What is "Residual Shrinkage" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 27-May-2023 (1 year, 22 days ago)
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Residual Shrinkage
Residual shrinkage is a term used in the textile industry to describe the amount of shrinkage that occurs in a fabric after it has been subjected to a pre-determined process, such as washing or drying. It is the difference between the expected dimensions of a fabric before and after the process. The amount of residual shrinkage varies depending on the type of fabric, the method of production, and the processing conditions. In this article, we will explore the concept of residual shrinkage in more detail, including its causes, measurement methods, and its importance in textile manufacturing.

Causes of Residual Shrinkage:

The main cause of residual shrinkage in textiles is the inherent nature of the fibers that make up the fabric. Natural fibers such as cotton, wool, and silk, have a greater tendency to shrink compared to synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon. The degree of shrinkage is also influenced by the method of production, finishing, and processing of the fabric. The washing and drying process can cause fibers to swell and then relax, leading to a decrease in the overall size of the fabric.

Measurement of Residual Shrinkage:

Residual shrinkage is usually measured as a percentage of the fabric's original size. The fabric is first measured before it is processed, and then again after it has undergone the pre-determined process. The difference between the two measurements is then expressed as a percentage of the original size of the fabric. The standard test method for measuring residual shrinkage is ASTM D3776.

Importance of Residual Shrinkage:

Residual shrinkage is an important consideration for textile manufacturers, as it can affect the quality, durability, and overall appearance of the final product. If the fabric shrinks significantly after the garment has been made, it may no longer fit the intended wearer. This can result in customer dissatisfaction, returns, and lost sales. In addition, if the fabric shrinks unevenly, it can cause distortion of the garment, resulting in an unattractive and unwearable product.

Manufacturers of Residual Shrinkage:

Many textile manufacturers around the world are concerned with reducing residual shrinkage in their fabrics. One such company is Unifi Manufacturing, which produces a range of synthetic yarns and fibers for use in the apparel, automotive, and industrial markets. Unifi's flagship product, Repreve, is a recycled fiber made from post-consumer plastic bottles and is used in a variety of applications, including athletic wear, home textiles, and automotive interiors. Repreve is engineered to resist shrinkage, ensuring that the final product maintains its shape and size after washing.

Another manufacturer that focuses on residual shrinkage is TenCate Protective Fabrics, a global leader in protective textiles for industrial and military applications. TenCate's fabrics are designed to withstand harsh environments and to provide maximum protection to the wearer. TenCate uses a variety of synthetic fibers, including Nomex, Kevlar, and Twaron, to produce fabrics that are durable, flame-resistant, and have low residual shrinkage.


In conclusion, residual shrinkage is a significant consideration for textile manufacturers. The amount of residual shrinkage can affect the quality and durability of the final product, and ultimately the satisfaction of the customer. Understanding the causes of residual shrinkage, and measuring it accurately, is critical to ensuring that fabrics are manufactured to the desired specifications. As consumers continue to demand high-quality, long-lasting textiles, manufacturers must continue to innovate and develop new fibers and fabrics that resist shrinkage and other unwanted properties.
Residual Shrinkage
The potential shrinkage that remains in a fibre, yarn or fabric after treatment designed to reduce or eliminate shrinkage.


The expression is commonly used with reference to heat-shrinkage properties of synthetic polymer fibre after it has been heat-set.

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