How to Shrink Nylon? 5 Methods That Actually Work.

women holding shrunken nylon t-shirt

Did you recently purchase nylon garments without trial and notice they are oversized than required? Expecting them to shrink after a wash is futile. 

Pure nylon is resistant to shrinking and won’t shrink. However, nylon garments with a blend of other materials, such as cotton, linen, rayon, spandex, or wool, will shrink by some percentage.

A forceful attempt to shrink pure cotton garments may lead to stretching them randomly and deforming them. However, it’s not true that you cannot shrink pure nylon garments. You can shrink them by hemming them to bring them to the appropriate size.

Does Nylon Shrink?

Nylon is a synthetic fiber known for its excellent elasticity and resistance to shrinking. Under normal circumstances, nylon fabric does not shrink when exposed to water or heat. This property helps nylon garments retain shape and size during washing and drying.

However, extreme heat and agitation can cause some degree of shrinkage in garments with a mix of nylon and other materials. High temperatures, such as those in a dryer set to a high heat setting, can cause the fibers to contract and result in minor shrinkage.

How to Shrink Nylon?

Sometimes a slight shrinkage is necessary when achieving the perfect fit for your nylon garments. We’ve tried many ways to shrink nylon and developed seven proven methods.

1. Shrink Nylon in the Washing Machine and Dryer

Do you know manufacturers shrink most garments before they hit the stores? Stretching occurs in synthetic fibers during manufacturing or if worn over a long period of time. However, they may return to their original size due to the hot water and turbulence in the washing machine.

The following DIY method helps you shrink nylon. Keep half a cup of ammonia and the washing machine ready.

  1. Toss your nylon garment in the washing machine.
  2. Set the washing machine on a long wash cycle at the hottest temperature.
  3. Add ammonia to the washing machine.
  4. Let the washing machine run at the hottest water temperature.
  5. Transfer the garment from the washing machine to the tumble dryer.
  6. Allow the garment to dry for at least 25 minutes by setting the dryer cycle to medium heat.
  7. Remove the garment from the dryer.
  8. Lay them on a flat surface for air drying.

Do not set the dryer to the hottest temperature. It will result in the melting of the nylon.

washing machine and dryer in bathroom

2. Shrink Nylon Using the Iron Method

The heat from steam ironing helps shrink garments made of nylon and polyester. It is one of the best methods to shrink overstretched clothes.

You will need an iron and an ironing board to proceed with this method.

Here are a few steps to achieve shrinkage:

  1. Fill the iron with cold water.
  2. Set the iron to steam. 
  3. Move the iron over the garment with a space allowing steam to pass on to the fabric.
  4. Avoid touching the iron to the garment. The steam alone plays its part very well.
  5. Allow the garment to lay flat and air-dry.

Don’t iron rayon. It may develop water spots on the surface of the cloth. Also, avoid ironing polyester on the hottest setting, as it may melt the garment. Therefore, merely hovering the iron on the garment is the safest way to shrink nylon with the iron method.

iron clothes

3. Shrink Nylon Using the Hemming Method

Use this method on a garment made of pure nylon. You will need the following:

  1. Fabric Pencil
  2. Fabric Scissors
  3. Sewing Machine
  4. Lightweight Nylon Thread

 Follow the instructions given below:

  1. Determine the Desired Length: Measure and mark the length you want the nylon fabric to be after shrinking.
  2. Pin the Hem: Fold the fabric to the marked length and secure it with pins.
  3. Sew the New Hem: Using a sewing machine or needle and thread, sew a new hem along the folded edge to secure the stitches properly.
  4. Trim Excess Fabric: Trim any excess fabric below the new hemline, if necessary.
  5. Test and Adjust: After completing the hemming, check the length of the fabric to see if it has shrunk to the desired size. If further shrinking is desired, repeat the process.
man sewing clothes

4. Soak Overnight in Hot Water

This method requires you to soak your nylon garment in hot water for at least six hours. Soaking overnight is essential before you wash and rinse the garment. Ensure the water is pretty hot and allow the garment to soak.

You need to take care of a few things. Do not wring the water out of the garments. Let them air dry after soaking. 

Take extra care with garments with bright colors. They might fade after an overnight soak in hot water. You can save the color by shortening the soaking time and adding half-cup ammonia.

soak clothes in water

5. Shrink Nylon Using Ice Water (Temporarily)

Shrinking nylon using ice water is a technique that can temporarily alter the dimensions of the fabric. When exposed to extremely cold temperatures, nylon can contract and appear smaller. This effect is mainly due to the thermal properties of nylon, which can cause the fibers to tighten and reduce in length temporarily. However, after wearing it on your body, the heat from your body causes the nylon garments to expand again.

ice water

Tips and Considerations To Shrink Nylon

  1. Read the care label: Before attempting to shrink nylon clothing, carefully read the care label to ensure that the fabric is suitable for shrinking. Some nylon garments may have specific instructions to prevent shrinkage, so it’s important to follow them.
  2. Test a small area: Before shrinking the entire garment, test a small, inconspicuous area to determine the shrinkage level and avoid potential damage. This will help you gauge the effectiveness of the shrinking process and adjust accordingly.
  3. Gradual shrinking: We recommended gradually shrinking nylon clothing to minimize the risk. Avoid exposing the garment to extreme temperatures or rapid changes in temperature, as this can cause the fabric to warp or lose its shape.
  4. Monitor the process: Keep a close eye on the shrinking process to ensure the garment doesn’t shrink too much or become distorted. Regularly check the garment’s size and shape as it shrinks.
  5. Stretching and reshaping: Nylon clothing may appear wrinkled or slightly misshapen after shrinking. Gently stretch and reshape the garment while it’s damp to restore its original form. Avoid pulling or tugging forcefully, as this can damage the fabric.
  6. Post-shrinking care: Once the nylon clothing has been shrunk, follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. Avoid subjecting the garment to excessive heat or agitation during washing and drying to prevent further shrinkage.
  7. Consider professional alterations: If you’re uncertain about shrinking nylon clothing on your own or if the garment requires significant alterations, it may be wise to consult a professional tailor or alterations specialist. They can guide and ensure the garment is properly resized without compromising its quality.

Related: How to Wash Nylon Clothes?

How Much Does Nylon Shrink?

Nylon is known to have limited shrinkage compared to some other fabrics. On average, nylon fabric may shrink up to 5% in length and 3% in width when subjected to heat or hot water. In contrast, apparel blending nylon with other fabrics shrinks a lot.

Cotton shrinks to 20% if not preshrunk. But still, the preshrunk cotton fabric will shrink to some extent. A garment with a blend of nylon and cotton won’t reach its shrinkage limit of 20%, as the nylon fibers prevent it from shrinking. However, the cotton fibers in the garment are liable to shrink to a small proportion.

Rayon is another regular fabric that blends with nylon. There’s no definite percentage at which rayon shrinks. A garment with a blend of rayon and nylon in equal proportion shrinks slightly.

If the fabric has more rayon material than nylon, shrinkage may occur more after every wash. However, it will not exceed the shrinkage proportion if compared to a fabric made of only rayon. 

If the percentage of nylon is higher than that of rayon in a garment, the shrinkage will be very poor, almost negligible.

Do Nylon and Polyester Shrink?

The shrinkage behavior of a nylon-polyester blend can depend on the specific blend ratio and the manufacturing process. In some cases, the presence of nylon in the blend can contribute to slight shrinkage, but the overall shrinkage is typically lower than pure nylon. The polyester component helps to maintain the dimensional stability of the fabric.

Do Nylon and Spandex Shrink?

Nope, even this blend is resistant to shrinkage. Spandex is known for its stretch and recovery properties and is resistant to significant shrinkage. Nylon also stretches to some extent. Hence, stretching may occur in garments blended with nylon and spandex with no shrinkage.

The addition of spandex to a nylon blend can enhance the fabric’s stretch and recovery properties. While nylon itself has limited shrinkage, the presence of spandex may contribute to slight shrinkage under certain conditions. The exact degree of shrinkage can vary depending on the specific blend ratio, fabric construction, and care instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Do Cotton Nylon Blend Shrink?

Garments made with a blend of cotton and nylon will shrink more. Cotton is prone to shrinkage of up to 20% if not preshrunk. However, the shrinkage percentage depends on the amount of cotton used in the garment.

The addition of nylon to a cotton blend can enhance the fabric’s strength, durability, and wrinkle resistance. While cotton itself has a higher tendency to shrink, the presence of nylon in the blend may help mitigate the overall shrinkage.

Common Issues When Shrinking Nylon

Some common problems that may arise when shrinking nylon, along with tips:

  1. Insufficient shrinkage: If the nylon fabric has shrunk less than desired, there could be a few reasons. First, check if you followed the appropriate shrinking method and applied sufficient heat. Ensure you soak or expose the fabric to heat for an adequate duration. If the fabric is resistant to shrinkage, it may be a specific type of nylon blend that is less responsive. In such cases, consider consulting a professional tailor for advice.
  2. Fabric distortion or warping: If the nylon fabric becomes distorted or warped during the shrinking process, it could be due to excessive heat or rapid temperature changes. Ensure you’re using moderate heat and allowing the fabric to shrink gradually. Avoid sudden temperature fluctuations. If distortion occurs, attempt to reshape the fabric while it’s still damp, gently stretching and manipulating it to restore its original form.
  3. Over-shrinking: Overshrinking is a common problem, especially if you’re not closely monitoring the fabric during the process. To avoid over-shrinking, regularly check the fabric’s size and texture as it undergoes the shrinking method. If you notice that the fabric has reached the desired level of shrinkage, remove it from the heat source promptly. 
  4. Damage to the fabric: Overexposure to heat or aggressive shrinking techniques can potentially damage nylon fabric. Ensure you’re following the recommended heat settings, and avoid prolonged exposure to high heat. If the fabric shows signs of damage, discontinue the process and assess if professional alteration or repair is necessary.
  5. Loss of fabric integrity: Shrinking nylon fabric can sometimes lose its original strength or integrity. Use gentle shrinking techniques, avoid excessive agitation, and be mindful of the fabric’s limitations. If the fabric’s strength is significantly compromised, consider alternative methods for achieving the desired fit or consult a professional.
  • Is nylon resistant to shrinking?

    Nylon is known for its resistance to shrinking due to its synthetic nature and excellent elasticity properties. It has a low moisture absorption rate and can retain its shape even after being exposed to water or heat, making it less prone to shrinkage.

  • Can nylon go in the dryer?

    Yes, nylon can generally be safely dried in a dryer as long as the dryer settings are kept at a low or medium temperature, excessive heat exposure can damage the fabric.


Nylon is a synthetic fabric that is resistant to shrinkage. However, garments crafted with a blend of nylon with other materials such as cotton, rayon, and polyester may shrink based on the shrinkage limit of that particular fabric.

You cannot shrink pure nylon garments. And if you want to do it anyhow, you may end up ruining it by deforming it permanently. You can shrink pure nylon only by hemming, which is the safest and most appropriate way to deal with nylon shrinkage.

We discussed several ways to shrink pure and blended nylon garments. Hopefully, now you can execute the appropriate method to shrink your nylon garments and wear them to flaunt your style.