shrinkage under certain conditions like any other fabric.

Understanding Modal Fabric

What is Modal Fabric?

Modal fabric is produced through a process called spinning, where cellulose fibers from beech trees are dissolved and then extruded to create fine filaments. These filaments are then spun into yarns and woven into fabric. The result is a fabric that combines the natural softness of cellulose fibers with a semi-synthetic material’s enhanced strength and durability.

Modal Fabric Properties

The modal fabric possesses several desirable properties, making it an excellent choice for various applications. It is incredibly soft, often compared to silk or cashmere, and drapes beautifully. Modal is also highly absorbent, wicking moisture away from the body to keep the wearer dry and comfortable. Additionally, it resists shrinkage, fading, and pilling, making it a durable and long-lasting fabric.

Does Modal Shrink?

Modal fabric is known for its ability to retain its shape and size, but it can still experience some shrinkage under specific circumstances. Let’s explore the factors that can contribute to modal fabric shrinkage.

Factors Affecting Modal Shrinkage

Several factors can influence the shrinkage of modal fabric:

  • Heat: Modal fabric is generally resistant to shrinkage, but exposure to high temperatures can cause it to shrink. Hot water, high dryer heat, or ironing at high temperatures can lead to shrinkage.
  • Agitation: Excessive agitation during washing or drying can also contribute to modal shrinkage. Rough handling or vigorous machine cycles can cause the fabric to contract and shrink.
  • Blending: Modal fabric is often blended with other materials like polyester or viscose. The shrinkage behavior of the fabric can depend on the blend ratio and the properties of the other fibers.

Shrinkage in the Dryer

When it comes to drying modal fabric, it’s important to use low heat settings or air drying to prevent shrinkage. High dryer temperatures can cause the fabric to contract and lose its original dimensions. To preserve the quality and size of your modal garments, it’s best to let them air dry or use a low heat setting in the dryer.

Shrinkage when Washed

Modal fabric can withstand gentle machine washing or hand washing. However, using hot water can increase the chances of shrinkage. To minimize shrinkage, washing modal garments in cold or lukewarm water is advisable. Additionally, gentle cycles and mild detergents can help maintain the fabric’s integrity.

Shrinkage in Hot Water

As mentioned earlier, the modal fabric is sensitive to high temperatures. Washing modal garments in hot water may cause shrinkage, especially if combined with other factors like agitation. To prevent shrinkage, opt for cooler water temperatures when laundering modal fabrics.

Modal Blends and Shrinkage

Modal fabric is often blended with other fibers to enhance certain properties. Let’s look at how modal blends behave in terms of shrinkage.

Modal Polyester Blend

Modal polyester blends offer a combination of softness, durability, and wrinkle resistance. Polyester is less prone to shrinkage than modal fabric, which can help minimize the overall shrinkage of the blend. However, following proper care instructions is essential to prevent any potential shrinkage.

Modal Viscose Blend

Modal viscose blends combine the luxurious feel of modal with viscose’s lightweight and breathable characteristics. Viscose fibers have a higher tendency to shrink compared to modal. Therefore, handling modal viscose blend garments with the care and following the appropriate care instructions is crucial.

How to Prevent Modal Shrinkage

To ensure your modal fabric items maintain their original size and shape, here are some tips to prevent or minimize shrinkage:

  • Follow care instructions: Always check the care label on your modal garments for specific washing and drying instructions. Adhering to these guidelines will help preserve the fabric’s integrity.
  • Wash in cold water: Opt for cold or lukewarm water when laundering modal fabric. Lower temperatures reduce the risk of shrinkage.
  • Use gentle cycles: Choose a gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine to minimize agitation and protect the fabric.
  • Avoid high heat: Whether drying in a machine or ironing, use low heat settings to prevent the modal fabric from shrinking.


In conclusion, while the modal fabric is known for its resistance to shrinkage, it can still shrink under certain circumstances. Factors such as high heat, excessive agitation, and blending with other fibers can contribute to modal fabric shrinkage. You can minimize shrinkage and extend the lifespan of your modal fabric garments by following proper care instructions, such as washing in cold water and air drying or using low heat settings.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is modal fabric prone to shrinking?

Modal fabric is generally resistant to shrinkage but can shrink under certain conditions, such as exposure to high temperatures or excessive agitation during washing or drying.

Can I machine wash modal fabric?

Yes, you can machine wash modal fabric. It is best to use a gentle cycle and cold or lukewarm water to minimize the risk of shrinkage.

Can I tumble-dry modal fabric?

To prevent shrinkage, it is advisable to air dry modal fabric or use low heat settings in the dryer. High dryer temperatures can cause the fabric to shrink.

Does modal shrink more than cotton?

Modal fabric is generally more resistant to shrinkage than cotton. However, following proper care instructions is essential to minimize any potential shrinkage.

How can I maintain the softness of modal fabric?

To maintain the softness of modal fabric, avoid using harsh detergents, opt for gentle cycles, and refrain from using high heat during washing and drying.

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