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[Answered] Does Viscose Shrink?

Viscose is prized for its luxurious qualities and elegance comparable to silk at a more budget-friendly price. Furthermore, recent improvements in its manufacturing process have enhanced its eco-friendliness, contributing to its widespread use.

However, its tendency to shrink remains a challenge for most people. Therefore, it’s essential to handle and care for this versatile fabric with attentiveness in daily use. Now we will unveil the reasons behind viscose’s susceptibility to shrinkage and other related information.

Why Does Viscose Shrink?

  • Shrinkage Caused by Moisture

You might notice that viscose can easily get damaged and shrink during laundry. When it gets wet, the fibers lose a lot of their strength and elasticity. As it absorbs moisture in the laundry process, the fibers expand and become more tightly woven, ultimately causing the fabric to shorten in length.

  • Shrinkage Caused by Heat

Viscose products tend to shrink significantly when exposed to heat, whether it’s from a dryer or direct sunlight. This happens because the fibers get damaged and lose their original resilience, which may result in irreversible shrinkage.

How Much Will Viscose Shrink? 

Although it is difficult to give one exact figure rate of viscose products. Generally, qualified viscose products undergo pre-shrinking treatments and shrink-resistant finishes at the end of the production process, ensuring the shrinkage rate of viscose products between 3%-5%. However, without pre-shrinking treatments and shrink-resistant finishes, its shrinkage rate can escalate to between 10%-20%, and even higher if you don’t follow the instructions on the care label. 

It’s noteworthy that this rate may vary depending on the fiber type and percentage within the fabric, for example, 100% viscose has a higher shrinkage rate than 40% viscose. Therefore, it’s advisable to inquire about the fabric composition and shrinkage rate from the merchant before making a purchase. 

However, that doesn’t mean fabrics made from the same fiber have the same shrinkage rate, because many factors contribute to a fabric’s shrinkage rate. In the weaving process, the tension applied to the fiber is also a factor that affects the shrinkage rate, the greater the tension applied to the fiber, the higher the shrinkage rate of the fabric. Also, the fabric structure can cause differences in shrinkage rate. High-density fabrics shrink less than low-density fabrics and thus are less prone to size changes.

Does Viscose Shrink Every Time You Wash It?

Yes, viscose does shrink in every laundry. The shrinkage is mostly determined by the way you wash it. If you strictly follow the instructions on the care label, significant shrinkage only happens in the first few laundries, with unnoticeable shrinkages in subsequent laundering. But if you wash it improperly—like drying it in the dryer—it will shrink noticeably after every laundry.

Does Viscose Shrink in Cold Water?

No, viscose doesn’t shrink in cold water. However, that doesn’t mean you can soak viscose in water for a long time. Be careful not to wash the viscose too hard, even in cold water, as this can damage the fibers.

Does Viscose Shrink in Hot Water?

Yes, viscose shrinks in hot water. As a main contributor to shrinkage, the shrinkage caused by hot water is noticeable and irreversible.

Does Viscose Shrink in the Dryer?

Yes, viscose shrinks in the dryer. What’s more, the friction caused by tumble drying may result in pilling, given its delicate texture and relatively low durability.

How to Care for Viscose Without Shrinking? 

With so many situations listed above, you might find yourself still wondering how to care for this delicate fabric. To make care easier, it’s advisable to look for viscose that’s been pre-shrunk or treated to resist shrinkage in your purchase. These treatments make the fabric more durable and less likely to shrink. And now we’ll show you how to care for viscose below.

  • Step 1: Read the fabric’s care labels

Reading the care label is essential, as it gives instructions regarding water temperature and the appropriate washing method. By strictly following these instructions, you can prevent potential damage to the fabric.

  • Step 2: Handwash Your Viscose

For washing viscose, use cold water (< 30ºC) and a viscose-friendly detergent. Since prolonged soaking isn’t recommended for viscose, it’s advisable to handwash it promptly after soaking.

  • Step 3: Absorb Excess Water

Upon washing, promptly take out the viscose, not to soak it for too long. Gently squeeze out excess water by hand. Refrain from using the washing machine for spinning as mechanical agitation will cause shrinkage.

  • Step 4: Air Drying

Hang the flattened viscose in a cool place for natural drying. Prevent sun exposure to avoid stiffening and color fading. Remember not to the dryer.

  • Step 5: Ironing

Once the viscose has air-dried to slightly damp, lay it flat on the ironing board with its backside facing up. Opt for the lowest temperature setting or the silk mode on the iron. Press the iron evenly on the clean cloth over the viscose to prevent overheating.

How to Unshrink Viscose?

It is often impossible to completely repair a shrunken viscose once it has undergone severe shrinking. But don’t worry, lessening the fabric’s shrinkage is possible if you follow our instructions below. 

Steam Iron

Use the steam iron to heat the shrunken viscose, then carefully stretch its fibers with your hands while it’s still warm. Be cautious not to exert excessive force in one attempt, as the heating area is limited. Instead, repeat heating and stretching area by area until the entire fabric is fully stretched.

Hair Conditioner or Baby Shampoo

  • Step 1: Put a few drops of conditioner or baby shampoo in lukewarm water(< 30ºC).
  • Step 2: Submerge the shrunken viscose in the solution for no longer than 5 minutes, then rinse it thoroughly with clean water.
  • Step 3: Press the viscose dry with a towel and then gently stretch the fabric with your hands. (If necessary, heating with a streamer is acceptable when stretching the fabric.)
  • Step 4: Fix the viscose onto cardboard and allow it to set for 12 hours.

Conclusion

Whether you’re curious about the reasons behind viscose shrinkage or seeking effective remedies, this article provides detailed explanations. By understanding these factors, you can protect your beloved viscose products from damage and ensure their longevity. For any further inquiries regarding viscose shrinkage, feel free to reach out to us at Sinosilk; we’ll be more than happy to assist you.

More Resources:

What is Viscose Fabric – Source: Sinosilk

Viscose vs Silk – Source: Sinosilk

One Stop Silk Product
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