Finally! The Real Reason Your Clothes Are Shrinking in the Wash

These easy tips will save your clothes from shrinking in the washing machine.

If you’ve ever done laundry, you’ve probably shrunk a favorite sweater or two (we’ve all been there). There is no disappointment quite like pulling a garment out of the washing machine, only to discover that it’s now small enough to fit your cat. And you’re not alone; shrinking laundry is one of the most common laundry mistakes. So what’s the deal?

According to Business Insider, it’s likely that your laundry is getting too hot. Washing clothes in hot water (or drying them using hot air) shrinks the fabric. Although fibers of polymer are naturally short, they are stretched out when made into clothes. Applying heat releases that tension, making the fibers return to their natural state. Hence the miniaturized shirts and shorts.

Luckily, avoiding shrinkage is easier than you think. Just make sure to check the garment’s tag to determine the kind of fabric that it’s made of. Because cotton and wool both absorb quite a bit of water, they will shrink faster, so you should wash those garments in cold water. Natural-synthetic blends like nylon and polyester, on the other hand, absorb less water and are thus more heat-resistant.

You can also stick to shrink-proof or pre-shrunk clothes, which won’t shrink after being washed. Why? The tension in the fibers has already been released by its many cycles through the manufacturer’s washing machine.

Watch the video below for instructions on preventing clothes shrinkage.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest