Does Heat Shrink Clothes

Does heat shrink clothes? This is a common concern for many people who do laundry regularly. And the answer is yes, heat can shrink clothes, especially cotton and wool fabrics. In this article, we will explore why heat shrinks clothes, how to prevent shrinking, and what to do when your clothes shrink.

Why Does Heat Shrink Clothes?

Heat causes clothes to shrink because it causes the fibers in your clothes to tighten and bind together. When fibers tighten and bind together, they reduce in size, making your clothes shrink. Natural fibers like cotton and wool are more prone to shrinking because their fibers are more sensitive to high heat.

Additionally, the type of weave that your clothes have can also impact whether or not they shrink. Clothes made with a tight weave are more likely to shrink because there is less space between the fibers for them to move around. Clothes made with a looser weave may not shrink as much because there is more space for the fibers to move around.

How to Prevent Shrinking in Clothes

Now that you know that heat can shrink clothes, it’s important to understand how to prevent shrinking from happening. Here are a few tips to help prevent your clothes from shrinking:

1. Read the Care Label – Always check the care label on your clothes before you wash them. The label will provide you with important information about the best way to wash and dry your clothes.

2. Wash in Cold Water – Wash your clothes in cold water instead of hot water. Cold water is gentler on your clothes and will help prevent them from shrinking.

3. Air Dry – Instead of using a dryer, air dry your clothes. Hang them up outside or inside on a clothesline or drying rack.

4. Dry on Low Heat – If you must use a dryer, use it on low heat. High heat is the most significant contributor to shrinking.

5. Hand Wash – Some clothes, such as delicate fabrics or wool, may require hand washing. Be sure to follow the care label instructions for these types of clothes.

What to Do When Clothes Shrink

If your clothes have already shrunk, there are a few things you can do to try to undo the damage. Here are some steps to follow:

1. Soak in Water and Conditioner – Fill up a sink or tub with lukewarm water and add hair conditioner to help loosen the fibers. Soak your clothes for at least 30 minutes.

2. Stretch – After soaking, stretch your clothes gently while they are still wet. You can also use a flat surface to stretch them out.

3. Iron – Once your clothes are stretched out as much as possible, you can iron them while they are still damp. Use a low heat setting and be sure to use a pressing cloth (a cloth or towel placed between the iron and the garment) to prevent burning.

4. Dry – Once you have stretched and ironed your clothes, air dry them again, laying them flat or hanging them up. Be sure to handle the clothes gently throughout the process, as wet fibers can be fragile.


In conclusion, heat can shrink clothes, especially natural fibers like cotton and wool. To prevent shrinking from happening, be sure to read your clothes’ care instructions, wash them in cold water, air dry them when possible, and avoid high heat. If your clothes have already shrunk, there are steps you can take to try to undo the damage, but prevention is the best method. By following these tips and taking care of your clothes, you can help prevent them from shrinking and make them last longer.