Does Viscose Fabric Shrink? – (in Washing, Drying, Ironing)

Last Updated on February 26, 2023

Does viscose fabric shrink after washing? Viscose items are pretty common in the wardrobe of women, men, and children of all ages. However, owners of viscose clothing may encounter such a nuisance as shrinkage. Because of this, after the first trouble, many no longer want to buy such products. 

Furthermore, the material is ideal for underwear, curtains, and other home textiles. It has few competitors in terms of tactile sensations and respect for the skin. 

Moreover, there are many nuances in whether viscose clothes shrink after hand or machine washing. Today we will try to disclose this question’s answer in this writing.

What is Viscose Fabric?

Viscose should not be considered synthetic. Although it is produced artificially, the material consists of natural fiber (cellulose). Therefore, it requires attention no less than wool or silk. Most often, the question is whether viscose shrinks when washed, whether it can stretch, and how to cope with deformation. Industrial post-processing of the material significantly reduces such manifestations but does not eliminate them.

Viscose Fabric

Moreover, viscose is produced by processing natural cellulose. It can be part of blended fabrics. The fabric is not resistant to creasing; it also loses strength when wet. Viscose items are mostly light and wearable, requiring regular washing. If handled incorrectly, they are easily deformed. And when washed in hot water, they shrink.

How to Decide That the Fabric is Made of Viscose?

The modern textile industry offers a wide range of natural and synthetic fabrics. Sometimes even an experienced sewist may find it challenging to determine what fibers a particular material is made of. To find out what viscose is in front of you, use the following simple methods:

  • Visual definition: Viscose fabric is solid and dense, with a smooth, shiny, or matte surface. The material feels cool to the touch, like silk.
  • Crease test: You must tightly squeeze the cloth in your hand for about 30 seconds, then release and smooth it with the palm of your hand. Next, it is necessary to assess the degree of deformation of the fabric and the resulting folds.
  • Trial by fire: It is necessary to take a small piece of cloth, set fire to its edge, and watch the flame. Viscose is made from wood pulp, so when it is burned, it will have a steady fire flame and smell like burned paper. The charred fibers of the viscose fabric should crumble at the slightest touch. The material burns quickly in an open flame and when removed from it.

Basic Production Technology

Manufacturing viscose fiber involves several steps, making it lengthy and complex. The transformation of wood into a soft, durable fabric using basic technology is as follows:

  • The crushed wood is thoroughly boiled in vats with calcium hydrosulfite salt to produce cellulose.
  • The resulting mass is evaporated to 6-8% humidity. After that, to remove various impurities, the raw material is treated with a sodium hydroxide solution at 45°C temperature. Due to this operation, alkaline cellulose is obtained.
  • For the molecular weight of the original cellulose to go down, the mass needs to mature.
  • After maturation, the raw material is treated with carbon disulfide, resulting in xanthogenate. Then an alkaline solution is added to the mixture and thoroughly mixed. The result is viscose with 86% water content.
  • For final maturation, the solution is kept for several days. At this stage, the viscosity of the raw material mass increases significantly.
  • Viscose fiber is obtained by the wet method, passing the resulting mass through spinners into a special precipitation tank with acid solutions.
  • Finally, a viscose thread or a short staple cloth is pulled from the prepared mass.

We have considered the traditional way of producing viscose. However, there are other technologies for obtaining this material that is not yet widely used due to the complexity of the process.

Other Methods of Making Viscose

Viscose fiber can also be obtained by dissolving cellulose in N-methyl-morpholine-N-oxide (NMMO). In 1992, the British company Courtaulds first produced viscose using this technology on an industrial scale. They had 18,000 tons of viscose fiber. Manufacturing using NMMO technology is carried out in several stages:

  • Preparation of pulp (grinding and obtaining pulp or powder)
  • Introduction of Methylmorpholinoxide (MMO) into the feed mass
  • Mixing of components in the extruder with a mass reduction to 100°C
  • Supply of prepared raw materials to precipitation tanks, followed by painting and drying of viscose fiber.

This method of making viscose has its benefits as well as its drawbacks. In particular, the benefits include:

  1. Increased strength characteristics in the wet state.
  2. Compatible with almost all synthetic and natural fibers.
  3. Good and stable stainability, acquisition of an extraordinary gloss.
  4. Production technology is characterized by environmental safety.
  5. Strength of the BB-based fabric.
  6. Pleasant tactile sensations from contact with the fabric.

The disadvantages are- increased fibrillation of fibers, high cost of a production license, and the final product.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Viscose has a lot of advantages, which is confirmed by the incredible popularity and broad application areas of the cloth from this fiber. The indisputable benefits of viscose fabric include the following:

  • Soft, pleasant tactile sensations in direct contact with the body.
  • Aesthetics.
  • Resistance to UV rays.
  • Easy staining.
  • Lightweight. The material is about 2-times lighter than silk.
  • Good thermoregulation.
  • Hygroscopicity.
  • Ability to pass air (breathe).
  • Antistatic and hypoallergenic.
  • Environmental safety.

However, despite a large number of advantages, viscose also has a certain number of disadvantages, namely:

  • The material requires special care;
  • Increased credibility;
  • Poor tolerance to high temperatures;
  • Possible shrinkage of the material;
  • Deformation and loss of strength in the wet state.

Types of Viscose Fabrics

The modern industry offers consumers several viscose fabrics, each of which has unique properties, determining the scope of application.

  • Modal: A fabric wholly made from wood pulp is similar in its properties to cotton but has some differences: increased strength, hygroscopicity, and wear resistance. When combined with the latter, it is used for sewing bed linen or clothing.
  • Tencel: Viscose uses cellulose derived from eucalyptus trees for its production. The result is a soft material that, despite its similarity to cotton, has increased strength and hygroscopicity and is not subject to deformation. It is used to produce clothing, underwear, and home textiles.
  • Acetate: For manufacturing this variation, waste from the pulp industry is used. The result of production is a fabric similar to silk, thin and with a slight gloss. The advantages include strength, a low degree of deformation, and the ability to dry quickly. The disadvantages are low hygroscopicity and instability to temperature, and aggressive liquids. It is used for making lining fabric.
  • Staple Fibre: This fiber is obtained by combining viscose with wool. It is used to produce carpets, artificial fur, and warm clothing. Besides, this joint fabric has improved thermoregulation, softness, and practicality. It does not accumulate a static charge, unlike ordinary wool.
  • Cupro: This type is the most expensive. It is made from cotton pulp dissolved in a copper-ammonia solution. In appearance, it most resembles silk. However, the price is high because of how the technology is used to make it. Cupro itself has high thermoregulation indicators and increased strength but requires careful care. It is used for making clothes.
  • Butter: A fabric that is made by adding polyester fibers. The result is a material that stretches well. It is used when sewing tight clothing, during the cutting of which it is possible to eliminate unnecessary tucks and folds, and the resulting items fit perfectly on the figure.
  • Sablon: This fabric is obtained from a Polynous fiber. The structure with a high modulus gives the material better mechanical and physical properties. It is only made in small amounts and is used as a technical part of the industry.

Does Viscose Fabric Shrink?

Viscose Fabric

“Does viscose shrink when washed or not” much depends on the composition. 100% cellulose fiber is now rare. To reduce the cost of the material, viscose thread is often mixed with polyester, linen, and several types of cotton may be present. In each case, the material may behave differently. Caring for a thing also has a big impact. 

We figured out that viscose shrinks when washed or deformed in another way only with an illiterate approach. If you make friends with her, the thing will delight you for many years. 

Does Viscose Shrink in the Washing Machine?

Viscose is elastic but not very elastic, as it has only 2-3% elasticity. On the other hand, if about 5% elastane is added to its composition, its elasticity will increase significantly, and it will become a fabric known as elastic viscose. This makes this stretchy fabric less dangerous to care for, so the purest viscose will be more delicate. In fact, it is an artificial fiber widely used in the textile sector and is considered a delicate fabric for washing: it can shrink in the washing machine if not washed properly.

To avoid this, it is necessary to program a special wash for delicate items, that is, at low speeds and at a low temperature.

Does Viscose Shrink in Cold Water?

What Are the Causes of Viscose Fabric Shrinkage?

Viscose fabrics with an admixture of other fibers are most susceptible to deformation. Shrinkage is more common in low-quality products. Natural viscose is a durable reinforcing additive for wool, acrylic, and polyester.

Viscose Fabric

Viscose Clothing may go down (Shrinkage) a couple of sizes if:

  • When washing and rinsing, high-temperature changes were observed
  • The product dried near heating appliances or in the sun
  • Used too hot water
  • During the spin cycle, set high speeds in the washing machine
  • The use of powders with alkali and aggressive components.
  • The product was steamed with an iron
  • Strong friction of contaminated places and twisting.

How to Fix the Viscose Fabric Shrinkage – What to Do if the Thing is Stretched After Washing?

If you wash viscose and the size of the thing noticeably decreases after washing, you can try to correct the situation. You should start by pulling out a damp thing on the surface. In case of shortening, wet the shirt or dress and hang it on a coat hanger. In limbo, try to stretch along the length.

Viscose Fabric

Even following all the recommendations and careful care did not save the thing from stretching. However, in this case, one should not despair. There are ways to stretch viscose after washing and return it to its original shape. For this, you need:

  • Re-wash the product in cool water
  • Squeeze gently
  • Place clothes on a horizontal surface
  • Gently stretch with your hands to the previous size
  • Leave to dry

If this is not enough, then wet the clothes and let the water drain. Wear wet and wear until completely dry. Hot steam will help stretch the product while simultaneously stretching it with your hands.

What Kinds of Viscose Fabric Shrink or Stretch?

When mixing viscose fibers with wool and cotton, products, on the contrary, stretch after washing. The following techniques will help reduce the size, which you should choose considering the fabrics’ exact composition.

Viscose Fabric

Combination of Viscose and Cotton

Cotton is not subject to deformation, but sometimes it does happen. Restoring the shape will help wash in hotter water than indicated on the tag, with a spin at medium speeds. In the end, the product is immersed in hot water with air conditioning for 10 minutes. Dry using a dryer, or spread out on a warm surface.

With Synthetic Additives

Clothes are washed with high water heat and spun at maximum speed. Then they are immersed in ice water for a couple of hours. At the end of the soak, gently wring out and dry.

Blended with Wool Fibers

Woolen threads are highly susceptible to stretching. To reduce things by a couple of sizes, it is washed at t = + 50-60 °. The spin is set to the position of the pointer over 500 revolutions. After removing it from the machine, wash it with cold water and dry it on a warm, horizontal surface in a straightened form.

How to Wash Viscose Correctly?

Whether viscose shrinks when washed is primarily affected by water temperature. It must never exceed 50°C. In hot water, the material will sit down.

Viscose Fabric

The easiest way to test the durability of a fabric is to wash a piece that often goes with clothing as a sample. Usually, it is attached to the label or sewn on the wrong side. If it doesn’t, then things get a little more complicated.

  • Liquid detergent
  • Capsules
  • The powder is also suitable for colored and delicate fabrics.

If there are stains on things made of viscose, then gentle means are used to remove them. Whiteness is only suitable for white fabrics, but this is not the best solution: no lemon juice, vinegar, kefir, and other “grandmother’s” methods.

Also, do not get carried away with boiling. After it, it no longer matters whether the viscose shrinks after washing since it will be impossible to return to the original size and shape anyway.

1. Handwash

Most often, things made of viscose are washed by hand. Not every wardrobe has many of them, but you don’t want to start the machine because of one blouse or dress. In addition, you can wash your hands more carefully than on the drum of a machine.

  1. Pour warm water into the basin. The temperature is around 30 ° C.
  2. Add detergent, and dissolve.
  3. Lower the thing, wet it. If you have time, then leave for 15-30 minutes. Then rub gently with your hands. Do this carefully so that things from viscose do not stretch.
  4. Slightly squeeze, do not twist.
  5. Transfer the item to another basin with clean and cool water, and rinse off the detergent.
  6. Take it out, and let the water drain. You can leave it on a hanger, but not for long, as sometimes wet viscose stretches.

Sometimes viscose is wrung out with a towel or sheet. This method is considered one of the most careful. It is necessary to lay out the thing on a thick towel, twist it into a roll, and leave it for a while to absorb the excess liquid.

2. In the Washing Machine

Of all the washing modes for viscose, silk or wool is suitable. You can set up a delicate program. It all depends on the machine itself. The temperature mustn’t be higher than 30 ° C, and the clothes spin neatly inside the drum. Sometimes the spin is turned off to prevent stretching or shrinkage.

How to wash viscose in a washing machine:

  1. It is advisable to put the item in a bag. It does not allow the clothes to stretch and protects against accidental damage. If it is not there, you should at least exclude washing and items made of coarse fabric.
  2. Add detergent to a special compartment of the machine. If capsules are used, throw them into the drum and the clothes.
  3. Turn on the recommended program, and wait until the end of the wash.
  4. After notification of the end of the wash, it is advisable to immediately remove the item from the drum so that it does not cake. Take with both hands and shake, and remove large folds.

If, after the first wash, a viscose item did not shrink, then this does not guarantee stability. It can be deformed a second time or a third time if you violate the temperature regime or select the wrong program.

3. Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaning removes dirt from clothes or accessories that you cannot wash. The following items are on sale:

  1. Spot Remover – cleaning powder removes grease, tea, and coffee traces.
  2. Dryel – dry cleaning kit copes with any dirt and has a pleasant aroma;
  3. K2 – spray for removing persistent stains;
  4. Woolite – suitable for cleaning light-colored clothes.
  5. Dry cleaning is used for the local removal of stains from products decorated with beads, sequins, and other accessories.

Washing Tips

  • Viscose fabrics are sensitive to direct contact with chemicals and household stain removers such as vinegar, ammonia, and baking soda.
  • A Viscose jersey is recommended to be washed in soft water. In addition, a few drops of ammonia, which are thoroughly mixed beforehand, will help soften it.
  • Water with the addition of a spoonful of vinegar can refresh the color and give smoothness to the fabric.
  • Things made of white viscose do not shed but are prone to staining from the sunlight. It is another argument not to dry clothes in the sun. If stains have already appeared, hydrogen peroxide or oxygen bleach containing sodium hypochlorite will help remove them.
  • Removing stains on viscose fabric with soap and vigorous rubbing is unnecessary. The structure of the fiber deteriorates from this.
  • Choose detergents that do not contain alkali and chlorine, which destroy viscose.

How to Dry Viscose Clothes?

Viscose clothes can be dried vertically but not on a line. Creases remain from it. Besides, the wet fabric is heavy. The rope bends, and the material sags unevenly and deforms. For vertical drying, it is better to use soft hangers. 

Viscose Fabric

If the thing is large, heavy, or has already stretched when wet, it is better to dry it on a horizontal surface. So that the process does not take much time, cotton blankets, bedspreads, and terry towels are usually laid from below, which absorb moisture well.

Rules for drying viscose clothes

You should place laundered items on wooden or plastic coat hangers to drain water. You should not take metal ones – they leave traces. You can lay out and smooth the product on a plane so it does not deform.

A towel or folded sheet will help to eliminate excess moisture. The blouse is placed on a towel and rolled up, slightly pressing. Thus, You can avoid deformation.

Does Viscose Shrink in the Dryer?

It can shrink if you dry it in the dryer. So, You cannot use the heated dryer and washer and dryer as well as dry wet things or under the active sun. Exposing viscose to high temperatures causes deformation and shrinkage.

Does Viscose Shrink in the Dryer

Viscose can also shrink if you don’t dry it properly. You should avoid using the dryer with this fabric as excessive heat can easily damage and wrinkle it. Therefore, at TheSewingStuffs, we recommend drying it lying down after shaking it.

To remove moisture from clothes that come out very damp when using the low spin program in the washing machine, lay them out on a surface such as a table and lightly blot them with a towel before laying them out to finish drying.

On the other hand, if water may run off when unfolding, hang the garment straight without wiping it with a towel. Also, avoid using dryers of any type, as they can cause the same damage as a dryer, and viscose fabric shrinks. For drying, products with a high content of viscose fibers should be smoothed by hand on a flat surface.


Does Viscose Shrink When Ironed?

An iron is another appliance that can shrink viscose from heat if you don’t use it properly. To prevent this from happening, iron the garment inside out: this will prevent shrinkage of the fiber, its damage, and the appearance of an unpleasant shine

In addition, in order to avoid shrinkage of the rayon fabric, set the iron to a low heating temperature and moisten the clothes before ironing; it is enough to sprinkle them lightly with water. You can also place a cotton cloth or handkerchief between the fabric and the iron to prevent possible burns or damage to the fabric.

We encourage you to read these tips on how to iron delicate clothes.

How to Iron Viscose Fabric? (Safely)

Viscose Fabric

You should iron any item of clothing or home textiles made from natural cellulose according to the following recommendations.

  • The operation is carried out exclusively from the wrong side.
  • Turn the iron on low heat.
  • Iron elements and decor on the front side through gauze.
  • Do not use a steamer and local humidification from a sprayer. Hot steam stretches clothes.
  • If moisturizing is needed, use damp gauze and iron through it.

Dry and Iron – No harm

Viscose fiber shrinks not only with improper washing but also with errors during drying and ironing. Therefore, you must handle washed viscose clothing with the same care.

It is necessary to iron viscose in the appropriate temperature regime (“Silk“). It is done exclusively from the wrong side. Otherwise, an unpleasant sheen from melted fibers forms on the surface of the matter. It is impossible to get rid of this defect.

Ironing of viscose, as already mentioned, is carried out without steaming. Spraying the fabric’s surface with water is also undesirable – this may leave stains on it. 

But it is quite easy to smooth viscose if you do not slightly dry the thing, and in the process, do not stretch the surface of the matter with an iron. Viscose clothing is classified as delicate and requires appropriate care. 

But in exchange for this, its owner will receive a long service life of such things that are pleasant to the body. And also significant savings. After all, for example, natural silk, in many respects similar in properties to viscose, is no less delicate. But its price can be several times higher.

The Sewing Stuffs Recommendations

The following tips will help keep things made of viscose in excellent condition:

  1. Sorting viscose products before washing is a prerequisite for successful processing.
  2. The best way to machine wash is with a mesh bag.
  3. For dyeing viscose, dyes intended for processing natural linen and cotton can be used.
  4. Using homemade laundry recipes is possible with reservations since using vinegar, ammonia, medical alcohol, and other substances for processing viscose is unacceptable.
  5. Placing viscose items in the washing machine drum and coarse fabrics (jeans, jackets, etc.) is unacceptable.
  6. For bleaching, you can use oxygen-containing preparations approved for washing viscose.
  7. If the percentage of viscose in the mixed material is very small, you should choose the care rules by the type of base fabric.


Viscose is a beautiful and durable material, but you must wash it in compliance with several rules. Otherwise, the thing will stretch or become smaller. It won’t be easy to return it to the reverse state. It is necessary to wash only with special gentle means.

Have you had difficulty washing viscose clothes? Share your stories in the comments, and tell your friends from social networks about this useful article.