Will Polyester Fleece Shrink? (Sweater, Jackets, and Winterwear)

Polyester fleece is a popular fabric for sweaters, jackets, and other winterwear. It is soft, warm, and relatively inexpensive.

But one question often arises is whether or not polyester fleece will shrink in the wash. The answer is no unless you wash it in hot water or put it in the dryer on high heat.

polyester fleece

In this blog post, we will answer that question once and for all!

About Polyester Fleece

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Polyester fleece fabric. Credit: canva

Polyester is a synthetic fabric made from petroleum-based products. It’s often used in sportswear and outerwear because it’s lightweight, durable, and easy to care for.

Fleece is a synthetic insulating fabric made from polyester polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or other synthetic fibers.

Polyester fleece is a polyester fabric with a fuzzy surface resembling sheep’s wool.

It is very comfortable due to its lightweight and anti-perspiration qualities and allows moisture to evaporate while blocking the humidity outside.

It’s often used to make sweaters, jackets, and hats because it’s warm and cozy. 

Will Polyester Fleece Shrink?

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Colorful fleece. Credit: canva

The answer is no if you treat it properly.

Turns out, polyester fleece *will* shrink—but only if you wash it in hot water or put it in the dryer on high heat.

If you wash it in cold water and air dry it, it should stay the same size. 

What Makes It Shrinking?

It shrinks because the fabric is heat-sensitive, which can be easily damaged by heat. High temperatures can cause it to melt, shrink, or deform.

The fabric fibers are spun and stretched into threads before being woven into cloth. The tension is released when this cloth is exposed to high heat, and the fibers snap back into their shorter, original length.

How much will polyester shrink?

Polyester will shrink if it is subjected to heat. The shrinkage will depend on the type of fabric, the temperature, and the time under heat.

Generally speaking, it will shrink between 2% and 5%. However, some fabrics may shrink up to 10%. 

How to Wash to Avoid Shrinking

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Air-drying fleece jackets. Credit: canva
  • Wash it in cold water with a mild detergent on a delicate or gentle cycle.
  • Avoid using fabric softener as it can also damage the fibers.
  • Allow it to air dry, away from direct heat or sunlight. 
  • If you need to use the dryer, set it on a low heat setting. 
  • It’s also important to always read the care label before washing any clothing item.

Following these tips will ensure that your polyester fleece stays in good shape and doesn’t shrink in the wash.

Pros and Cons


  • One of the main advantages is its low maintenance and easy care.
  • It’s also a durable fabric that can withstand everyday wear and tear.


  • However, one downside is that it doesn’t have the same breathability as natural fibers like cotton or wool.
  • It also doesn’t insulate when wet, so it’s important to avoid washing in hot water or using high heat in the dryer.

Overall, if you treat it properly and follow the care instructions, polyester fleece is a great choice for cozy winter clothing.


Is polyester fleece stretchy?

Yes, it is stretchy. It’s made of synthetic fibers, often stretchier than natural fibers.

That’s why it is popular for jackets, pants, and other clothing items that need to be stretchy and warm.

Can you put polyester fleece in the dryer?

Yes, you can put it in the dryer. However, you should tumble dry it on low heat or no heat to prevent shrinking and fading.

How do you shrink a 100% polyester fleece jacket?

You can do a few things to shrink it.

You can either machine wash it in hot water and then tumble dry it on high heat or put it in the dryer with a wet towel. The damp towel will create steam and help to shrink the jacket.

Will Polyester Fleece Shrink In The Dryer?

Yes, polyester fleece will shrink in the dryer. The good news is that it typically shrinks only a tiny amount, and most people find that it still fits comfortably after shrinking.

I recommend air-drying the fabric instead of putting it in the dryer to prevent shrinkage. If you must use the dryer, I suggest using a low heat setting and frequently checking to ensure the fabric doesn’t become too hot.

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