Does Viscose Shrink? A Comprehensive Guide to Shrinkage Potential

Does Viscose Shrink
Does Viscose Shrink

Viscose fabric, also known as rayon, is a popular choice for clothing due to its softness, comfort, and versatility. However, when it comes to caring for viscose garments, one common concern that arises is whether viscose fabric shrinks. In this article, we will delve into the subject of viscose shrinkage and explore various factors that can influence the shrinkage potential of this fabric. So, let’s unravel the mystery and find out: does viscose shrink?

Viscose fabric is derived from wood pulp or cellulose fibers, making it semi-synthetic. Its manufacturing process involves treating the cellulose with chemicals and spinning it into fine threads. The resulting fabric exhibits properties similar to natural fibers like cotton, such as breathability and moisture absorption.

Understanding Viscose Fabric

Before we delve into the topic of shrinkage, let’s gain a better understanding of viscose fabric. Viscose is known for its silky, smooth texture and drapes well, making it a preferred choice for creating flowy dresses, blouses, and other garments. It offers a luxurious feel and is often used as a substitute for natural silk due to its affordability.

Does Viscose Shrink: An Overview

The short answer is yes; viscose fabric can shrink. However, the extent of shrinkage and the specific conditions under which it occurs may vary. Several factors come into play when considering whether or not your viscose garment will shrink. Let’s explore these factors in more detail.

Factors Affecting Viscose Shrinkage

  1. Heat: Viscose fabric is sensitive to heat, and high temperatures can cause it to shrink. Exposing viscose garments to hot water, hot air, or high dryer settings can lead to shrinkage.
  2. Moisture: Like many fabrics, viscose can absorb moisture. Exposing wet viscose to heat or pressure, such as in a dryer, can cause the fibers to contract, resulting in shrinkage.
  3. Agitation: Aggressive mechanical action, such as vigorous washing or tumble-drying, can cause the fibers in viscose fabric to shrink and lose their original shape.

Does Viscose Shrink in the Dryer?

Yes, viscose fabric can shrink in the dryer. The combination of heat and mechanical agitation in the dryer can cause the fibers to contract, resulting in shrinkage. To minimize shrinkage, it is recommended to air dry viscose garments or use the lowest heat setting if using a dryer.

Does Viscose Shrink in Cold Water?

While viscose is generally less prone to shrinkage in cold water compared to hot water, it can still experience some degree of shrinkage. Cold water may not cause significant shrinkage, but it is always advisable to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure proper maintenance of your viscose garments.

Does Viscose Shrink or Stretch?

Viscose fabric is known to have a moderate degree of stretchability. While it can stretch to a certain extent when subjected to pulling or stretching forces, it can shrink when exposed to heat, moisture, or agitation. The ability of viscose to stretch or shrink depends on various factors, including the fabric’s composition, construction, and the specific conditions it is exposed.

Does Viscose Shrink When You Wash It?

Washing viscose garments can lead to shrinkage, especially if the washing conditions are unsuitable. To minimize the risk of shrinkage, washing viscose items using a gentle cycle and cold water is advisable. Additionally, hand washing or using a laundry bag can provide extra protection to the fabric, reducing the chances of shrinkage.

Does Viscose Shrink in Hot Water?

Viscose is more susceptible to shrinkage in hot water compared to cold water. Hot water can cause the fibers to contract, leading to shrinkage. To preserve the shape and size of your viscose garments, it is recommended to wash them in cold or lukewarm water instead.

Does Viscose Shrink When Dried?

Yes, viscose can shrink when dried, especially if subjected to high heat or mechanical agitation. Air-drying viscose garments is generally the safest method to prevent shrinkage. If you prefer a dryer, opt for the lowest heat setting or a drying rack to allow the garment to dry naturally.

Does Viscose Shrink Like Rayon?

Viscose fabric is commonly referred to as rayon, and both terms are often used interchangeably. Therefore, when discussing shrinkage, the properties of viscose and rayon are generally comparable. Both fabrics have the potential to shrink when exposed to heat, moisture, or aggressive washing techniques.

Does Viscose Shrink More Than Cotton?

Cotton and viscose have different shrinkage properties. While both fabrics can shrink under certain conditions, cotton is generally more prone to shrinkage compared to viscose. Viscose fibers are less likely to shrink significantly when exposed to the same conditions as cotton. However, following the care instructions for your specific garment is essential to ensure proper maintenance.

Does Viscose Shrink at 40 Degrees?

Viscose fabric can experience shrinkage at temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). To minimize shrinkage, it is advisable to wash viscose garments in cooler water temperatures and follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Does Viscose Shrink When Dry Cleaned?

Viscose fabric can shrink when dry-cleaned, especially if the garment is exposed to high temperatures or mechanical agitation during cleaning. It is crucial to inform the dry cleaner about the fabric’s delicate nature and request gentle handling to reduce the risk of shrinkage.

Does Viscose Shrink Like Cotton?

Viscose and cotton differ in their shrinkage tendencies. While cotton is more prone to shrinkage, viscose has a lower propensity to shrink significantly. However, both fabrics can experience shrinkage when exposed to unfavorable conditions, such as high temperatures, excessive agitation, or improper washing techniques.


In conclusion, viscose fabric, known as rayon, can shrink under specific conditions. Heat, moisture, and agitation are key factors that can contribute to the shrinkage of viscose garments. While it is challenging to prevent shrinkage completely, following proper care instructions, washing garments in suitable conditions, and air drying or using low-heat settings can help minimize the risk. Always remember to carefully handle your viscose garments to maintain their shape and size.


Can I prevent viscose from shrinking?

While it is difficult to entirely prevent viscose from shrinking, you can minimize the risk by following the care instructions, using gentle washing cycles, and avoiding high heat settings when drying.

Is it safe to wash viscose in hot water?

It is generally recommended to wash viscose garments in cold or lukewarm water to prevent shrinkage. Hot water can cause the fibers to contract and result in shrinkage.

Can I stretch out shrunken viscose fabric?

Once viscose fabric has shrunk, restoring it to its original size is challenging. However, you can try stretching it gently while damp and then air drying it to see if it regains some of its original shapes.

What is the best way to care for viscose garments?

To care for viscose garments, follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. Generally, it is advisable to wash them in cold water, uses mild detergents, avoid high heat when drying, and refrain from excessive agitation.

Are there any alternatives to viscose fabric?

Yes, there are alternatives to viscose fabric, such as cotton, linen, bamboo, and Tencel. These fabrics offer similar properties and may be suitable options depending on your preferences and needs.

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