Are you wondering how to deal with cotton shrinkage? It is no secret that 100% cotton clothing and even some cotton blends tend to shrink when laundered. The key to dealing with cotton clothing and preventing rapid shrinkage is to learn as much as possible about the care and cleaning of cotton clothing.
Items needed to deal with cotton shrinkage:
- Clothing care labels
- Properly sized cotton clothing and garments
- Access to a dry cleaner or home laundry
- Understand why cotton clothing and material shrinks. Cotton suffers two types of shrinkage. The cotton fibers actually shrink themselves over time in a type called progressive shrinkage. A second type of shrinkage, called, relaxation shrinkage, occurs when the fabric tension is released or relaxed when washed or steamed—causing the once tense fibers to return to their original size. This is why cotton shrinks the most during its first laundering!
- Read and follow clothing manufacturer care labels carefully. For many consumers, a 100% cotton clothing label is a deal breaker. Cotton clothing typically requires ironing and special washing considerations that blended fabrics do not. In order to maintain cotton clothing appearance and avoid shrinkage, it is important to follow the care instructions carefully and completely. If an item suggests that it be line dried, even a delicate dryer cycle may damage or cause cotton shrinkage.
- Buy cotton tshirts and tight fitting cotton clothing a size larger. If reasonable buy cotton clothing a little larger than your normal size. This allows for you to wear the clothing longer should it unexpectedly shrink during care and cleaning. Even a pre-shrunk cotton item will be prone to some shrinkage, so plan accordingly when purchasing such items.
- Consider dry cleaning your cotton items to avoid shrinkage. If laundering details are not your specialty, consider dry cleaning difficult cotton items just as you do your favorite wool clothing. Dry cleaning maintains the integrity of the fabric without risking your favorite clothes in a laundry room mishap!
- Accept that cotton clothing care may not fit your lifestyle. If you not able to successfully care for cotton clothing, accept that fact and move on. There are a number of cotton blends that offer much of the same styling and comfort as 100% cotton without the work.