How to Prevent Clothes from Shrinking? – Tips to Avoid Shrinking and Stretching of Clothes

How to Prevent Clothes from Shrinking? – Tips to Avoid Shrinking and Stretching of Clothes

After a long shopping day, you have finally found your perfect-fitting dress or shirt which looks amazing on you. Then you wash it and find out that it has shrunk or feels snug and it does not fit you anymore. Sad, right? Trust me; you are not alone. It happens with most of us. Here is an article about how to prevent clothes from shrinking and stretching so that you can enjoy the right fit.

If you have done laundry, you might have probably shrunk or stretched your favorite dress. There is nothing sad like taking a cloth out from the dryer and finding out that it is not the right fit anymore. We know the pain. Now the question is how to avoid shrinking clothes or stretching clothes? Continue reading the article to find out.

Why Do Clothes Shrink and Stretch? 

Before finding out how to prevent clothes from shrinking, it is better to first understand the reason behind it. So, why do clothes shrink in the dryer? Even if you follow all the rules of laundry, stretching and shrinking can still happen.

The shrinking and stretching of clothes remarkably depend on a wide range of factors. The type of fibers, manufacturing techniques, and weaving determine how your clothes will perform after washing. 

Different types of clothing fiber react differently to the washing or dryer. Yes, you read it right. Natural fibers such as cotton, bamboo, or will usually twitch more as compared to man-made fibers such as nylon, polyester, or acrylic. 

Lose weaves of fabrics stretch more as compared to tight weaves. However, loose weaves also shrink more or tighten up when exposed to heat, water, and agitation. 

So, how to not shrink clothes or how to avoid shrinking or stretching clothes? You can make a difference in how your clothes look after shrinking by using the right laundry technique and detergent. 

Even though there will be some stretching or shrinking in all the clothes due to the tear and wear of the fabric. Stretching or shrinking of clothes after the wash is residual. So, a small shift in the size of your cloth after each time the garment is washed will add up. Continue reading the article to find out how to keep clothes from shrinking. 

How to Prevent Clothes from Shrinking and Stretching? 

Heat and tumbling are the worst enemies for clothes. So it is better to avoid them when washing the garment. Here are some tips on how to prevent clothes from shrinking and stretching. 

Read Labels

If you want the answer to the question, how to avoid shrinking clothes? Then, you should carefully read labels. It is always a good idea to read labels before purchasing the clothes. 

When buying natural fibers, find the word “preshrunk.” Some garment manufacturers tout their brands for preshrunk clothes. 

On the other hand, some clothing manufacturers stretch the fiber before manufacturing the garment so that there is less use of fabric. Avoid buying such clothes.

Always look for the word “preshrunk” on the labels when buying clothes. In these garments, the fibers are preshrunk before manufacturing, which leads to less shrinkage of the cloth during its lifetime. 

Follow the Guidelines

The labels on the clothes provide guidelines about how to care for clothes. Reading the labels can help you find out how to keep clothes from shrinking. Make sure to read the guidelines properly and follow them when washing clothes or drying them. You will also find recommendations about the ideal water temperature, dryer cycle, and laundry cycle on the labels.

Use Cold or Warm Water

It is always a good idea to use cold or warm water for washing the clothes. Though cold water will not completely prevent the clothes from shrinking, it is more damaging as compared to cold or warm water. Yes, you read it right. Coldwater is less damaging to clothes, which makes it an ideal choice for laundry.  

Opt for Hand-Washing 

In order to save time and effort, we often wash the clothes in washer cycles. It can actually save time but can damage your clothes. Washing clothes in washer cycles with longer agitation and using cycles with higher spin rotations can cause the clothes to shrink or stretch. Therefore, if you love your dress or shirt, wash it in a gentle washer cycle. You can also opt for hand-washing your favorite dress to manage the right fit. 

Use High-Efficiency Washers

If you want to wash your clothes in the washing machine, then it is better to choose the high-efficiency top-loading or front-loading washers. High-efficiency washers that do not have center agitators cause less damage to the clothes. Yes, you read it right. They cause less shrinkage to the clothes compared to normal top-loading washers. 

In addition to this, the tumbling action used by the high-efficiency washers is gentle to fibers as compared to the forced action that is used by standard washer agitators. 

Allow the Clothes to Air Dry

Do you know dryers shrink the clothes? Yes, you read it right. Now the question is, Why do clothes shrink in the dryer? Excess heat is used in dryers to dry the clothes, which causes the garments to shrink. 

Therefore, it is better to air dry the clothes. Allowing the clothes to dry in the air is the best method to prevent shrinkage. The clothes with loose weaves or knits should be drained on a flat surface in order to avoid stretching. Air drying is the best answer to the question of how to prevent clothes from shrinking. 

Avoid Excessive Heat

In case you can not air dry clothes due to any reason, then you should dry them in the dryer by keeping a low heat setting. Moreover, remove the clothes when they are slightly damp and allow them to air dry further. Excessive heat is a big no as it is damaging for the fabrics. 

Avoid Wearing Clothes for a Long Time Between Washing

When you wear the clothes for a long time between the washings can cause stretching. Fibers of many clothes like cotton jeans relax when you wear them, so the jeans get bigger. Therefore. It is better to wash the clothes on a regular basis to keep them from stretching.  

Shrinking or Stretching Clothes for Right Fit

Sometimes we find out the perfect dress, but either it is too big or large. In such a situation, the questions that come to mind are; how to shrink clothes? Or how to shrink a shirt? Or how to shrink polyester?

In order to shrink clothes, you need to reverse the recommendations mentioned above. Yes, you read it right. Using hot water, a hot drying cycle and lots of agitation can cause the cloth to shrink. 

Pro Tip The technique of shrinking the clothes may not go well as you can not predict how much the garment will shrink. 

After shrinking the clothes, rewashing and reshaping can help to save the sweater. In the case of lines or woven clothes, pressing them with hot iron can help to flatten the fiber. 

Tips to Take Care of Your Clothes

Now that you know how to prevent the clothes from shrinking let’s have a look at how to take care of your clothes to keep them in good condition. 

  • Dry the clothes in the lowest possible heat settings.
  • Use a drying rack for all-cotton or wool garments. 
  • Make sure to follow the washing instructions present on the tags. 
  • Do not dry multiple times. One round is enough. 
  • Hang the clothes on a rod to allow them to air-dry.
  • Use cold water for washing clothes rather than hot water. 
  • When finished drying, immediately remove the clothes from the dryer.
  • In order to dry clothes use the “tumble” setting. It is the best choice for delicates. 
  • Use top-quality detergent and best smelling detergents

Final Words

We all want our favorite clothes to remain in good condition and a perfect fit. There is no perfect technique that can help to keep the clothes from shrinking, but following the right detergent and good care can limit the shrinking. Opt for hand washing the clothes and allow them to air-dry. If you want to wash the clothes in the machine, they use high-efficiency washers as they are less damaging. 

In addition to this, avoid drying the clothes in excessive heat. Too much heat can shrink the clothes and can also cause damage to the fabric. Use cold water for washing the clothes in order to manage them in good condition. If you find the information on how to prevent the clothes from shrinking useful, drop a comment. 


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