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Does Cotton Shrink? (Tips To Prevent Shrinking)

Sometimes you notice that your favorite shirt no longer fits you, and you might assume you have put on weight. However, what if this is not the case and your shirt has shrunk? I know that for many individuals who enjoy dressing up and appearing stylish, this is disastrous, especially if it is one of your favorite shirts.

However, there is no need to worry since I will talk about cotton, one of the most often used textiles, in this article. I am confident that you will agree that cotton is the most fabulous fabric, and you are using it frequently. I’ll attempt to answer the often-asked topic “does cotton shrink,” along with several additional tips for avoiding cotton shrinkage. So let’s get going.

Key Takeaways

  • Because it naturally wicks moisture away from the skin, cotton is one of the most popular textiles because it keeps you cool no matter the season. Cotton needs maintenance, though, just like any other fabric, or you risk having particular issues.
  • Make sure to wash cotton clothes in cold water.
  • Don’t worry if your cotton has already shrunk; there are ways to fix this issue. Once more, the remedy is cold water mixed with baby shampoo or any other type of hair conditioner.

Does Cotton Shrink? – A Brief Explanation

One of the most luxurious textiles is cotton, which is also the most adaptable, breathable, and durable. Cotton is one of the most widely used materials because it naturally wicks moisture away from the skin, keeping you cool regardless of the season. However, cotton needs upkeep just like any other fabric, or you can have specific problems. And one of those is shrinking.

So, as you can see from what I’ve said above, cotton is prone to shrinking, especially when exposed to severe temperatures and the shaking that comes with washing machines and dryers.

All of this means that you should take good care of your cotton clothes and consider any factors that could contribute to shrinking.

Does Cotton Shrink in Wash?

Depending on how and especially what temperatures you wash a cotton garment, it may shrink or not after washing.

Because the fibers from which cotton is created relax during the weaving process, the cotton can easily shrink in the wash if you wash it at a high temperature. As a result, the fibers will shorten and return to their former shape. All of this implies you shouldn’t wash your cotton clothes in hot water because doing so might cause problems like shrinking and make your garments no longer fit.

You guys are probably asking, “What do we have to do then?” but all you have to do is wash your cotton clothes in cold water. Since doing so prevents shrinkage and the fibers in the cold water from relaxing, your cotton clothes will stay the same as before washing.

In this instance, I want to draw attention to the distinction between 100% cotton and mixed cotton, such as polycotton. The hot water will quickly impact 100% cotton, causing it to shrink. However, cotton blended with polyester soon said polycotton is not as sensitive to hot water.

Do Cotton Fabrics Shrink in Dryer?

But once more, be sure to wash your cotton clothing in cold water. Because dryers have excessive heat and great friction, they can cause significant shrinkage in cotton. I can confirm that cotton clothing will shrink more in the dryer than when it is washed in hot water.

The type of cotton used to make your garments will also affect how much cotton shrinks. Since a combination of cotton with a fair amount of polyester will demonstrate resistance to high temperatures and tends to handle the dryer very well without any shrinking, a 100% cotton item will sustain further harm from your dryer.

Your cotton clothing is greatly affected by the heat in the dryer; any temperature above 29 degrees Celsius will cause the cotton fabric’s fibers to loosen and shorten.

A crucial point! Remember that untreated cotton should never, ever be dried in a dryer.

How To Prevent Cotton Garments From Shrinking?

You need to take a bit of additional care and make a little extra effort if you want to stop your cotton clothing from shrinking. Several techniques prevent your cotton clothing from shrinking, and all of them are really simple. Always follow the care directions on your cotton clothing; otherwise, it may shrink and stop fitting you. So. I’ll now explain what you can do to stop cotton from shrinking.

Hand Washing

Hand washing is the most excellent method for avoiding shrinkage in cotton clothing. Always attempt to wash your cotton clothing by hand in cold water with a very light detergent when it needs to be cleaned. All left is to give the item a little scrub, let it soak, and then rinse it in cool water.

Machine Washing

Perhaps you are too busy to hand wash your cotton clothing; nonetheless, using a washing machine is perfectly acceptable. However, be sure to pass them on a gentle cycle and in cool water; doing so will allow you to stop your cotton clothing from shrinking.

Air Drying

Dryers drastically shrink cotton clothing, so avoid using them. The best way to stop cotton from shrinking is to air dry them. Therefore, always use hangers to dry cotton clothing in indirect sunlight.

How to Unshrink Cotton?

If your cotton clothing has already shrunk, don’t worry; there are solutions to this problem. And now I’ll describe how to unshrink your cotton clothing; trust me; it is pretty simple.


When cotton is wet, it stretches out more quickly than dry cotton does. And this is a simple technique that will yield excellent results. In this situation, you must first run the garment under cold water before beginning to stretch the opposing sides till you feel that is sufficient.


The first step in this situation is to soak your cotton in cold water with two to three teaspoons of baby shampoo or hair conditioner. Give the fabric 15 minutes to dry. After that, rinse the cotton in lukewarm water until the conditioner gritty is gone. Put your cotton clothing on a flat surface once this process is finished, and use something heavy to hold the stretched-out clothing in place as it dries.

Final Words

Cotton is a delicate fabric that requires a little extra attention, as was already said. Therefore, there are a few things to consider if you want to use your cotton items for an extended time. Always be sure you wash cotton clothing in cold water since hot water will cause damage and cause the cotton to shrink. In this post, I tried to provide all the information you need to know, along with tips on stopping your cotton from shrinking.

I sincerely hope you enjoy it and don’t forget to return as there will be many more articles.

Further Reading

If you’re not familiar with the distinctions between quilting and sewing, read this article first. Then, move on to another article to learn whether a tailor can enlarge pants and, if so, how.

You may learn about some incredible embroidery machines in this great article, and then check out another post in which you can find out the distinctions between low and high-shank sewing machines.