Shrinking and stretching of clothes is a major problem! We simply cannot deal with this; but can’t we really? Here are some tips on how to prevent your clothes from shrinking and stretching:
- Read the labels to learn how to care for clothes. Follow the guidelines regarding home washing vs dry cleaning, water temperature, type of laundry cycle and dryer cycle recommendations.
- While using cold water will not prevent all shrinking, using cold or warm water is less damaging to the fabric.
- The gentle cycle of a washer or hand-washing is also less damaging than washer cycles that have longer agitation and spin cycles to extract water.
- Front loading or top loading high efficiency washers without a centre agitator are less damaging and will cause less shrinkage than standard top loading washers.
- Air drying clothes is the most gentle method and helps prevent shrinkage. For loosely woven fabrics or knits, drying the garment on a flat surface will also prevent stretching.
- If you can’t air dry clothes, use lower heat settings on the dryer and remove the clothes while slightly damp. Excessive drying is hard on fabrics.
- Buy pre-shrunk clothes (read the labels). Pre-shrunk items have already been washed to avoid any significant shrinkage after the purchase – the fabric is therefore not stretched, as is often the case with cheaper clothes. Pre-shrunk items might be a bit more expensive, and there is no guarantee that they won’t shrink at all, but it is an option if you prefer to avoid any disappointments.
- If a favourite item has shrunk in the wash, there are a few things you can try to get it back to its normal size. One of the easiest methods is to soak your garment in cold water for an hour, let it air dry, and then stretch it out again, starting from the middle. Fingers crossed, the item will fit again; the tight feeling often goes away after a day of wearing it in!