How to Shrink Clothes? – Tips to Shrink Cotton, Denim, and Other Fabrics

How to Shrink Clothes? – Tips to Shrink Cotton, Denim, and Other Fabrics

Imagine a situation in which you find your favorite dress, but it is in size. Sounds heartbreaking, right? We all get through this situation at some point in time. If you want to make the cloth of your right fit, try shrinking fabric for a fashionable look. Now the question is how to shrink clothes.

Luckily there are some tips that can help you shrink your clothes. Here is an article with all you need to know about how to shrink clothes of different types to make them the perfect fit. 

Causes of Shrinking in Clothes

Many people look for how to stop clothes from shrinking; whereas, others want to know how to shrink clothes. In both the questions, the intent is to make the cloth of the right fit. Moreover, in both cases, it is better to know the causes of shrinking. 

Over time, most of the clothes shrink naturally. However, knowing the causes of shrinkage can help you to achieve as well as avoid it. 

In manufacturing, clothes are put under tension. Shrinkage happens in the garments that try to go to a relaxed state when it becomes wet. In fabrics such as cotton, bamboo, or rayon, water, and mechanical action causes shrinkage. When you put these clothes for wash, their fibers absorb water and then swell up. The swollen fibers are elastic, and then they move to relieve tension, which is caused by washing. This process is known as “elastic shrinkage.”

If you put your wet clothes to dry washing, then no further shrinkage will occur in your clothes. The fibers present in your cloth will de-swell and get to the original size. Nevertheless, machine drying the clothes is best for shrinking. 

There are some fabrics that naturally shrink. In this case, you can not do much, and most of the shrinking occurs in one to three washes. Moreover, in some cases, it can take around five to ten washes for shrinkage. Now you must be thinking about how to shrink a shirt or how to shrink clothes in the wash? Continue reading the article to find out.

How to Shrink Clothes?

Now that you know the causes of shrinking let’s have a look at how to shrink clothes. If you have clothes that are either too large, ten shrinking them in the wash can help you to get them in the right size. Here are tips on how to shrink clothes of different types. 

Shrink Denim, Cotton, or Polyester

Below mentioned are some tips to shrink denim, cotton, or polyester. 

Adjust the Temperature of Washing Machine to Hot

When these fabrics are made, they are constantly stressed and stretched. When you heat them when washing, the stress in them is relaxed, which causes the fabric to shrink. One of the best ways to shrink clothes is by applying heat to them when washing. 

Wash the Clothes on the Option of Longest Available Wash Cycle

Another best answer to the question of how to shrink a shirt or how to shrink a cotton shirt is to wash them in the longest wash cycle. Heat is highly effective when it combines with movement and moisture. This process is called consolidation shrinkage. 

The process helps to release the tension in denim, cotton. And also to polyester threads to a certain extent. The longer the clothes are placed in these conditions, they are more likely to shrink.

After washing the clothes, remove them from the wash cycle. Make sure not to air dry them as it cools off the fabric quickly, which keeps them from shrinking. 

Dry Clothes on High Cycle

Drying the clothes on a high cycle is also an effective answer to how to shrink clothes. Like hot water causes the shirts or clothes to shrink, so causes the hot air. In order to shrink the clothes on a high cycle, follow the below-mentioned steps. 

  • Make sure to choose the longest available cycle. Agitation can help with shrinkages. When the threads in clothes get heat and undergo movement, they start shrinking. 
  • Leave the clothes in the dryer until they dry completely. When you hang them to air dry, the fabrics cool quickly. In the case of denim, too much heat can cause the clothes to stretch.

Repeat the Dryer and Wash Cycles for Polyesters

In the case of polyester, the fiber is synthetic, and it is difficult to shrink as compared to other fabrics. The fabric is durable and can easily go through multiple cycles without any damage. So you repeat the wash and dryer cycles in order to shrink the cloth. 

Shrink Wool Fabric

How to shrink clothes when it comes to wool? Continue reading to find out. 

Wash Woolen Clothes on Short and Delicate Cycle

Wool is a delicate fabric as compared to the others. You need to treat it carefully as wool fibers are made of animal hair. Moreover, they consist of many tiny scales. When they are exposed to water, heat, or agitation, the tiny scales interlock and get together, which causes the fabric to shrink. This process is known as felting. Wool is profoundly responsive to movement and heat, and therefore a short cycle is perfect. 

Dry them on Low Heat Cycle

When it comes to wool, the movement is not essential for shrinking. Dryer causes the scales to rub, which leads them to shrink. Woolen clothes shrink quickly; therefore, it is a good idea to use a low heat setting.  

Check the Clothes Periodically When Washing to Ensure Shrinking

Wool is highly responsible for movement and heat; therefore, it is easy to shrink. In case you cause the garment to shrink too much, then immediately soak them in cool water for around thirty minutes. After that, wrap the garment in a towel to allow it to dry. 

Shrink Silk Fabric

Now that you know how to shrink clothes which are denim, polyester; the next question is how to shrink silk fabric. It is quite difficult to shrink silk fabric, but fortunately, there are some ways that can help you.

Use a Mash Bag When Using Top-Loading Washer

Top-loading washers in the washing machine open upwards. On the other hand, in front-loading washers, the door is present at the side. The top-loading washers work with the help of an agitator that is present in the basket, and it causes spinning and turning of the clothes. It can be difficult for the fabric. When we use the mesh bag, it helps to protect delicate silk. 

Wash Silk Fabric on Short and Delicate Cycle

A delicate setting is present in most washing machines. It has an ideal temperature, which is perfect for silk clothes. Low heat is good to tighten the weave of silk clothes. It pulls the threads close together, which leads the clothes to shrink.

Pro Tip – When washing silk clothes, use mild and best smelling laundry detergents. Do not use chlorine bleach as it can cause damage to the silk. 

Wrap the Clothes in a Towel

After washing silk clothes, wrap them in a towel to remove excess moisture. Make sure not to wring the clothes as it can cause the fabric to damage. 

Air Dry Silk Clothes

When it comes to how to shrink clothes, it is better to air dry them. Unlike other clothes, silk also retains its shape and will not cause it to stretch. It is better to air dry the silk clothes to avoid harm. Do not place the silk clothes in direct sunlight as it can fade the color. Moreover, do not dry the silk clothes on wood as it can cause a stain. 

  • Always put the silk garment in the dryer for around five minutes at one time. Some tumble dryers also contain silk settings. In case the setting is not present in your dryer, you can opt for a heatless air setting. 
  • Check the silk clothes often when washing or drying them to make sure that the silk is not getting damaged. Do not put the cloth in the dryer for a long time. Once the cloth has shrunk, remove it from the dryer. 

Quick Tips to Shrink Clothes

Here are some quick tips on how to shrink clothes. 

  • Clothes like denim, linen, cotton, jersey material, and hemp material can easily shrink with regular machine washing.
  • Water soaking is one of the best methods for shrinking, depending on the fabric. Keep the clothes for around six hours to make them shrink.
  • Steam iron is another effective method to shrink many clothes like silk, cashmere, and velvet.
  • Pressing the fabric with a dampened fabric piece is also an effective answer to how to shrink clothes.
  • You can also use a tailor steam press to shrink clothes. 

Final Words

If you want to make your desired clothes of the right size, then shrinking is an effective way. Using a different wash setting is an effective and cheap way to make the clothes of the right fit by shrinking them. Now that you know how to shrink clothes try the methods. Share your experience with us by dropping a comment. 


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