How to Keep Clothes from Shrinking: Tips and Hints

Have you bought the clothes from your favorite boutique that fit perfectly on day one, only to find they fit way too snugly after washing? Now, you are probably wondering what happened to you, or those clothes. There may be several reasons as to why your clothes shrank, but luckily, unfortunate incidents like these are completely avoidable. You just have to know what causes shrinkage, how to avoid shrinking clothes, and what to do should this happen. To help you, we have compiled some frequently asked questions as well as tips on how to keep clothes from shrinking, even how to unshrink clothes.

Does hot water shrink clothes?

The answer is yes. Clothes are more likely to shrink when washed with hot water. Using hot water, coupled with agitation can cause fibers to release the tension present during the manufacturing process, deforming the fabric and causing dramatic shrinkage. While hot water has better cleaning power, it should be avoided when washing clothes with delicate fabrics.

Do clothes shrink in the dryer?

Much like hot water, the dryer also has heat that could potentially shrink your clothes. While it is not necessarily harmful to clothes, too much heat can cause problems, so it’s better to err on the side of caution. After washing your clothes, they have usually soaked up a lot of water, making them swell. The dryer helps the clothes return to their original size and remove all that moisture. However, the longer the drying process goes, the more heat the clothes receive, causing them to curl up and shrink.

Are there other reasons why clothes shrink?

There are other reasons why your clothes can shrink. One important factor is the type of fabric involved. For example, clothes with animal hair fibers like wool, which have scales along the surface, are more prone to compress and mesh together, thereby causing it to shrink. Another reason is moisture. This is called relaxation shrinkage and usually applies to natural fibers like cotton, silk, or linen, which are either absorbent or modified to be absorbent. Too much moisture can cause those fibers to swell and the garment size to decrease.

How do you keep clothes from shrinking?

Below are some helpful tips you can follow when washing your clothes to avoid shrinking:

1. Read garment labels.

Before buying clothes, look for those labeled with “pre-shrunk.” If the fabric is pre-shrunk before it is cut and sewn, then there is less chance of shrinkage. After buying, it is also important to read the labels on how to wash your clothes. Follow the guidelines and recommendations: Do you need to machine wash or hand wash it? Is it dry clean only? What laundry cycle is recommended? Gentle? Low heat? Follow any other instructions the labels give you.

2. Use cold water as much as possible.

As we discussed previously, heat is a very important factor that causes clothes to shrink. Clothes have greater chances of shrinking in hot water. As such, it is best to use cold water instead, as this is less damaging to your clothes.

3. Air dry your clothes instead.

Excessive amounts of heat can cause clothes to shrink and decrease in size. Air drying is the gentlest method to dry your clothes, and it is less harmless. Should you need to use a dryer, try to use lower heat settings and remove the clothes while they are still slightly damp to finish the process.

How to unshrink clothes?

If your clothes have accidentally shrunk, there is a way to try and unshrink them. First, you need to soak them in lukewarm water with gentle shampoo or soap for 30 minutes so that the fibers will loosen. After that, squeeze the water from the clothing but do not rinse it. Then, roll the garment inside a clean towel and squeeze it a bit more to leave the clothing damp. Get another towel, lay the garment gently upon it, and stretch it back to its original size. Lastly, let the garment air dry properly.

Some clothes are expensive, so they should be handled very delicately. While there are tips you can follow to avoid the shrinking your clothes, it is still better to leave the washing to professionals if you want to ensure they are properly taken care of. At Kelly’s Dry Cleaners, a Pagosa Springs, CO Dry Cleaning shop, we remain committed to washing your clothes delicately to avoid any possible garment problems. Drop by our store today to get your clothes washed professionally!