How to Prevent Clothes from Shrinking – 3 Tips for Delicate Clothing

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Got an outfit that you’re afraid could shrink in the laundry? Garments can shrink for different reasons, so it’s good to know how to prevent clothes from shrinking.

If you don’t want to worry about shrinking fabrics while doing laundry, there are several methods you can use to avoid shrinkage. Read on to discover tips that work best.

How to Prevent Clothes from Shrinking

How to Prevent Clothes from Shrinking

Tip 1: While Washing Them

If you want clothes to last longer and look good, washing the garments following these tips will prevent them from shrinking.

1. Use cold water to wash your clothes with cold water laundry detergent. Hot water may result in shrinkage, and it can also damage the colors of the fabric.

2. Use delicate wash laundry detergent for items like scarves, silk, and lace.

3. Select the delicate cycle if you want your clothing to keep the original shape and size. It uses lower agitation, which means less shaking and moving, as well as a shorter slow spin cycle when draining the water. To help clean better, add an Extra Rinse to the delicate cycle.

4. Avoid using high heat when you are drying your clothes, as this will also cause shrinkage. Select low heat for better results even though it would take longer to dry. You can add laundry drying balls so that it takes less time.

5. To avoid shrinkage, place delicate items like hosiery, stockings, favorite blouses, lace, and chiffon into laundry bags. You can get bra bags made to keep the shape of bras intact. That way, you won’t have to resort to hand washing every delicate item just because it’s a safe bet.

Tip: You can also use these laundry bags to organize your travel bag.

6. Cashmere and wool sweaters need to be washed with laundry detergent made for wool.

If you don’t have any wool laundry detergent, you can use shampoo, but only if you’re washing by hand.

If you want to skip the dry cleaners, remember that the material requires delicate washing with little to no wringing. That means you can set the washing machine to cold, delicate, and low spin. If you have to use a different setting, the possibility of shrinking these natural animal hairs increases.

Also, you’ll want to protect the clothing by putting it in a large mesh laundry bag.

7. After washing, hang dry the most delicate of your clothes if possible to avoid shrinkage caused by heat during the drying process. If you want to use the dryer, you can set it to delicate on air dry or low heat.

Tip 2: Dry Your Garments Carefully to Prevent Them from Shrinking

Clothes shrink when they are put in the dryer after being washed. It is the result of the tumbling motion in the dryer that causes the fibers in your clothes to rub against each other and get pulled, causing them to shrink.

To prevent clothes from shrinking when they are drying, it is essential to dry them on low or no heat at all. This will keep clothes from shrinking and you can continue wearing them for a long time without having to buy new ones.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when using your dryer:

1. Make sure the temperature is not high or medium. Choose the lowest heat setting to minimize the risk of shrinkage.

2. If your dryer has an air-dry setting, use this option because it tumbles clothes instead of using heat. However, it could take a lot longer to dry.

3. Add a few dryer balls to increase the drying speed.

4. To finish drying, you can lay your clothes on a drying rack.

Air-Drying Laundry Tips

Do you prefer to air-dry your clothes? Many people do it after washing their clothing. This is not only more energy-efficient, but it is also a good way to avoid shrinkage.

This shrink-conscious practice is good for delicate items, especially if you want to dry a lot of them at a time. Air drying on a foldable rack is also helpful for those who don’t have enough room to lay their garments flat after washing. You will have two options when it comes to air drying:

1. You can hang your clothes outside on a washing line (a clothesline is actually a cord or rope stretched between 2 points), or

2. Place them on either a drying rack or a rod indoors.

Which method you choose will depend on your needs and where you live. If you don’t have a yard or balcony, you’ll have to dry them inside.

If you do it outside, remember that items made of wool should not be exposed to direct sunlight. That’s because it may result in shrinkage. Also, do not hang your garments in high winds to avoid damage or stretching.

Tip 3: Following Good Laundry Practices

Shrinkage of clothes is a common problem for many people. The best way to avoid this problem is to follow good laundry practices. First, you need to find out why your clothes shrink.

This can happen because of a variety of reasons, such as high water temperature, high dryer heat, and the use of too much detergent. Once you’ve determined the reason, you will need to follow some practices that are good for your laundry to avoid shrinking. Read on to learn more.

1. There are fabric-specific instructions that can be found on the fabric care labels of clothing. Pay particular attention to drying instructions as well as the suggested laundry cycle and water temperature.

2. Use cold water laundry detergent when washing with cold water for best results.

3. Before washing, make sure your items are sorted by color and/or fabric type. The silk and lace garments should be washed in a separate load. This will make it easier for you to find the garments needed besides saving you time and reducing shrinkage. If you don’t want to separate clothes before washing, use a laundry hamper sorter with multiple sections.

4. Once the laundry has dried, remove it from the dryer as soon as possible. This simple tip can prevent your clothes from shrinking by reducing wrinkling upfront.

FAQs About How to Prevent Clothes from Shrinking

Why Do Clothes Shrink?

Clothes usually shrink due to thermal shrinking. Washing them in hot water causes the fabric to shrink. This can also happen when you dry your clothes using hot air. Also, your laundry may shrink due to fabric stress from high pressure wringing and high spin speeds. However, some fabrics like cotton shrink over time as they get brittle.

How Do You Avoid Shrinking Your Clothes?

Using the right amount of detergent and dryer sheets can help avoid shrinkage. However, the best way to prevent clothes from shrinking when using a washing machine is to use cold water, low spin speed on a delicate cycle. Your next best bet is by hand washing and being careful about pressing the water and not over-wringing. For natural fibers, it’s better to let them dry on a laundry hamper.


You love your new clothes but you are worried they could shrink when they’re laundered. Shrinkage is an issue that doesn’t need to happen. If you know how to prevent clothes from shrinking, you’ll be able to take better care of your clothes.

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