Clothes soaking in a washer

How To Help Prevent Shrinking Clothes in Your Laundry

If you commonly find yourself wondering how to prevent shrinking clothes, you’ll be happy to know that there are steps you can take to help prevent items like your favorite wool sweater from shrinking several sizes in the laundry. Read on to learn how water temperature, washer and dryer settings and fabric types can all play a role in preventing (or causing) your clothes to shrink in the laundry.

WHY DO CLOTHES SHRINK?

Fabric type and heat are two major factors when it comes to clothes shrinking in the laundry. Certain fabrics, like wool and cotton, are more prone to shrinking because their fibers constrict when they’re exposed to the heat of the dryer. Before washing, separate out any fabrics that may be susceptible to shrinking, so you can wash and dry them in a different manner, such as with a cooler temperature setting.

DOES WASHING OR DRYING SHRINK CLOTHES?

Using high temperatures for washing or drying clothes significantly increases the chances of shrinkage for certain fabrics. Conversely, opting for low or no heat during washing and drying helps protect delicate fabrics and may help prevent shrinkage.

CAN YOU PREVENT CLOTHES FROM SHRINKING?

The good news is that there are things you can do to help prevent your clothes from shrinking. Always start by checking your garment’s care label. If you’re especially nervous about your shrinkable item, you could wash your clothes by hand and air dry to avoid any heat and tumbling from the washer and dryer. Or if you’re looking to save more time, you could wash your clothes on the delicate cycle with a cool setting and then toss them in the dryer on the lowest heat setting, or on an Air Only cycle. And there’s also the option of dry cleaning, which will usually help prevent shrinking. Your care label will usually give you a better idea of how your particular garment can be treated.

HOW TO AVOID SHRINKING CLOTHES

Follow these steps to help prevent shrunken clothes and cause less damage to fabrics.

SUPPLIES
  • Detergent
tools
  • Rack or clothesline to hang laundry
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STEP 1: Consult the care guide on clothing tags

Different fabrics require different wash and dry settings. Check all care tags and then separate your garments according to the laundry symbols and instructions listed on the tag. If your garment is missing the care tag, a good laundry tip to help prevent shrinking in general is to wash on cold, delicate cycles and dry with low or no heat.

A washer icon

STEP 2: Wash with cold water and delicate cycles

There are a lot of ways to do laundry so it’s important to understand how your washer works. Look for a cold water wash option and run the delicate cycle for lower spin speeds that won’t stretch fabrics as much. If you’re especially concerned, you can always hand wash or dry clean your garments.

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STEP 3: Dry with low heat or air dry

When it comes to drying your clothes, the best way to prevent shrinking is by selecting tumble dry with low or no heat. If you don’t have a zero heat option on your dryer, such as Air Only, you can also hang your clothes up to air dry to avoid extra heat or tumbling.

SHOP MAYTAG® WASHERS AND DRYERS

Maytag® washers and dryers are built with a range of features and settings that help you tackle your laundry items—from delicate, shrinkable garments to towels and sportswear. Find washer and dryer options from Maytag brand that fit your lifestyle and needs.

DISCOVER MORE LAUNDRY TIPS FROM MAYTAG BRAND

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