Why do polos shrink?

Why Do Polo Shirts Shrink?

If you’ve ever put your polo shirt into the wash, only for it to come out again looking like it’d fit a small dog or child rather than yourself, you’ll understand how annoying this situation is.

You’ve spent good money on it, so the last thing you want is to wave goodbye to a perfectly decent shirt.

Thankfully the whole shrinkage thing can be put down to human error. That’s not to say we’re blaming you, we just know from our own trial and error that polo shirt shrinking can be completely avoided.

But why do polos shrink? In most cases, a shrinking polo shirt is all due to the cotton becoming exposed to high temperatures in the wash or drying process, which then causes the fibres to contract and tighten. 

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If you are about to throw your polo into the wash stop what you’re doing and read our handy guide first. Of course, if you have already washed your shirt and found it a shrunken ghost of its former self, also keep reading to find out how to fix this common problem.

polos that dont shrink by Tapered Menswear

Do Pique Polo Shirts Shrink?

Any polo shirt made from cotton has the potential to shrink, particularly if exposed to high temperatures in the wash. Here’s the thing, your pique polo shirt is still a form of cotton and without the proper washing care, it can shrink.

Looking for a polo that fits perfectly to your physique? Check out our collection of fitted polos right here.

Unlike a jersey cotton polo however, a pique polo does shrink on average less due to its woven texture process (The pique fabric is knitted and resembles a honey comb pattern).

Nevertheless, you still need to look after your pique polo, as you would with any other cotton shirt and still apply the proper care.

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How Do You Keep a Polo Shirt From Shrinking?

The best way to keep a polo shirt from shrinking is to wash and dry it with the utmost care.

This starts before you even put your shirt in the wash. To avoid a highly likely shrinking situation from occurring, be sure to check the care label on your shirt prior to popping it in the wash.

This label with have all of the care instructions you need, including what you need to avoid. It will also tell you what temperature to wash your shirt in.

For most cotton polo shirts a cold water cycle should keep your shirt in shape, as will a standard 30 degree wash.

If however you are paranoid that your shirt might not survive a tumble around the washing machine or have been burnt from past experiences, you can hand wash it in cold water yourself.

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The next part of your washing routine is actually the cause of most polo shirt shrinking - The dryer. A hot dryer will cause the fibres in your polo shirt to expand and contract, shrinking your polo shirt down a few sizes. Not ideal in the slightest!

The answer? Maybe consider foregoing the dryer stage. If you’re in a rush, this isn’t ideal, but if you have the time to hang it on a washing line and air dry, you could be saving yourself money and time having to buy a new polo shirt later on.

A good tip to dry your polo shirt is to lay it out on a flat surface such as a table. Make sure the shirt is stretched out to its usual shape and leave to air dry for a few hours. This should help it retain its usual shape.

Long Sleeve Green Tapered Fit Polo

Can You Unshrink a Polo Shirt?

So the least favourable outcome has happened- Your polo shirt has shrunk in the washer/dryer. Can you unshrink it? Well actually, you can. With a few easy tips and tricks you can usually stretch your shirt to its former self.

This may not always work if the fibres within the polo have completely tightened. But if you are at that point, you may as well give it a go.

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How to Unshrink Polo Shirt

The best way to unshrink a polo shirt is to place the shirt in a bowl of cold or lukewarm water and leave it to soak for around 30 minutes. This gives the fibres time to expand.

You can also put in a small amount of baby shampoo into the water to soften the fabric.

Then, you will want to rinse the shirt and gently squeeze the excess water out of it. Your shirt might still appear smaller at this point, but don’t worry. The trick is in the drying.

Take your shirt and stretch it out as much as possible on top of a towel on a flat surface, leaving it to air-dry for a few hours.

If you have to place something heavy on top of the shirt to keep it from springing back, place the items on the sleeves to keep it as stretched out as possible.

It’s a good idea to keep checking back on the shirt and continue to stretch it by hand if it is still looking small. Of course, hanging the polo onto a clothes line for a few hours can also help the shirt to retain it's shape.

Best Polo Shirts That Don't Shrink

Looking for a new polo shirt that doesn't shrink? Check out Tapered Menswear. Our polos are made from a high-quality, super-soft stretch fabric that moulds to the contours and curves of your body.

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White Tapered Fit Polo Shirt

The great thing about it is, that it truly stays in shape both on your body and in the wash. Made for athletic guys and men with muscle, our performance polo shirts stay true to form so that you always get the best out of them.

While we always advise that you care for your polo shirts regardless, a Tapered fit polo is going to go the distance. 

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Our revolutionary cut provides a 10" drop from chest to waist.

Fully fitted in chest and shoulders whilst tapering sharply down, giving a tailored look. No more bagginess in the waist.


white tapered fit polo shirt showing the unique v tapered cut


Closely Fitted At Biceps

Moulds to your arm and cut to the optimal length to emphasises the bicep peak.


white tapered fit polo shirt showing the fit around the biceps


Stretch Cotton

Super soft, breathable and allows complete freedom of movement.


white tapered fit polo shirt showing the stretch around the back and shoulders


Perfect for formal occasions. 

With our non obtrusive logo stitched subtly on the waist makes our TAPERED Fit Shirt ideal for formal occasions.

Mens Tapered Fit polo shirts in long sleeve green

Tapered Fit polo shirts are the true solution to your polo shirt fitting problem.