Imagine the clothes you always love to wear because you feel confident and comfortable with them getting shrunk after washing and drying cycles. That’s a real nightmare! Did you know that, on average, 60% of clothes shrink after just one wash? This shocking statistic highlights the need for a deeper understanding of how to preserve our wardrobe essentials. 

So, to help you prevent clothes from shrinking, we’ve gathered up laundry tips you can follow when washing clothes to take care of its natural fibres. Worry no more and let’s diver deeper into understanding how to avoid shrinking clothes. 

What Causes Clothes to Shrink? 

Shrinking clothes can be attributed to various factors, with heat and agitation playing pivotal roles. When garments are exposed to high temperatures or frequent agitation in the washing machine, the fibres contract, leading to that unfortunate reduction in size. To sort this out, here’s a list of key reasons why clothes shrink: 

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  • Heat Exposure: Exposing clothes to excessive heat, especially during washing and drying, causes the fibres to contract, leading to shrinkage. Hot water and high heat settings in dryers are the common culprits. 
  • Agitation in Washing Machine: Frequent and vigorous agitation during the washing process can strain fabric fibres, contributing to their contraction. Opting for gentler washing cycles can minimise this risk. 
  • Fabric Type: Not all fabrics react the same way to washing and drying. Natural fabrics like cotton are more prone to shrinkage, while synthetic materials may be more resilient. Knowing your fabric types helps in adopting suitable care practices. 
  • Overuse of Dryers: Over reliance on the tumble drying method without considering the fabric’s tolerance for heat is a prevalent cause of shrinkage. Air drying or using lower heat settings can be a safer alternative for less shrinkage. 


Woman holding washed clothes with her arm

10 Practical Tips on How to Avoid Shrinking Clothes 

Preserving the size and integrity of your clothes requires a thoughtful approach to laundry care. Now that we understand the causes of clothes shrinking, let’s move forward into the practical tips that will help you safeguard your wardrobe.  

  1. Sort Clothes by Fabric Type

Sorting your clothes before washing is a fundamental step in preserving their quality. Different fabrics do have different care requirements, and washing them together can lead to unwanted consequences. For instance, washing a delicate silk blouse with heavier cotton items might result in damage to the silk fibers. To avoid such issues, take the time to sort your laundry into categories based on fabric types. 

  1. Use Cold Water for Washing

The temperature of the water you use during washing plays a crucial role in preventing shrinkage. Opting for cold water is particularly effective in safeguarding your garments. Hot water can cause certain fabrics to contract, leading to shrinkage. Beyond preventing this undesirable outcome, using cold or warm water also has additional benefits. It conserves energy, reducing your environmental impact and utility costs. Making this small adjustment to your laundry routine can contribute to both garment longevity and sustainability. 

  1. Gentle Detergents and Softeners

The choice of laundry detergent and fabric softener significantly influences the lifespan of your clothes. Harsh chemicals in some detergents can weaken fabric fibres over time, making them more prone to shrinking. To prevent shrinking clothes, choose to add little laundry detergent and softener in washing to protect the integrity of your garments. 

  1. Air Dry or Tumble Dry Low

Drying methods are critical to prevent clothes from shrinking. Air drying, especially for delicate fabrics, is a gentle approach to dry clothes and avoid shrinkage. If you prefer using a dryer, make sure to set it on a low-heat setting drying instructions. Furthermore, too much heat can lead to fabric contraction, resulting in shrinkage.  

Man setting up washing machine for cleaning clothes

  1. Avoid Overloading the Washing Machine

Overcrowding your washing machine may seem like a time-saving approach, but it comes at the cost of garment quality—as clothes need space to move freely during the washing process. Overloading your washing machine can lead to friction between items, causing unnecessary wear and tear. This wear not only affects the fabric but can also contribute to shrinkage over time. To maintain the quality of your clothes, resist the temptation to overload the washing machine and give your garments the space they need to be washed properly. 

  1. Turn Clothes Inside Out

Preserving the outer appearance of your clothes is crucial to maintaining their aesthetic appeal. Turning clothes inside out before washing and drying is a simple yet effective strategy. This practice protects the outer surface from direct contact with other items, reducing the risk of friction-related damage. Additionally, turning clothes inside out helps preserve colours and prints, ensuring that your garments stay vibrant and visually appealing for a longer period of time. 

  1. Skip the Iron for Certain Fabrics

While ironing can contribute to a polished look, it’s essential to recognise when to skip this step, especially for fabrics prone to shrinkage. Ironing exposes clothes to heat, which can exacerbate the risk of contraction. Fabrics like wool, silk, and certain synthetics are particularly sensitive to high temperatures. Instead of ironing, consider alternative methods for wrinkle removal, such as steaming or stretching your wet shirt out on a flat surface or drying rack before air drying. This way, you maintain a wrinkle-free appearance without compromising the integrity of your garments. 

  1. Store Clothes Properly

Proper storage is often overlooked but is crucial in preventing clothes from losing their shape and elasticity. Hanging items that should not be folded and using appropriate hangers can make a significant difference. For instance, delicate knitwear is better stored folded to avoid stretching, while suits benefit from being hung on broad-shouldered hangers to maintain their shape. By paying attention to how you store your clothes, you can prevent distortion and elongation, preserving their original fit. 

  1. Address Stains Promptly

Stains are inevitable, but how you deal with them can impact your clothes’ longevity. Promptly addressing stains prevents the need for aggressive washing later on. Harsh stain-removing methods, if not done carefully, can contribute to fabric damage and shrinkage. Keep stain-removal products handy, and treat stains as soon as they occur. This proactive approach not only keeps your clothes looking pristine but also contributes to their overall health and durability. 

  1. Periodic Fabric Checks

Regularly inspecting your clothes for signs of wear and tear is a proactive measure to catch potential issues early on. Check seams, edges, and high-friction areas for any signs of stress or damage. Addressing these issues promptly can prevent irreversible damage and extend the life of your garments. By taking the time to inspect your clothes periodically, you demonstrate a proactive approach to garment care, ensuring that they remain in top condition for as long as possible. 

Woman happy holding clean clothes ready for folding

Clean Clothes With the Best Laundromats Near You 

Preserving the size and quality of your clothes doesn’t have to be a laundry mystery. By adopting these practical laundry tips, you can bid farewell to the frustration of accidental shrinking and extend the lifespan of your wardrobe. 

If you’re looking for a place to take care of your clothes, find no more! Liquid Laundromats has the best self-service laundry facilities to help you prevent clothing shrinkage. With our state-of-the-art equipment, we ensure that your clothes get the wash and dry cleaning they need. So, wait no more and visit our nearest location to you to experience the laundry like never before!