How to Prevent Clothes From Shrinking

Imagine your favorite sweater, shirt or dress. Now imagine you wash it, dry it and put it on to wear but it feels tighter than usual. You realize it shrunk in the dryer! Here are some tips on how to prevent clothes from shrinking.

Why and How Clothes Shrink
Even if you follow all the common “laundry rules,” unfortunately sometimes shrinking just happens. Additionally, how clothes react to a wash depends on their fiber type, weave and how they were made. 

All the different fibers in clothing affect how the clothes react to a wash. Natural fibers such as wool, cotton and bamboo stretch more than man-made fibers such as polyester, acrylic and nylon. Looser weaves shrink more when exposed to water, heat and agitation. 

Prevent Clothes From Shrinking
Reduce shrinking by using the correct laundry techniques for the clothes.

  1.  Always read the laundry symbols and clothing tags with direction instructions on caring for your clothes.
  2. Use cold or warm water. This doesn’t prevent all shrinking but it’s less damaging to fabrics than hot water.
  3. Use front-loading or top-loading high-efficiency washers without a center agitator. These are less damaging and cause less shrinkage than top-loading washers. 
  4. Every item of clothing isn’t meant for the dryer. Letting your clothes air dry is one of the best ways to prevent them from shrinking. 
  5. However, if air drying isn’t an option, use the lowest heat settings on the dryer. Try to remove your clothes while they’re still slightly damp then air dry them to finish. Excessive heat is damaging to fabrics. 

It’s always disappointing to pull an item of clothing out of the dryer and realize that it shrunk. However, you can help prevent your clothes from shrinking by carefully following the labels and using proper laundry techniques. If you’re unsure of how to care for any of your clothing, bring it to Zoom Express Laundry! Our laundry professionals know the right ways to wash, dry and care for your clothes.