Have you ever put on something that fit ideally last year, only to find out it’s now too small? You might be inclined to think that the clothes shrank, but is that the case?
Do Clothes Shrink Over Time?
Let’s look at the factors that can cause clothes to shrink over time and what you can do to prevent premature wear.
Heat & Humidity
Heat and humidity are two of the main culprits of shrinking clothing. If your clothes are made from natural fibers like cotton or wool, they will expand in humid climates and shrink in dry climates.
This kind of shrinkage is usually temporary, so don’t worry about it—unless you live in an area with extreme temperature fluctuations. In those cases, it’s best to invest in fabrics that won’t be affected by extreme temperatures (like acrylic or polyester).
Improper Cleaning & Drying Techniques
Another potential cause of shrinking clothing is improper cleaning or drying techniques. The hot water and high-heat setting on some washing machines can cause fabric fibers to contract and become brittle over time. This is especially true for delicate fabrics like silk, cashmere, and linen.
To avoid damaging your clothing, always read the care label before washing any item of clothing—and if there isn’t one, err on caution and use a cold-water wash cycle instead.
When drying your clothes, air drying is generally considered better than using a tumble dryer. However, if you opt for a tumble dryer, make sure you use the lowest heat setting possible—or even better yet, try not using heat at all! That way, you won’t risk damaging your fabric fibers and causing them to shrink prematurely.
Finally, chemical damage can also lead to shrinking clothing over time—mainly when harsh detergents or bleach are used. Harsh detergents contain surfactants that create suds that help remove dirt from fabric fibers but can also weaken them over time if used frequently.
Bleach should also be avoided as it breaks down fabric fibers faster than harsh detergents! Stick with mild detergent whenever possible, and ensure you always rinse thoroughly after washing, so no residue remains on your clothes.
So there you have it: three possible causes of shrinking clothing over time! Heat and humidity naturally cause some contraction in natural fabrics, while improper cleaning/drying techniques may damage delicate fabrics irreversibly.
And finally, harsh detergents/bleach should always be avoided as they will break down fabric fibers faster than anything else!
With these tips in mind, hopefully, you’ll worry less about shrinking clothing in the future!