Does Lyocell Fabric Shrink? Discover the Truth

Lyocell fabric, known for its silky smooth texture and eco-friendly production process, has gained popularity in recent years as a sustainable alternative to traditional fabrics. However, one burning question remains unanswered: does Lyocell fabric shrink?

As with any type of clothing or textile material, the potential for shrinkage is a concern that can make or break a purchase decision. In this article, we will delve into some factors whether it has the tendency to shrink when subjected to certain conditions.

So if you’re someone who loves their Lyocell garments but fears the dreaded shrinking phenomenon, read on to discover the truth behind this common misconception.

Does Lyocell Fabric Shrink?

Lyocell Fabric Shrink

Lyocell, known as Tencel, is a fabric made from wood pulp, typically from eucalyptus, spruce, or pine trees. It is known for being environmentally friendly, breathable, and comfortable.

Regarding shrinkage, lyocell is generally less prone to shrinking than natural fibers like cotton and wool. However, that does not mean it is entirely shrink-proof.

The likelihood of lyocell fabric shrinking depends on several factors:

  1. Fabric Treatment: Some lyocell fabrics are pre-treated to minimize shrinkage. Always check the manufacturer’s care instructions.
  2. Washing Method: Machine washing in hot water is more likely to cause shrinkage than cold water. Hand washing lyocell fabric is typically a safer bet.
  3. Drying Method: Tumble drying at high temperatures can cause the fibers to shrink. It’s generally advised to dry lyocell fabric by laying it flat or hanging it to dry.
  4. Quality: The quality of the lyocell fabric can also impact how much it shrinks. Higher-quality lyocell is generally less likely to shrink.
  5. Blended Fabrics: Lyocell is sometimes blended with other materials like cotton, polyester, or wool. The properties of these blends can vary, so they might be more prone to shrinkage depending on the other fibers involved.

To minimize the risk of shrinkage:

  • Follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer.
  • Wash in cold water using the gentle cycle.
  • Avoid high-heat drying; opt for air-drying or tumble-drying on a low-heat setting.

If you’re concerned about potential shrinkage, it may be a good idea to do a test wash on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric or garment before washing the whole thing.

How Can I Prevent Lyocell Fabric From Shrinking When Washing And Drying?

How Can I Prevent Lyocell Fabric From Shrinking When Washing And Drying

Here are some steps you can take to prevent lyocell fabric from shrinking:

  • Cold Water: Wash lyocell fabric in cold water to prevent fibers from contracting and shrinking.
  • Gentle Cycle: Use the gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine to reduce agitation and friction.
  • Mild Detergent: Opt for a mild, gentle detergent designed for delicate fabrics to avoid damaging fibers.
  • Avoid Overloading: Don’t overload the washing machine to minimize friction and rubbing that can lead to shrinkage.
  • Air Dry: Air drying is the best option to prevent shrinking. Lay the garment flat on a towel to maintain its shape.
  • Low Heat Drying: If using a dryer, select the lowest heat setting and remove the garment while slightly damp.
  • Mesh Laundry Bag: Consider using a mesh bag to protect lyocell items from excess agitation when washing with other clothes.
  • Avoid Wrinkling: Don’t wring or twist the fabric to remove water as it can distort fibers and lead to shrinkage.
  • Proper Storage: Store lyocell garments by folding them neatly to preserve their shape over time.
  • Follow Care Labels: Always adhere to the care instructions on the garment’s label for specific washing and drying guidelines.

By following these steps, you can help ensure that your lyocell fabric retains its size and shape, keeping your clothing looking and feeling great even after washing and drying.

How Much Does Lyocell Shrink?

The amount that lyocell shrinks can vary based on several factors, including the quality of the fabric, how it has been treated or processed, and the care it receives during washing and drying.

Generally speaking, lyocell is less prone to shrinkage than natural fibers like cotton and wool, but it is not entirely shrink-proof.

In general, you might expect minimal shrinkage—often in the range of 2-3%—if the fabric is washed in cold water and air-dried, according to general care recommendations.

However, using hot water for washing or high heat for drying can increase the risk of more significant shrinkage.

Lyocell that has been blended with other fibers like cotton, polyester, or wool might have different shrinkage characteristics based on the properties of those additional fibers.

It’s best to consult the manufacturer’s care instructions for the most accurate information, which may provide specific guidance on expected shrinkage and how to minimize it.

Some lyocell fabrics are also pre-treated to minimize shrinkage, so it’s good to check for that when purchasing.

To be on the safe side, if you’re concerned about potential shrinkage, it’s advisable to perform a test wash on a smaller, hidden portion of the fabric or garment before washing the entire piece.

Frequently Asked Questions Of Does Lyocell Fabric Shrink?

Can I Shrink Lyocell Fabric Intentionally?

It is not recommended to intentionally shrink lyocell fabric as it can potentially damage the fabric’s structure and longevity. If you desire a smaller size, choosing a garment that fits your desired measurements is best.

Will Lyocell Fabric Shrink More Than Once?

Lyocell fabric has minimal shrinkage, even after multiple washes. This is due to its strong fibers and shrinkage-resistant properties. Lyocell fabric is known for retaining its shape and size, making it a durable and long-lasting choice.

Is It Safe To Machine Wash Lyocell Fabric?

Yes, it is generally safe to machine wash lyocell fabric. However, following the manufacturer’s care instructions is crucial to maintain the fabric’s quality. A gentle cycle and cold water will help preserve the fabric’s integrity.


Lyocell fabric has a low tendency to shrink compared to other fabrics. Its unique construction and properties make it highly resistant to shrinking and stretching. However, high heat or improper washing techniques can still cause slight shrinkage.

To prevent any potential shrinkage, it is recommended to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer and opt for gentle washing methods. Taking these precautions ensures that your Lyocell garments maintain their shape and size for longer periods.

So enjoy the benefits of this versatile and sustainable fabric without worrying about excessive shrinkage.

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