Does Viscose Shrink when Washed – Do’s and Don’ts

Embarking on the laundry journey with your favorite viscose garments can be an unpredictable adventure. As you toss them into the washing machine, a wave of uncertainty might wash over you, leaving a crucial question lingering: does viscose shrink when washed? It’s a concern that echoes in the minds of many who cherish their soft, breathable wardrobe essentials.

Picture the anticipation as your favorite blouse swirls in soapy waters. Will it emerge unscathed or succumb to the infamous laundry shrinkage? Join us as we unravel the mysteries of viscose care, navigating the delicate balance between pristine preservation and the inevitable cycles of the wash.

Key Takeaways

  • Viscose can shrink when washed due to its natural fibers’ ability to absorb water and contract during the drying process.
  • To prevent shrinkage, follow care instructions on the clothing label, using cold water, a gentle cycle, and opting for air-drying or low-heat drying.
  • Handle viscose garments with care to maintain their softness and fit, avoiding excessive heat and agitation during the washing process.

Properties of Viscose

Viscose is a versatile and widely used material, known for its unique set of properties that make it suitable for various applications.

1. Absorbency: One of the key characteristics of viscose is its high absorbency. Due to its cellulosic nature, it can absorb moisture easily, making it comfortable to wear in warm weather.

2. Softness: Viscose fibers are inherently soft, providing a luxurious feel to fabrics made from them. This makes it a popular choice for clothing, especially in the production of comfortable and cozy garments.

3. Drapability: Another noteworthy property is its excellent drapability. Fabrics made from viscose flow smoothly and drape well, giving them an elegant appearance. This property makes it a favored choice for garments with a fluid and graceful design.

4. Breathability: Viscose is a breathable material, allowing air to pass through easily. This makes it suitable for summer clothing, ensuring comfort by preventing the accumulation of heat and sweat.

5. Versatility: Its adaptability is a significant advantage. Viscose can be blended with other fibers like cotton or polyester to enhance specific properties. This versatility makes it suitable for a wide range of products, from clothing to household textiles.

6. Durability: While viscose is generally not as durable as some synthetic fibers, its strength is suitable for many applications. Proper care and maintenance can extend the lifespan of viscose products.

7. Environmental Impact: Although viscose is derived from natural sources like wood pulp, the manufacturing process involves chemicals. It’s essential to consider the environmental impact, as some methods can be less eco-friendly. Look for sustainably produced viscose to minimize environmental concerns.

In summary, viscose offers a combination of absorbency, softness, drapability, breathability, versatility, and reasonable durability, making it a popular choice for a variety of textiles. Understanding these properties helps consumers make informed choices when selecting products made from viscose.

Does Viscose Shrink When Washed - Expert Insights

Does Viscose Shrink When Washed?

The answer is yes, viscose can shrink when washed. This is primarily due to the fabric’s natural fibers and the way they respond to moisture. Viscose fibers tend to absorb water easily, leading to swelling. When the fabric dries, the fibers may contract, causing the garment to shrink.

To minimize the risk of shrinkage, it is recommended to follow the care instructions on the clothing label, such as using cold water, gentle cycle, and air-drying or low-heat drying. Keep in mind that excessive heat and agitation during washing can contribute to shrinkage. It’s essential to handle viscose garments with care to preserve their quality and fit over time.

Does Viscose Shrink When Washed

Does Viscose Shrink Every Time You Wash It?

The answer to this question depends on various factors, including the quality of the fabric and the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. In general, viscose can shrink when exposed to moisture and heat during washing. This is because the fibers may tighten and contract under these conditions.

To minimize the risk of shrinkage, it is essential to follow the recommended washing instructions on the garment’s care label. Typically, gentle machine washing in cold water and air-drying are recommended for most viscose items.

Avoiding hot water and high heat from tumble drying helps preserve the fabric’s integrity and prevents excessive shrinkage. While viscose shrinkage may occur, proper care can significantly reduce its impact, allowing you to enjoy the comfort and durability of your viscose garments for a longer time.

Does Viscose Fabric Shrink in Dryer?

It’s essential to note that viscose has a tendency to shrink under certain conditions, and the dryer can be a culprit in this scenario.

Viscose fibers are made from wood pulp, which undergoes chemical processing to create the fabric. This process leaves the fibers more susceptible to changes in moisture and heat. When exposed to high temperatures, such as those found in a dryer, the moisture-absorbing properties of viscose can lead to the fabric contracting and, consequently, shrinking.

To prevent shrinkage, it is advisable to air-dry viscose garments. Lay them flat on a clean, dry surface, allowing them to dry naturally. If a dryer must be used, it is crucial to set it on a low heat or delicate cycle. Avoid high heat settings, as they can cause the fabric to shrink. Always check the care label on your garments for specific instructions, as some viscose blends may have different care requirements.

How Much Does Viscose Fabric Shrink?

Viscose fabric, a popular choice for clothing and textiles, undergoes a certain degree of shrinkage when subjected to washing and drying. When washed in hot water on normal settings and machine-dried, 100% viscose can experience a significant shrinkage, with the potential to reduce in size by up to 25% in the first wash. However, it’s more common to observe a more moderate shrinkage ranging between 3-5%. The extent of shrinkage is influenced by a couple of key factors.

Firstly, the percentage of viscose in a blended material plays a crucial role. Fabrics often consist of a blend of fibers, and the higher the percentage of viscose, the more susceptible the material is to shrinking. Additionally, whether the material was pre-shrunk by the fabricator is another determinant. If the fabric has undergone pre-shrinking processes during manufacturing, it is less likely to shrink significantly during subsequent washes.

In summary, when caring for your viscose garments, it’s essential to consider the composition of the fabric and whether any pre-shrinking measures have been taken. Following care instructions and using cooler water and air-drying methods can help mitigate excessive shrinkage, ensuring the longevity of your viscose items.

Factors that Can Affect Viscose Shrinkage

Several factors contribute to viscose shrinkage, and understanding them is crucial for proper care.

1. Temperature and Water

High temperatures and excessive water exposure can lead to viscose shrinkage. When subjected to hot water or high drying temperatures, the fibers can contract. It is advisable to wash viscose items in cold water and air-dry them to prevent unnecessary shrinkage.

2. Mechanical Agitation

Excessive mechanical agitation during washing or drying processes can cause friction between the fibers, leading to shrinkage. Using a gentle cycle in the washing machine and avoiding vigorous drying methods, such as wringing, helps maintain the fabric’s integrity.

3. Chemical Exposure

Harsh chemicals, such as bleach, can break down the structure of viscose fibers and contribute to shrinkage. It’s crucial to avoid using bleach when cleaning viscose garments. Instead, opt for mild, gentle detergents to preserve the fabric.

4. Improper Sizing

When purchasing viscose clothing, ensuring the right size is essential. Wearing garments that are too tight can lead to additional stress on the fibers, making them more prone to shrinkage. Choose sizes that provide a comfortable fit to minimize this risk.

If interested you can read about whether or not you can dye silk and different textures of silk.

5. Quality of Viscose

The quality of the viscose itself plays a role in how much it may shrink. Higher-quality viscose, often derived from well-processed wood pulp, tends to be more resistant to shrinkage. Check the garment label for information on the viscose’s quality.

6. Initial Fabric Treatment

The way the fabric is treated during manufacturing can influence its shrinkage behavior. Some viscose garments undergo pre-shrinking treatments, which reduces the likelihood of further shrinkage during regular washing. Look for such details in the product description or care labels.

How to Wash and Dry Viscose?

Follow these steps to wash and dry viscose garments effectively:

  1. Check the Care Label:
    • Before washing, examine the care label on the garment for specific instructions.
    • Look for any recommended water temperature or special care guidelines.
  2. Separate Colors:
    • Sort your viscose items by color to prevent potential color bleeding.
    • Wash light and dark colors separately to avoid color transfer.
  3. Pre-Treat Stains:
    • If there are any stains, pre-treat them with a gentle stain remover or a mild detergent.
    • Avoid harsh chemicals that can damage the fabric.
  4. Use a Mild Detergent:
    • Select a gentle, pH-neutral detergent suitable for delicate fabrics.
    • Harsh detergents can weaken the fibers, so choose one specifically designed for delicate clothing.
  5. Hand Wash or Gentle Cycle:
    • Hand washing is preferable for viscose, but if using a machine, opt for the gentle cycle.
    • Use cold water to prevent shrinkage and damage to the fabric.
  6. Avoid Agitation:
    • Gently agitate the water by hand or use the machine’s delicate setting.
    • Avoid vigorous rubbing or wringing to prevent stretching and distortion.
  7. Rinse Thoroughly:
    • Rinse the viscose garment thoroughly to remove all detergent residues.
    • Use cool water during rinsing to maintain the fabric’s integrity.
  8. Lay Flat to Dry:
    • Lay the viscose garment flat on a clean, dry towel or a mesh drying rack. Avoid hanging it as the weight of the water can distort the shape of the fabric.
  9. Shape to Original Size:
    • Gently stretch and shape the garment to its original size while it’s drying. This helps prevent any shrinkage that may occur during the drying process.
  10. Avoid Direct Sunlight:
    • Place the garment in a shaded area to dry. Direct sunlight can cause fading and damage to the delicate viscose fibers over time.
  11. Flip Occasionally:
    • Flip the garment occasionally to ensure even drying on both sides. This is especially important for thicker garments.
  12. Air Circulation:
    • Ensure good air circulation around the drying viscose item. This helps speed up the drying process and prevents the growth of mildew.
  13. Check Dryness:
    • Touch the fabric periodically to check for dryness. Once it’s completely dry, remove it from the drying surface.
  14. Iron with Caution:
    • If ironing is necessary, use a low heat setting or the silk/low temperature setting on your iron.
    • Place a thin cloth or pressing cloth between the iron and the fabric to prevent direct contact.

Do’s and Don’ts of Viscose Fabric

Viscose fabric, known for its soft and breathable nature, requires specific care to maintain its quality and longevity. Here’s a guide to the best practices and common mistakes when handling viscose:

Do hand wash viscose garments.Don’t machine wash viscose frequently.
Do use a mild detergent.Don’t use harsh chemicals or bleach.
Do check the care label.Don’t ignore care instructions.
Do dry flat to avoid stretching.Don’t hang viscose items, as they may sag.
Do store in a cool, dry place.Don’t expose to direct sunlight for long.

Remember, adhering to these recommendations ensures your viscose garments remain comfortable and maintain their vibrant appearance.

How to Take Care of Viscose?

Viscose is a popular fabric known for its softness and breathability. To ensure your viscose garments stay in good condition, follow these care tips:

  • Hand Wash Preferred: Hand wash viscose clothing in cold water using a mild detergent. This gentle method helps prevent excessive wear and tear.
  • Avoid Aggressive Washing: Machine washing can damage viscose fibers. If machine washing is necessary, use a delicate cycle with a low spin speed to minimize stress on the fabric.
  • Mind the Water Temperature: Always use cold water for washing viscose. Hot water can cause the fabric to shrink or lose its shape.
  • Gentle Detergents: Choose a mild detergent without bleach or harsh chemicals. Harsh detergents can weaken the fibers and lead to color fading.
  • Handle with Care: Be gentle when washing and handling viscose garments. Aggressive rubbing or wringing can cause stretching and damage.
  • Air Dry Flat: Instead of using a dryer, air dry your viscose clothing by laying it flat on a clean, dry towel. This helps maintain its shape and prevents stretching.
  • Avoid Sun Exposure: Extended exposure to direct sunlight can lead to color fading. Dry your viscose garments in the shade or indoors to preserve their vibrant colors.
  • Steam Ironing: If ironing is necessary, use a steam iron on a low setting. Ironing at high temperatures can scorch and damage the fabric.
  • Store Carefully: Hang your viscose garments on padded hangers to prevent stretching. If folding, use tissue paper to minimize wrinkles and creases.

Remember, proper care extends the life of your viscose clothing, keeping them looking fresh and vibrant for a longer time.


In conclusion, understanding how viscose behaves during washing is crucial for preserving its integrity and fit. While viscose is known for its softness and comfort, it can be sensitive to certain washing methods. By following the recommended care instructions and employing gentle washing techniques, you can enjoy your viscose garments for years to come.

Remember, a little extra care goes a long way in maintaining the quality and longevity of your favorite viscose pieces. With the insights shared in this guide, you’re well-equipped to ensure that your viscose fabrics stay vibrant, comfortable, and beautiful after every wash.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Can Viscose Be Mixed With Other Fabrics When Washed?

When washing viscose, it is generally recommended to avoid mixing it with cotton or other fabrics that may shrink. Proper care for viscose includes hand washing or using a delicate cycle and avoiding high heat drying.

What Are the Best Laundry Detergents to Use When Washing Viscose?

When washing viscose, it is advisable to use laundry detergents that are specifically formulated for delicate fabrics. These detergents should have gentle cleaning agents and low pH levels to minimize the risk of shrinkage and damage to the fabric.

Does the Water Temperature Affect the Shrinkage of Viscose?

The effect of hot water on viscose shrinkage is a topic of interest. Research comparing shrinkage in cold and hot water can provide valuable insights into the factors that influence the dimensional changes in viscose fabric during washing.

Can Viscose Garments Be Tumble Dried?

Viscose garments can be air dried to avoid potential shrinkage. However, tumble drying viscose garments may offer benefits such as faster drying time and reduced wrinkling, but it also increases the risk of shrinkage.

Are There Any Special Care Instructions for Ironing Viscose Garments?

Ironing viscose garments requires special care to prevent wrinkles. Various techniques, such as using a low heat setting and steam, can be employed. Following these instructions will ensure the maintenance of garment quality and appearance.

How many sizes does viscose shrink?

The extent to which viscose shrinks varies based on the fabric composition. Clothing items with a higher percentage of viscose are more prone to shrinking. For instance, if the fabric is 100% viscose, it could shrink up to 25% when subjected to a hot wash.

What happens if you machine wash viscose?

Similar to silk, machine washing viscose is not recommended as the material may get damaged due to twisting in the machine. Avoid prolonged soaking of viscose fabric in water, and keep it away from high heat or warm water to prevent shrinkage.

Can you put viscose in the dryer?

To maintain its original shape, it is advisable not to use a dryer for viscose garments. Instead, allow the viscose garment to air dry either flat or on a hanger. Prior to drying, it can be gently wrung with a towel, but excessive wringing and twisting should be avoided, as viscose can be damaged.

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