How to Prevent Clothes from Shrinking And Stretching
So you have just picked out your favourite skirt, dress or shirt for the day only to find out that it doesn’t fit you right anymore after washing. This is extremely disheartening, right. Unluckily this usually happens many times with clothes becoming smaller or stretching out to the full size you wash and dry them. You must be wondering what exactly happens to them, read on to find out more.
Why do clothes shrink and stretch?
You might have done your laundry following all the “rules”, but your clothes still shrink and stretch constantly. How your clothes turn out after washing heavily depends on the manufacturing process way before you head to your favourite store to purchase them. The manufacturing techniques weave as well as the fibres used to come into play.
Your clothes will stretch as per the kind of material used to make them. You will notice that clothes made using natural fibres like wool; bamboo and cotton tend to stretch more compared to those made using human-made fibres. Synthetic clothing fibres include the likes of nylon, polyester and acrylic. In addition, loose fabrics will stretch more after you wear or wash them when compared to tighter ones. Loose weaves, nonetheless shrink or tighten up more when you wash heat or agitate them than robust weaves.
The good news is there are several correct laundry techniques that you can use to reduce shrinking and stretching. It is also good to note that nearly all clothes experience some shrinking and stretching when you wear and wash them as well. Here are some techniques you can use to reduce shrinking and stretching to ensure that your garments are within their original fit.
How to prevent your clothes from shrinking and stretching:
• An important thing to do before buying any garment is to read the labels. Check if the label has the word preshrunk. If the garment is preshrunk, it means that the manufacturer has used woven fabric or it has been preshrunk before cutting and sewing meaning that it will shrink less for as long as it lasts.
• It is advisable to use cold water when cleaning your clothes to help reduce the amount of damage that will occur. Usually using hot water to wash your clothes causes the fibre to relax and become less tight, causing them to lose shape.
• Always remember to check labels on your garment for clear instructions on the best way to care for them. The tags will also show you the correct temperature to use on the fabric. You will also get to know whether it is best to hand wash the garment or dry clean it. By checking the labels, it will also be possible to see the laundry cycle as well as the dryer cycle recommendations.
• You will surely find it more convenient to dry your clothes using the dryer given the short time it takes. Nevertheless, if you are out to keep your clothes from shrinking, you may want to go the old-fashioned air-drying way. Remember to dry loosely woven or knitted garments on flat surfaces to prevent them from stretching.
• If it is not possible to air dry your clothes, be keen to apply lower heat settings when drying them using a dryer. Remove the garments when a little damp and air dry them. Too much heat does not go easy on your clothes.
• Another way to ensure clothes do not shrink or stretch too much is to opt for the delicate cycle. The low agitation when using gentle cycle allows for less spinning, thus keeping clothes in their original shape and size. As well, consider hand washing your clothes to prevent the shrinking and stretching.
• Washing machines that do not come with the centre agitator such as top loading and front loading washers cause less damage to your garments, translating to reduced chances of shrinkage. The agitator present in low-quality washing machines cause damage and stretching of clothes, so consider a high-quality one.
• Lastly, take into account washing your clothes regularly to prevent stretching. Take, for example, 100% pure cotton blue jeans, when you wear them for an extended period without washing, the fibre tends to relax and loose.
Stretching and shrinking your clothes to get them back to the original fit:
Occasionally, our readers, who find the outfit they've always wanted but are too big ask us if it is possible to shrink them to a perfect fit. To shrink such clothes, you will have to do the opposite of what’s recommended in this article. You will need to wash the clothes using hot water, a heated drying cycle together high agitation.
Tips for saving shrunken clothes
• To save shrunken cotton and linen clothes, use a hot iron to flatten the fibres to loosen up the body and add some length to the sleeves.
• You may have to rewash and reshape shrunken woollen sweaters to get them back to their original fit.