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How to Keep Clothes from Shrinking in the Laundry
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
It is frustrating to pull on your favorite shirt, freshly cleaned, only to discover that it doesn't exactly fit like it used to. It is annoying having to replace clothes that shrink during the laundry cycle, especially when you know that in most cases it is preventable.
So how do you prevent shrinkage in your clothes while doing the laundry? Here are a few simple tips.
Read Labels. For starters, read the tags on the individual items of clothing. They will provide detailed tips on how to properly clean them. Doing this before they go in the washer is recommended. Many people overlook this option, and then are surprised when the clothing item doesn’t come out of the laundry the same way it went in.
Handwash When in Doubt. If clothing calls for hand washing, take the time and do it. It may be inconvenient, but they suggest this for a reason, namely to prevent any sort of damage or alteration from the washing and drying process. Refrain from using water that is too hot during the process; warm water will always be sufficient. Hand washed clothes should be laid out or hung out to dry.
Use Cold Water. Play it safe by using cold water for most of your wash cycles. Save the hot water for items like socks or towels. This not only decreases the chances of items shrinking, but it also saves energy costs. Some detergent manufacturers make laundry detergent specifically for cold water washing. Remember that heat causes shrinkage, so eliminating the heat at every possible turn cuts down on the likelihood for damage.
Hang Dry. If there is any article of clothing that you are worried about, hang it up to dry as opposed to running it through the dryer. Just because something says it is pre-shrunk does not mean there won’t be any additional shrinkage. Air drying takes longer, but you will also keep your clothes in good condition for longer.
Refrain from using the high heat settings on your dryer. Using a warm, low, or knits setting should be fine. Let the clothes remain inside until they have dried and remove them promptly once they are in order to prevent wrinkling.
Some clothes are going to shrink no matter what you do, but these tips, if followed, should cut down on the instances of shrunken shirts and pants a great deal. Remember, read the directions, and stay away from the heat whenever possible.
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