Attempting to shrink a silk shirt will likely damage the fabric, because heat is needed to shrink clothing, and silk is non-resistant to heat. However, if you do want to go ahead and shrink your silk shirt, the best way to do it is to use the washing machine and dryer. Use the washing machine on the hot water setting and use the dryer on tumble dry high. You may also use boiling water, a blow dryer, a steamer, or an iron to help shrink a silk shirt.
This is How to Shrink a Silk Shirt: 6 Methods!
Shrinking a silk shirt can be done in a variety of different ways. The method you choose to use will likely depend on if you want to shrink the entire shirt, or just a certain area. Using the washing machine or boiling water will shrink the entire garment, but by using an iron, steamer, or blow dryer, you can focus on certain areas you wish to shrink, without effecting the entire garment.
It should be noted that 100% silk is non-resistant to heat, and heat is needed to shrink silk shirts. Use these methods at your own risk, as the heat may cause severe damage to your silk garment.
The best thing to do is to buy silk shirts that already fit perfectly, so that you do not have to shrink them in the future.
Learn how to properly care for your silk shirts by reading our step-by-step care guides.
How to Shrink a Silk Shirt
It should be noted that silk is non-resistant to heat, therefore, using any of these shrinking methods will likely result in some form of damage to your silk shirt. 100% Silk fabric should never be placed in the dryer, nor should it be placed in hot water, or blown with hot air from a blow dryer.
**WARNING: Shrink your silk shirt at your own risk**
High levels of heat are necessary to shrink any type of clothing, however, silk is unable to handle high temperatures and will likely become damaged during the shrinking process.
Use the following methods to shrink silk shirts, and do so at your own risk, because it might not end very well.
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1. Use a Washing Machine and Dryer
Carefully follow the steps below in order to use a washing machine and dryer to shrink a silk shirt.
If you would like to use the washing machine to wash your silk shirt please read How to Wash a Silk Shirt.
- Turn the shirt inside out and place it in to a mesh laundry bag.
- Place the laundry bag in the washing machine (optional: add silk laundry detergent)
- Set the washing machine to the hot water setting.
- Once the spin cycle is complete, transfer your silk shirt to the dryer. Continue to keep the shirt in the mesh laundry bag.
- Adjust the dryer to tumble dry high and press start.
- Remove your shirt from the dryer while it is still slightly damp so that it does not over dry.
- Hang or lay the shirt flat to completely dry.
- Repeat the steps if you require further shrinkage.
2. Use Boiling Water
Using boiling water is an effective way to shrink a silk shirt, however, it will likely also cause a great deal of damage.
Use the following steps to shrink your silk shirt using boiling water.
- Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.
- Add the silk shirt to the water.
- Let the shirt soak for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Carefully remove the shirt from the water and allow to cool down.
- Lay the shirt evenly on an absorbent towel and gently roll the towel to remove excess water.
- Hang or lay flat to air dry.
3. Use an Iron
Using an iron is a great way to shrink specific parts of your shirt, without shrinking the entire garment. If you find that the chest or arms are too loose, using an iron is the best way to shrink those certain areas without affecting the rest of the shirt.
If you'd like to learn how to properly use an iron to get wrinkles out of your shirt, please read How to Iron a Silk Shirt.
Follow the steps below to shrink a silk shirt using an iron.
- Turn the silk shirt inside out.
- Lay the shirt evenly on an ironing board, with the dull backside of the shirt facing upwards.
- Use a spray bottle filled with water to add moisture to the area of the shirt you wish to shrink. The fabric should be damp, but not soaking wet.
- Cover the area you wish to shrink with a cotton press clothe. You can use a pillowcase, bandana, thin towel, or t-shirt.
- Turn the iron on to the highest heat setting possible.
- Hand press the iron on to the spots you wish to shrink. Briefly press the iron down, lift, and repeat.
- Continue until you have reached your desired level of shrinkage.
4. Use a Steamer
Using a steamer is a great way to shrink certain areas of your silk shirt. Identify the part of your shirt that you wish to shrink, and follow the steps below to shrink your silk shirt using a steamer.
If you would like to remove wrinkles from your silk shirt using a steamer, please read our guide on How to Steam Silk.
- Fill the steamer’s water tank with fresh, clean water.
- Power the steamer on.
- Hang the silk shirt in a place where you have enough room to maneuver.
- Use a spray bottle filled with water to add moisture to the areas of the shirt you wish to shrink.
- Begin steaming your shirt in the areas that you are looking to shrink.
- Use your free hand to pull and adjust the t-shirt as necessary.
- Continue until you have reached your desired level of shrinkage.
5. Use a Blow Dryer
A blow dryer can be found almost anywhere and is a quick and convenient way to shrink specific areas of your silk shirt.
Use the following steps to shrink a silk shirt using a blow dryer.
- Make sure your shirt is clean and hang it in an open space.
- Use a spray bottle filled with water to add moisture to the areas of the shirt that you would like to shrink.
- Adjust the settings on the blow dryer to the highest heat and wind levels.
- Hold the blow dryer 1 to 2 inches (3 to 6 cm) away from the surface of the silk and apply hot air until your desired level of shrinkage has occurred.
6. Use Natural Light
Silk fabric will shrink if it is left in the sun to hang or line dry. Simply dampen your shirt or take it straight from the wash, and hang it outside in direct sunlight. The ultraviolet light from the sun will shrink your silk shirt, however it will possibly also cause color fading.
How to Shrink a Silk Shirt FAQ
Can I shrink a silk shirt down to my size?
The most effective way to shrink a silk shirt is by placing it in to the washing machine on the highest water temperature setting, and then placing it into the dryer on tumble dry high. Doing this may shrink your silk shirt down a size, but it is also likely to damage the shirt since silk is non-resistant to heat.
Do 100% silk shirts shrink?
Yes, silk does shrink, but not in the same way other fabrics shrink. Shrinking silk is predominantly dependent on the type of silk fabric and the weave being used. Most silk shirts are made with a tight weave, such as silk satin or silk broadcloth, so they will have very little to no shrinkage. Silk should not be washed in hot water nor should it be put in the dryer or stored in direct sunlight.