Expert Tips for Preventing Laundry Shrinkage


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We’ve all been there before; you pull your favorite shirt out of the dryer just to find it shrunk down to an unwearable size! It’s frustrating, but there are a few simple reasons why your garments shrink after completing a cycle. Keep reading for some simple tips on how to prevent clothes from shrinking in a dryer.


Why Do Clothes Shrink in the Dryer

There are several reasons why your clothes shrink, including the fiber type, the temperature, and rotation. Different materials react differently when dried, especially when heat and agitation are included. While some fabrics are perfectly okay in the dryer, others should never see the inside of your machine. Natural fibers, such as wool and cotton will stretch more than man-made fibers, such as polyester and nylon, and will often shrink more when exposed to heat and agitation. As the dryer is tossing your clothes around, the fabrics gradually constrict, leading to a shrunken sweater or a too-tight t-shirt.

How to Prevent Clothes From Shrinking in the Dryer

Even if you follow most laundry rules, shrinkage can still happen. If you’re looking to avoid this common mishap, take a look at some laundry techniques we’re sharing that will help prevent your clothes from shrinking.

Check clothing labels

Always read the clothing tag before washing and drying your clothes. Pay attention to the water temperature, cycle recommendation, and drying instructions. Delicate fabrics, like wool, cashmere, and silk, will do best when either hand washed or dry cleaned, where cotton clothing does best in a gentle laundry cycle.


Use cold water 

Cold or warm water is less damaging to most fabrics. Your favorite shirt is much more likely to shrink if washed or dried in hot temperatures.


Use proper wash/dry cycles

Avoid using heavy-duty cycles on clothes prone to shrinking and consider using the delicate cycle instead. You can also separate delicate clothing into mesh bags for increased protection. Avoid using high heat when drying, and instead, opt for a low heat setting. You can also remove your clothes from the dryer when they are still slightly damp and lay flat or hang them to finish air-drying.


Air dry when necessary 

Not every article of clothing is meant for the dryer. Letting your clothes air dry is a great way to prevent them from shrinking.


Consider a High-Efficiency Washer

If you’re in the market for a new washing machine, consider purchasing a front-loading or top-loading high-efficiency washer. These washing machines are often made without a center agitator, which can be damaging to your clothes and cause shrinkage.


We hope we helped answer the age-old question of “why do my clothes shrink in the dryer?” and provided some helpful tips to prevent this annoyance from occurring. If you are looking for a local full-service laundromat that is open 24/7 and provides self-serve and drop-off options, consider stopping into Bakers Centre Laundry today!