Spandex can stretch and snap back to its original size without any loss of elasticity. However, its elasticity can wear out over time, making it neither fashionable nor functional. I will show you simple methods to shrink your spandex clothes instead of throwing them away.
Methods to Shrink Spandex
Spandex clothes are either 100% pure or mostly blended with other natural and synthetic fibers, like cotton and polyester. These blended clothes, especially cotton, shrink way better than those made of 100% spandex. The following are easy steps to shrink spandex at home:
Method 1 — The Washer
Using the washing machine is one way to shrink spandex. Although spandex won’t shrink when you wash it normally, high temperatures (just above 180°f) can yield the desired results. The steps to shrink spandex with a washer are as follows:
- Turn on your washing machine, and ensure that it is on the highest available heat.
- Read the clothing care label carefully, paying attention to the other fabrics listed. These other fabrics may be affected if you attempt to shrink spandex.
- Turn your clothes inside out before washing them in hot water. Hot water can fade color, so doing this can help to lessen this effect.
- Place your clothes in the washing machine and allow it to run its circle process. You do not need to use detergent, but unless you want to clean the clothes, use a mild homemade detergent.
- Rinse in hot water. A combination of hot water wash and rinse on a high heat setting can effectively shrink some spandex clothes.
Method 2 — The Dryer
Drying your spandex clothes in the drying machine can shrink the clothing further. Spandex needs high temperatures to shrink, so combining both steps will make the shrinking more effective. The only issue with putting spandex in the dryer is that the fabric’s fiber may weaken and break.
The steps to use shrink spandex with a dryer are as follows:
- Remove your clothes from the washing machine and squeeze the excess water.
- Set your dryer to a higher temperature.
- Use a pillowcase to contain your spandex clothes before putting them into the dryer. Tie a knot in the tip of the pillowcase to prevent your clothes from coming out. This step is to help protect your clothes from the direct and intense heat.
- Flip your clothing inside out to avoid damaging the surface.
- Do not let your clothes spend too much time in the dryer.
- Remove clothes 10-15 mins after the drying circle so they cool and you don’t burn yourself.
- Try it on to see if it is the desired size.
Method 3 — Hot Water Bath
Soaking your spandex clothes in hot water would also shrink them. However, this method works best for spandex clothes blended with cotton. The steps to shrink spandex with this method are as follows:
- Find a big bowl or tub containing your clothes and fill it with hot water over 180°f.
- Turn your clothes inside out before placing them in hot water to avoid color fade.
- Alternatively, you can boil water in a kettle, put the clothes in a bowl, and pour water over the clothes. Ensure that the clothing is completely submerged in hot water.
- Trap the heat using a lid and let your clothes soak for about 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, pour the clothes into a drain or sink, and allow them to cool down before squeezing.
- Air dry, or use the dryer for a more effective result.
Method 4 — Boiling water
Placing spandex in boiling water is also a very effective way to shrink it. However, this method works perfectly for spandex material blended with polyester. It is especially more effective if the polyester fiber is more than the spandex.
The following are steps to shrink spandex with boiling water:
- Fill a large pot with water. Enough water to cover your clothes.
- Place it on your burner and allow it to start boiling.
- Once the water starts to bubble, place your clothes turned inside out into the boiling water with wooden spoons or metal tongs.
- Ensure your clothing is evenly submerged before covering the pot with a lid.
- Let it stay for a few minutes on the burner before turning it off.
- Bring the pot down and allow the clothes to soak in the water for 15-20 minutes before opening the lid.
- Pour out its contents inside a sink and allow it to cool down before touching it.
- Squeeze and place in the dryer. The dryer provides the clothes with heat and friction, making the shrinking process even more effective.
Method 5 — Tailoring
A tailor can shrink your spandex clothes if the other methods fail. This method is great because you won’t have to bother about faded or weakened clothes. Also, it will give you a perfect fitting, unlike the uneven results you might get when you use heat-shrinking methods.
Read more: Cotton vs. Polyester: Differences.