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Does Denim Shrink? (Answered)

Many different fabrics can shrink when they are being washed or dried because moisture can lead to the quality of fibers being damaged after certain periods of time.

Almost everyone has noticed how at times denim jeans can feel tighter around the waist after they have been washed. This is a result of the fibers absorbing moisture which produces tension.

Most commonly denim will stretch and relax after some time of wearing the piece of clothing although improper maintenance can cause a shrinking in size. So, does denim shrink? Read on to find out!

Key Takeaways

  • Clothing pieces made out of denim can usually shrink after the first time of being washed although this shrinkage is not permanent.
  • Denim is known to be stretchy in order to fit the body properly and in case of shrinkage it will go back into its original shape after wearing it.
  • The denim fabric should not be washed with excessively hot water temperature.
  • Drying denim in a dryer by using a high heat setting can lead to shrinkage.
  • Steaming in the process of ironing denim can eliminate the possibility of the denim piece of clothing shrinking.

Does Denim Shrink?

Denim can shrink if it is excessively washed on high heat in a washing machine. Especially for denim jeans, hot water can cause them to shrink in length and lose their original shape as well as provide a different look when they are being worn.

Also Read: 5 Best Sewing Machines for Jeans

Reasons Why Denim is Prone to Shrinking

High-quality denim is usually made of purely natural materials such as cotton. Because of the reason that naturally produced cotton is delicate and high-maintenance, shrinkage can happen with exposure to high heat and hot water.

Washing, drying, and ironing denim on excessively high heat can damage the cotton fibers and cause shrinkage in length in regards to your denim jeans.

Naturally produced cotton containing fibers from plants that are used in the production of high-quality denim reacts negatively to high heat, causing denim to shrink and lose its original shape which ultimately leads to decreasing its quality.

Why Does Excessive Washing Lead to Shrinkage of Denim?

It is common knowledge that denim shrinks after the first time of being washed. The waistband of denim jeans can feel tense and shrunk after being exposed to hot water in the washing machine.

However, denim does not only shrink after one wash. Excessive and continuous washing of denim can cause lasting shrinkage because of the absorption of moisture and water by the denim fibers.

For this reason, it is often recommended to avoid excessive washing of denim garments such as denim jeans and try to get the most possible usage from one wash. The denim fabric is durable and thick but it does not cause unnecessary perspiration or unpleasant odors.

Excessive washing of denim can be easily avoided because of this reason and denim does not require constant washing in order to stay fresh and crisp in order to provide a put-together look.

Denim should be washed on a low temperature with cool water in order to avoid shrinkage. Maintenance of denim is similar to the process of taking care of cotton. The gentleness and mindfulness you put into the maintenance of cotton should be the same as denim.

Because of the reason that denim is known to be prone to stretching, the shrinking after washing may not be permanent. However, if your denim pieces of clothing shrink in length such as denim jeans, it may be difficult to repair them and bring back their original shape.

Also Read: Comparison of Denim Vs Canvas

How To Reduce/Avoid Denim Shrinkage?

The temperature on which denim is washed, the setting on which denim is ironed and the way denim is dried are the most important factors to consider in order to avoid unwanted shrinkage.

Denim is recommended to be washed at a low temperature with cool water instead of using hot water. This also depends on whether the denim piece is produced with a high percentage of cotton. The more cotton fragments a denim piece contains, the higher the chances of shrinkage.

If a denim piece of clothing shrunk in the washing machine by being washed with hot water, it can shrink even more if it is dried on a high setting in a dryer.

In order to prevent shrinkage of denim during the process of drying, the best way is to let your denim pieces air-dry.

Denim can sometimes be tricky to iron because without applying high heat, the process of ironing may not be very effective.

Many clothing irons nowadays contain a steaming option that can help you get the wrinkles out of your denim pieces without ruining them during ironing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a denim piece of clothing permanently shrink?

The denim fabric is known for its stretchiness that helps in providing the best fit depending on your body type. Shrining of denim may not be permanent, but in order to bring back its original shape it may be required to apply to repair solutions.

How much do denim jeans shrink after they are washed for the first time?

Denim jeans can shrink after they have been washed for the first time around the waist and also in length. The level of shrinkage is small and the waistband will stretch after wearing the piece a couple of times.

Will jeans get properly cleaned if washed with cool water to avoid shrinkage?

A common belief among many people is that clothing will not get properly cleaned unless it is washed with hot water. However, it is possible for denim to get proper maintenance and freshness by using cool water and a suitable detergent.

Also Read: Comparison of Denim Vs. Twill

Final Words

Taking proper care of denim is very important because this is one of those fabrics that are known to last a long time and serve as a staple in many people’s wardrobes.

If a denim piece of clothing shrinks, it will likely go back in its original shape and form after certain time of being worn.

However, irreparable shrinkage can happen in the process of washing, drying and ironing denim which can lead to the item losing its original quality and shape.