The Truth about Shrinking Spandex

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Spandex, also known as Lycra or elastane, is a popular synthetic fabric widely used in clothing due to its stretchability and form-fitting nature. However, there may be instances when you wish to shrink spandex to achieve a better fit or to restore its original shape. In this article, we will explore whether it is possible to shrink spandex and the various methods you can try.

Understanding Spandex Fabric

Before we delve into shrinking spandex, it is important to understand the nature of this fabric. Spandex is made from a combination of polyester and polyurethane fibers, which give it its elasticity and stretch. The fabric is designed to retain its shape even after repeated stretching and washing, making it ideal for activewear, swimwear, and form-fitting garments.

Is it Possible to Shrink Spandex?

While spandex is known for its ability to stretch, it is not as easy to shrink. The synthetic fibers used in spandex are heat-resistant and do not readily shrink when exposed to high temperatures. Additionally, the fabric is designed to withstand stretching without losing its shape. However, there are a few methods you can try if you want to attempt shrinking spandex.

Methods to Shrink Spandex

1. Hot Water Method: Fill a basin or sink with hot water, making sure it is not boiling. Submerge the spandex garment in the hot water for about 10-15 minutes. Remove the garment and gently squeeze out excess water. Lay it flat to dry, reshaping it if necessary. Repeat the process if you desire further shrinkage.

2. Dryer Method: Place the spandex garment in the dryer on a low heat setting. Keep a close eye on it to prevent overheating or damage. Check the garment periodically to monitor the shrinkage. Once the desired level of shrinkage is achieved, remove the garment from the dryer and let it cool down before wearing or storing.

3. Steam Method: Hang the spandex garment in a steamy bathroom or use a garment steamer to expose it to steam. The moisture and heat can help relax the fibers, allowing for slight shrinkage. Be cautious not to directly apply a hot iron to spandex, as it can melt or ruin the fabric.

4. Tailoring Method: If you need precise and significant shrinkage, it is best to consult a professional tailor. They have the expertise and equipment to alter spandex garments without compromising their quality. A tailor can take in the seams or adjust the fit according to your measurements.

Important Tips to Remember

- Always check the care label of your spandex garment before attempting to shrink it. Some spandex blends may not be suitable for certain shrinking methods.
- Test a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric before treating the entire garment to avoid any unwanted damage.
- Be aware that repeated shrinking may affect the overall longevity and elasticity of the spandex fabric.
- It is generally easier to stretch out spandex fabric than to shrink it. Therefore, if you are unsure about the desired fit, it is recommended to opt for a slightly larger size.


Shrinking spandex can be a challenging task due to its unique properties. While it is possible to achieve some level of shrinkage using hot water, a dryer, steam, or professional tailoring, it is essential to proceed with caution to avoid damaging the fabric. Remember to follow the care instructions and test any method on a small area before applying it to the entire garment. If in doubt, consult a professional tailor who can provide expert advice and assistance.

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