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How to keep clothes from shrinking?

How to keep clothes from shrinking

Incorporating the following laundry tips into your routine may help prevent your family’s favorite clothes from shrinking.

1. Check fabric care labels before you buy & before doing laundry

The first step to preventing your clothes from shrinking is to follow the laundry instructions on your garment’s care tag. Check the care tag not only before laundering, but also before purchasing new clothing so you know what to expect.


Checking the care tag for fabric type can give you an idea if the garment is prone to shrinking, such as cotton or linen, or if garments are already “pre-shrunk.” Some garments may be deemed as “dry clean only” and shouldn’t be cleaned in a washer. In addition, be mindful to pay attention to the recommended water temperature, laundry cycle and drying instructions. As a general rule, washing clothes in cold, gentle cycles with low-heat drying can help prevent your garments from shrinking.

2. Use cold water and the proper wash cycles

If you only remember one rule about how to avoid shrinking clothes, remember this: keep it cool. Clothes are much more likely to shrink when exposed to hot water or high dryer settings.


Washing clothes in cold water goes a long way toward preserving the “off-the-rack” size. Avoiding heavy duty cycles, fast spins and high-heat drying can also prevent shrinkage. Instead, opt for a gentle cycle and place delicate clothes in a mesh laundry bag for added protection. When drying, consider a low-heat or air dry setting. When in doubt, always follow the instructions on your garment’s care tag.

3. Select the tumble dry or air dry setting

Drying your clothing on a tumble dry or air dry setting can help keep clothes from shrinking by minimizing wear to the fabric fibers. Your clothing’s care tag will provide the optimal temperature and dryer settings to help avoid shrinkage.

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