Last Updated on September 12, 2022
Have you ever experienced your clothes feeling too tight to wear right after washing or drying? You may wonder if you have gained some extra weight because you find it difficult to adjust inside your favorite cotton shirt.
The next thing that pops up in your head is how to take care of your clothes. Cotton clothes shrink to 3% if treated inside the washer or dryer. The spinner stretches the thread of cotton fibers firmly while the dryer’s heat contracts the fibers.
Many cotton clothes do not shrink in a dryer due to pre-shrinking treatment. However, if you are wondering does your cotton cloth shrink in the dryer and searching for some ways to prevent it, this post will provide the right instructions.
Does Cotton Shrink in Washer or Dryer
The best strategy to keep your cotton clothes safe from shrinking is to air dry them. Usually, professionals recommend using a tumble-dryer that doesn’t allow cotton to shrink. Also, maintaining the heat at a lower temperature prevents shrinking.
You may also add wool balls inside the dryer, decreasing the time to dry clothes. It will reduce the twists while enhancing the proper flow of air. In the end, the minimum heat will reach clothes without damaging the original cotton fabric.
The clothes shrink faster compared to beddings or cotton towels.
Does 100% Cotton Shrink In The Dryer
There is a high possibility that 100% cotton clothes can easily shrink in the dryer. The fiber will absorb water and heat in the presence of high temperatures or moisture. This will lead to stretching or shrinking of cotton. Due to the massive absorption of water, cotton fibers stretch faster.
When you place cotton in a heated area, its fibers start contracting, reducing its size. It is not necessary that 100% cotton will always shrink in a dryer or washing machine. Manufacturers shrink some clothes before they are sold.
However, you can shrink a cotton cloth that the manufacturer has already shrunk, such as washing a cotton shirt repeatedly in the hot wash cycle.
How to Prevent Cotton From Shrinking
The easiest and simplest way to prevent cotton clothes from shrinking is to air-dry them. It’d be better to dry your cotton clothes by hanging them on strings instead of putting them inside the dryer. Though you can use a dryer, some important measures are suggested here to avoid any damage.
- You should buy clothes that do not shrink under any circumstances, such as synthetic or pre-shrunk cotton.
- Prices of such cotton clothes will be higher due to protective layers.
- For the initial wash, you can use cold water. You should avoid using the hot water as it will cause more shrinking.
- In the dryer, keep the heat minimum. Though it will take more time to dry clothes, the risk of cotton shrink will reduce.
- The tumbling feature in some dryers allows easy drying without any heat.
Does Cotton Shrink in Hot Or Cold Water
Cotton doesn’t shrink in cold water as it is completely safe for fiber, but you should never wash it in hot water. It is also recommended to avoid setting the hot temperature in the dryer. This will also cause extra contraction in cotton fibers.
The specific temperature range safe for cotton is below 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature above this range is damaging for cotton, and the fiber will weaken over time.
To avoid the dryer’s heat, hang your cotton clothes in open areas to air dry.
Why Cotton Shrink in Dryer
The major reason for cotton clothes shrinking is the material which is totally organic and made of natural fibers. Due to their organic nature, these clothes aren’t resistant to bear enough heat. In contrast, man-made clothes fibers are made in a way to have maximum resistance to heat.
Also, cotton starts stretching at high heat, weakening the natural fiber. The cloth will become more vulnerable, and its damage will be irreplaceable.
How to Unshrink Cotton
It might be frustrating to see your favorite T-shirt too short to wear. Fortunately, there are some ways to unshrink cotton clothes back to their original size. This can be done by stretching the cloth fiber to restore the previous shape and size.
- Take a bucket and fill it with warm water. Make sure not to use too hot water.
- Now add 2 Tbsp of baby shampoo inside water.
- Put your cotton clothes in it.
- Let them rest in the water for almost half an hour.
- Pick your clothes out of the bucket and wring them to remove extra water.
- Place the cotton over a towel and stretch it gently to get the original size.
- Keep stretching and drying it for a few hours till the cotton unshrinks. Drying it naturally or using a fan to speed up the drying process is recommended.
Ways to Avoid Cotton From Shrinking Inside Washer or Dryer
When cotton is exposed to heat more often, it shrinks and loses strength—however, some ways to keep your clothes shrink-free without any trouble are mentioned below:
Check The Label
Some care labels attached to the clothes recommend safe washing or drying. The manufacturer suggests the right methods and cleaning agents under this label. Although, the precautions are mentioned in the form of symbols that not everyone understands.
Check for the symbols displaying hot and cold temperatures. The pre-shrunk sign will also be present on the tag. So you must follow the instructions to get the best results.
Make it a habit to wash different types of clothes separately to avoid damaging the delicate ones. Turn the wash cycles according to the nature and fiber of the cloth. This will make it easy to clean all clothes while no damage to the fiber will occur.
Run Compatible Wash Cycle
Always select the right cycles on your washer. Make sure the clothes are safe under that specific cycle. Such as, washing delicate clothes in too hot cycle will disrupt the original fiber, and threads will come out of it.
Another way to keep clothes damage-free is hand washing.
Dry Them Carefully
The end part of the washing process is to dry clothes. It is best to dry clothes in air. In case of using a dryer, you must adjust the right temperatures. High temperature isn’t good for cotton clothes.