How to Prevent New Clothes from Shrinking

Is there anything more depressing than spending your hard-earned money on a beautiful new sweater or dress or top and then pulling it out of the dryer with a sinking heart? You may believe that all new clothes shrink, but it doesn’t have to be that way! There are tips and tricks that will help you keep your wardrobe looking like new no matter how frequently they’re cleaned.

Please Read the Care Labels

The first tip may feel obvious, but most people just don’t read the care labels on their clothing, or they remove them thinking they’ll remember the instructions. Before you chunk your brand new additions into the wash, read the care instructions and make sure you’re washing them correctly. 

Some clothing needs to be washed in cold water because of the fabric and dyes, while others do best in warm water. Some fabrics require drip-drying while others can be put in the dryer on low heat. Following the care instructions will help keep your clothes in good condition for longer. 

And if an item says “dry clean only” do NOT attempt to wash it yourself. This means that the fabric could be water or heat intolerant, or both. Dry cleaning is performed with special chemicals rather than water and the process cannot be replicated at home. 

Use Cold Water

High temperatures in either air or water can result in fabric fibers contracting and shrinking. This causes puckering, pulling, and permanent shrinkage in the worst cases. Because wash cycles are generally longer than drying cycles, lowering the water temperature can help decrease the chance of shrinking significantly. 

But if you do notice shrinkage when you pull your clothes out of the wash, it’s best to air dry it rather than put it in the dryer, no matter what the care instructions say it can handle. Instead, gently stretch the fabric. Do not pull it hard. Rather, smooth it with your hands on a flat surface, using light pressure. Then hang it to dry. The weight of the wet fabric can help pull the fibers back down. 

Air Dry 

Another way to protect your clothes from shrinking is to air dry them. This reduces their exposure to heat and also decreases the general wear and tear the fabric experiences. You can air dry by hanging your clothes in the house, or you can invest in an outdoor clothesline or rack. Just make sure that you watch the weather on laundry day or you could end up having to start all over!

Don’t Wash Every Time You Wear a Piece

This is a secret to clothing longevity that most people don’t talk about. But you do not have to wash a piece of clothing every time you wear it. If there are no stains and it doesn’t smell bad, you can hang it up and wear it again. 

This is especially true for jeans. Proper care for denim is generally to not wash it until it’s visibly dirty or smells bad. The same goes for sweaters, dresses, and T-shirts. 

The only exception may be for white and extremely light-colored clothing you don’t wear often. Sometimes sweat stains and other invisible stains can cause white clothing to yellow over time. So it’s best to wash white clothes after wearing them if you think you may have sweat in them or spilled something like white wine or vinegar.  

Consider Using a Laundry Service for Specialty Pieces

If there are some items that are too precious or delicate to risk washing yourself, consider using a professional laundry service. They’ll have the tools, chemicals, and experience needed to ensure that your clothes stay in peak condition. 

If you’re interested in laundry services in Little Rock, contact Hangers Cleaners for more information.