Do Clothes Shrink In Hot Water? [FAQs]

Do Clothes Shrink In Hot Water?

Have you ever thrown your favorite shirt or dress into the washing machine, only to find it shrunken and unwearable afterward? If so, you may be wondering if hot water is to blame.

Do clothes shrink in hot water? The answer is yes, but with some caveats.

Short answers

  • Yes, clothes can shrink in hot water.
  • Clothes made of natural fibers, like cotton, are more likely to shrink in hot water than synthetic materials.
  • Hot water is less likely to affect clothes that have already been pre-shrunk or treated to prevent shrinking.

Reasons why

There are several reasons why clothes can shrink in hot water:

  • Heat: When clothes are exposed to hot water, the fibers can contract and shrink. This is especially true for natural fibers like cotton, which are more heat-sensitive.
  • Agitation: The spinning and tumbling of a washing machine can cause fibers to rub against each other, leading to additional shrinkage.
  • Drying: Drying clothes in a hot dryer can also cause shrinkage, especially if the clothes are already wet.


To prevent clothes from shrinking in hot water, try these tips:

  • Check the care label: Always check the care label of your clothes to see if they can be washed in hot water. If the label says to wash in cold water, follow those instructions.
  • Use a lower temperature: If you need hot water, try lowering the temperature to prevent excessive shrinkage.
  • Air-dry: Instead of using a dryer, air-dry your clothes to prevent additional shrinkage.

How to

If you have already accidentally shrunk your clothes in hot water, here are some tips for fixing the problem:

  • Stretch the fabric: While the clothes are damp, gently stretch the material to its original shape and size.
  • Use fabric conditioner: Fabric conditioner can help relax the fibers and reduce shrinkage.
  • Take it to a professional: If all else fails, take your clothes to a professional cleaner who can try to restore them to their original size.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Will all clothes shrink in hot water?
A: No, clothes made of synthetic materials are less likely to shrink in hot water.

Q: Can I prevent my clothes from shrinking?
A: Yes, by following the care label instructions, using a lower temperature, and air-drying instead of using a dryer.

Q: Can I unshrink clothes that have already shrunk?
A: Yes, by stretching the fabric, using fabric conditioner, or taking it to a professional cleaner.

Related topics

  • How to care for your clothes
  • Tips for washing delicate fabrics
  • Common laundry mistakes to avoid
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