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Do clothes shrink in the washer or dryer? 2024

Do clothes shrink in the washer or dryer?

Don’t know why your clothes shrink after every wash, or are you worried about your favourite clothes that are shrunk? Don’t know what to do with your unfit clothes? Well, shrunken clothes will not be a worry from now on. You can get your shrunk clothes to fit you again. 

Yes, clothes do shrink in a washer or dryer. The hot water and high agitation in a washer can cause the clothes to shrink, while the high heat and moisture in the tumble dry are also the major reasons for clothes shrinkage. Cotton, linen, silk, and wool are more prone to shrinkage in a washer or dryer. 

We will discuss the causes of clothes shrinkage in a washer and a dryer and how to prevent our favourite clothes from shrinking. Moreover, you will also learn which kind of clothes shrink in a washer or dryer and how to reverse your shrunk clothes to fit ones. Let’s jump in. 

What causes clothes to Shrink in a washer or dryer?

do clothes shrink in the washer or dryer

Shrinkage of clothes occurs when the heat, excess moisture, and agitation of a washer or dryer are combined. These factors play a crucial role in releasing the tension present in the natural fibres, resulting in clothes shrinkage. 

Besides this, Felting is also the reason for the shrinkage of natural fabrics due to vigorous washing and drying cycles. Read more: Quietest washers.

How to stop clothes from shrinking?

You can prevent clothes from shrinking by following the given instructions: 

1. Use cold water for washing clothes. 

You must use cold water in your washing machine to save your clothes from shrinking. Always prefer to wash your clothes at low temperatures. 

Cold water is good for maintaining your clothes’ natural elasticity and texture. Moreover, wash your clothes in a delicate wash cycle instead of a heavy-duty cycle. 

2. Use low-heat settings for drying clothes. 

The high heat of the dryer is the major culprit of shrinking clothes. To avoid shrinkage in a dryer, dry your clothes at a low heat setting and not bone dry the clothes. 

   3. Check the wash care tag on clothes before buying.

Wherever you go shopping, always check the wash instructions for the clothes. The wash tags come with dry cleaning labels and hand washing. Some are pre-shrunk garments, meaning they will not shrink or stretch in a washer or dryer. 

   4. Try to hand wash and air dry your clothes in direct sunlight. 

Prefer to wash your delicate clothes that are prone to shrinkage by hand. Washing by hand must be tiring, but it will save your favourite clothes from the wear and tear of a washer and dryer. 

Furthermore, air drying your clothes in sunlight gives fresh, wrinkle-free, naturally scented clothes. 

5.  Follow the manufacturer’s manual to set washing or drying cycles.

Besides all other instructions, you must read the user manual for the washing and drying cycles. A manual provides proper guidelines to set the wash cycle according to your clothes. Read also:  Clean washing machine bleach.

Which clothes shrink in a washer or dryer?

Most clothes tend to shrink due to hot water and high heat cycles. Natural fabrics are more prone to shrinkage, including silk, wool, and cotton clothing.  

Natural fabrics are made up of fibres that are not straight. So, the manufacturers apply the tension to stretch and straighten the fibres. So, when placed in a washer or dryer, the fabrics made up of natural fibre lose their tension and shrink due to high heat cycles.

Which clothes do not shrink in a washer or dryer?

Synthetic fibres are less prone to shrinkage. They are made of polyester nylon, rayon, and other materials made up of straight petroleum-based yarn that does not lose its tension and texture when placed in a washer or dryer. 

How to unshrink clothes?

You can get back your shrunk clothes to their original size by following a few steps:

  • Take lukewarm water in a tub and add hair conditioner or baby shampoo. 
  • Soak your clothes in the tub. 
  • Let them rest for 30 minutes. 
  • Take your clothes from the tub and remove the extra water by gently twisting the clothes. 
  • Take two towels. 
  • Place your clothes on the towel and roll them.
  • Then, lay your clothes on the other towel by stretching them as much as you want.
  • Let your clothes air dry. 
  • Enjoy your favourite clothes which will fit you now. 

Clothes shrink in a washer or dryer FAQs.

Can you shrink the clothes that are too big?

Yes, you can shrink your large-sized clothes by placing them in the washer’s hot water. Besides this, you can also place your clothes in a dryer at a high heat setting. This way, the high heat or hot water will shrink your clothes. 

Does cold water shrink clothes?

No, cold water will not cause your clothes to shrink. Cold water maintains the texture of your clothes and does not let the fibres lose their shape.

Final Thoughts

Clothes tend to shrink when exposed to high heat or hot water in the washer and dryer. Cotton clothes, silk, and woolen fabrics get shrunk in washing or drying cycles.  But you can prevent shrinkage of your clothes by washing them in cold water or drying them at low temperatures.
We hope the above article helps you understand why does clothes shrink. Now, you can save your clothes from getting shrunk.