We have all shrunk clothing at some point. Whether you forgot that your favorite new sweater is 100% wool or you threw that nice cotton shirt in the dryer, shrinkage seems like an inevitable problem. But what if we told you there was a way to prevent clothes from shrinking in the wash forever? Today, we will explain how to prevent shrinking clothes, so keep reading to learn more about why clothes shrink and how to avoid common laundry mistakes.
Why Do Clothes Shrink?
The principal reason that clothes shrink is due to improper washing of a specific fabric. Manufacturers make fabrics by teasing different types of fibers. They pull, stretch, and weave these fibers together to create a material that is then sewn to make your clothes.
Certain fabrics, such as wool or cotton, come from all-natural fibers that manufacturers must stretch to create the final material. When exposed to hot water, the fabrics swell. When placed in the dryer, they shrink to their pre-stretched size.
Synthetic fabrics, such as nylon or polyester, are more resistant to shrinkage due to the manufacturing process. However, you should wash and dry many of these fabrics on low heat because they can warp due to the presence of polymer in the material.
When considering how to prevent clothes from shrinking, always check the type of fabric of the garment and care instructions before washing. Here are some helpful hints on how to prevent shrinking clothes.
How To Prevent Clothes From Shrinking – 7 Easy Tips
1. Follow the Care Instructions on the Clothing Tags
Paying attention to laundry symbols is one of the easiest ways to prevent shrinkage. All clothes include care tags that indicate how you should wash the fabric. Though the symbols may seem confusing, using a guide can help you interpret the recommended water temperature, type of bleach, if you can iron it, etc.
2. Wash Clothes in Cold Water and Avoid Using Fabric Softener
Using hot water to wash clothes can warp many fabrics. It’s always best to wash them in warm, lukewarm, or cold water. Accidents, like throwing a garment into your machine that you cannot wash in hot water, can easily cause shrinkage.
Fabric softeners are often bad for the environment. They can also harm your clothes, as it contains chemicals that build up and create a waxy residue on the fabric’s surface over time. Finally, softener also reduces the absorbency of fabrics, which is problematic for items such as towels.
3. Hang Clothes to Dry Instead of Putting Them in the Dryer
Though it may seem like a hassle, you can extend your clothes’ lifetime if you air-dry them. Buy a drying rack or hang your clothes wherever you can around the house, such as over the shower rail (if it’s dry).
4. Don’t Overload the Washing Machine or Dryer
When you overload the washing machine, you impede the washing process. The washer will thus fail to clean your clothes as effectively.
Overloading the dryer can leave you with damp clothes after the first try. If you put your clothes through multiple bouts in the dryer, it can also cause them to shrink.
5. If You Must Use a Dryer, Set It on Low Heat
If air drying is not possible, you can also run your dryer on a low heat setting for certain clothing. However, be extremely careful when selecting this option, as some fabrics might still shrink at a lower temperature. For example, wool and cotton shrink very easily.
6. If Something Does Happen to Shrink, Lay It Out Flat and Steam It With a Steamer or Iron
If you need to unshrink clothes, try to steam them and leave them out to air-dry. This process adds water back into the fibers, causing them to expand to their original size. Be careful not to wring out the clothes or stretch them unevenly, however, as the fabric will warp rather than expand.
7. Use a Professional Laundry Service
By using a professional laundry delivery service, you won’t have to do any extra work checking care tags or fabrics to determine how you should wash them. The laundry service will handle everything from start to finish, including washing, drying, and folding. Professional launderers know how to prevent shrinking clothes no matter what fabrics they contain.
If you want to save time and have perfectly clean, wrinkle-free clothes every time you do laundry, contact The Washroom Laundry Service. We are a professional mobile laundry service that even provides free pickup and delivery of your garments.
The Washroom Laundry Service handles both residential and commercial laundry. Call our Charlotte, NC location at 704-967-9237 or conveniently schedule an online pickup. If you have any other laundry questions, such as how often you should wash your clothes, you can also check out our blog!