Corduroy Shrink: How to Prevent and Fix Shrunken Corduroy Clothes

Are you tired of your favorite corduroy pants or jacket shrinking in the wash? Corduroy is a popular fabric known for its durability and warmth.

However, it is also notorious for shrinking when exposed to high heat or improper washing techniques. But don’t worry, there are several methods you can use to prevent or reverse corduroy shrinkage.

Corduroy Shrink
Photo by Oli Woodman on Unsplash

Here are some tips to help you keep your corduroy clothes in tip-top shape:

  • Wash corduroy clothing in cold or warm water to avoid excessive heat that can cause shrinkage.
  • Check the care labels on your corduroy garments before washing. Some structured corduroy items like jackets should only be dry cleaned.
  • If your corduroy clothing has already shrunk, don’t panic. There are several methods you can use to unshrink it, including using lukewarm water and fabric softener, stretching it while damp, or using a hairdryer on a low heat setting.

By following these simple tips, you can keep your corduroy clothes looking great and avoid the frustration of shrinkage. So go ahead and rock that corduroy jacket or pants with confidence, knowing that you have the tools to keep them looking their best.

Understanding Corduroy Fabric

What is Corduroy Fabric?

Corduroy fabric is a type of material that is made from a combination of cotton, polyester, and other fibers. It is known for its distinctive texture, which is created by the nap or pile on the surface of the fabric.

The fabric has a soft, fuzzy texture due to the way it’s created – tiny fibers are interwoven into the material before being cut to form a distinct pattern of ridges and cords.

Corduroy Fabric Structure

The structure of corduroy fabric is what gives it its unique look and feel. The fabric is made up of a series of ridges or cords that run parallel to each other. These cords are created by weaving a series of yarns together and then cutting the nap to create the distinctive surface texture.

The size of cords can differ depending on the thickness of yarns and the distance between them. Also, the type of yarn used to create corduroy can alter the weight and sturdiness of the material.

Corduroy is a blend of various fibers, such as cotton, polyester, and others, which can determine the fabric’s texture, weight, and sturdiness.

Cotton fibers are often used in corduroy because they are soft, absorbent, and breathable. Polyester fibers are also commonly used in corduroy because they are durable and resistant to wrinkles and shrinkage.

Key Features

  • Soft and comfortable to wear
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Unique texture and pattern
  • Absorbent and breathable
  • Resistant to wrinkles and shrinkage
  • Can be dyed in a wide range of colors
  • Can be woven into a variety of patterns and designs

Caring for Corduroy Clothing

Washing and Drying Corduroy

When washing corduroy clothing, always refer to the care label for specific instructions. In general, it’s best to turn your corduroy clothes inside out before washing to protect the fabric’s surface.

  • Use cool or lukewarm water and a gentle cycle to prevent shrinkage and damage to the fabric.
  • Avoid using hot water, as it can cause the fabric to shrink.
  • Use a mild detergent that is free of bleach and fabric softeners.
  • After washing, tumble dry your corduroy clothing on low heat for about 10 minutes to remove wrinkles.
  • Remove corduroy from the dryer while it is still damp. Smooth seams, pockets, and shirt plackets and hang clothes to finish air drying.

Dry Cleaning Corduroy

If your corduroy clothing is labeled as “dry clean only,” take it to a professional cleaner. Dry cleaning is the safest way to clean corduroy, especially if the garment has embellishments or is made of a delicate fabric.

  • Always inform the cleaner that your garment is made of corduroy and ask them to use a gentle dry cleaning process.
  • Be sure to remove all items from the pockets before sending your corduroy clothing to the cleaner.

Hand Washing Corduroy

If you prefer to hand wash your corduroy clothing, follow these steps:

  • Fill a sink or basin with cool water and add a mild detergent.
  • Gently agitate the garment in the water for a few minutes.
  • Rinse the garment thoroughly with cool water.
  • Squeeze out excess water, but do not wring or twist the fabric.
  • Lay the garment flat on a clean towel and roll it up to remove excess water.
  • Hang the garment to air dry.

Remember to always follow the care label instructions for your specific corduroy clothing item to ensure it lasts as long as possible.

Preventing Corduroy Shrinkage

Understanding Corduroy Shrinkage

Corduroy is an intriguing material that has a distinctive ribbed look created by interweaving twisted fibers. Unfortunately, its special texture can cause it to shrink if exposed to high temperatures.

Exposing corduroy to high temperatures can lead to a shrinking disaster: the fibers in the fabric will contract, causing the material to reduce in size and leaving your pants, jackets, and hats a bit too snug.

Preventing Corduroy Shrinkage

  1. Read the Care Label: Before washing or drying your corduroy clothing item, be sure to read the care label. This will provide you with important information on how to care for the fabric, including the recommended washing and drying temperatures.
  2. Wash in Cold Water: To prevent shrinkage, it is best to wash your corduroy clothing item in cold water. This will help to keep the fibers in the fabric from contracting.
  3. Use a Gentle Detergent: When washing your corduroy clothing item, be sure to use a gentle detergent. Harsh detergents can damage the fibers in the fabric, causing it to shrink and lose its shape.
  4. Air Dry: To prevent shrinkage, it is best to air dry your corduroy clothing item. This will help to keep the fibers in the fabric from contracting due to high heat.
  5. Use a Lint Roller: To keep your corduroy clothing item looking its best, be sure to use a lint roller to remove any lint or fuzz that may have accumulated on the fabric.


  • Corduroy fabric does not normally shrink, but excessive heat can cause it to shrink in length rather than width.
  • The best way to prevent corduroy from shrinking is to wash it in cold water and avoid using high heat when drying it.
  • If you need to shrink corduroy, you can do so by washing it in hot water or drying it on high heat, but be careful not to overdo it.
  • Corduroy is a versatile fabric that can be used for a variety of clothing items, including pants, jackets, and shirts.
  • Corduroy can be a comfortable fabric to wear, especially during the colder months, as it provides warmth and insulation.
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