how to shrink clothes

A Detailed Guide on How to Shrink Clothes

It is common to realize that some of your favorite clothes are noticeably oversize. This can be as a result of stretching or sizing issues. It is also possible that you are loosing some weight. Whatsoever the case, the answer is shrinking the clothes back to a proper fit.

The easiest way to achieve shrinkage is taking them to a tailoring shop. But let’s face it, this is not always an option. When it comes to that, there are several DIY methods for getting results at the comfort of your home. Follow this article for a step by step guide on how to shrink clothes.

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How to Shrink Clothes

Shrinking clothes at home boils down to using heat. Most fabrics can shrink after they are subjected to high temperatures. However, the rate of shrinkage varies with fabric fibers.

Ideally, most natural fibers respond better to heat shrinkage when compared to synthetic fibers. There are also some fabrics that experience little or no shrinkage. On the other hand, there are some that cannot be subjected to heat under whatsoever circumstances.

The sources of heat for shrinkage include washer, dryer, iron box, hot water and the sun. All these can be used together or individually to facilitate the process.

How to Shrink Clothes in the Washer and Dryer

how to shrink clothes in a washer

If you have a washer and dryer, the combination will come in handy in the process of shrinking your clothes. Both appliances provide heat settings of varying degrees. Accordingly, it is possible to get decent results with most shrinkable fabrics.

Step 1: Inspect the care label

As much as you are eager to throw your garment into the washer, you must begin by going through the care tag. This will help you determine if the clothing can go into the washing machine in the first place. Not all clothes are suitable for cleaning in the washer.

In case your laundry qualifies, know the requirements of the indicated cycle. Some clothes are highly versatile and can be washed in cold, warm or hot water setting. Others are delicate and can only be washed in cold.

Since shrinking clothes requires a hot water cycle, you can only shrink clothes in the washer if they can be washed in warm or hot water.

Secondly, you will see a symbol on the tag to help your determine if the garment is suitable for tumble drying. Tumble drying settings range from low to high. The temperatures increase as the settings change from low to high.

Step 2: Inspect the fabric of your garment

The properties of different fabrics vary significantly. Therefore, how you handle one fabric is not the same way you will handle another.

Natural fibers shrink the most when under high heat conditions. Examples include cotton, linen, wool, hemp and silk. Synthetic fibers do not shrink as much. Others respond so poorly to heat that they develop permanent wrinkles.

Understanding this dynamics will help you handle clothes with take. Ultimately, it is much better to keep an oversize looking garment than to ruin it under extreme heat conditions. 

Step 3: Prepare the garments

Heat can be damaging to laundry colors. Therefore, you need to turn your garments inside out before putting them in the washer. It is advisable to take clean clothes through the shrinkage process.

The key is avoiding a combination of detergents with hot water because you will create a harsher environment for your clothes. Have in mind that most detergents are harsh enough by themselves.

If your clothes are dirty, take them through the appropriate wash cycle first. This will allow protection from unnecessary damage.

Step 4: Throw clothes into the washer

Now its time to load the clothes into the washing machine. A good rule of thumb is loading similar clothes together. For example, you should not put woolen sweaters and t-shirts in the same load. As noted earlier, different fabrics do not respond in the same way to heat. Further, they also respond differently to the agitation of a washer.

Be keen on colors when grouping clothes. You do not want your white clothes to become dingily as a result of mixing them with colors in hot water.

Lastly, it is best to work with a small load when shrinking clothes in the washer. A large load takes longer. Further, it denies you the best end results.

Step 5: Choose the appropriate settings

Choose a cycle and also the appropriate heat settings. Your decision will be based on most of the factors listed above. Once the machine is running, sit back and let it get the job done for you.

Step 6: Transfer the Clothes into the Dryer

A dryer should be your next choice if you need to shrink the clothes further. However, you can decide to hang them to air dry.

With the dryer, higher heat settings provide better results. On the downside, some clothes can fade or pill a lot.

How to Shrinks Clothes Without a Washer and Dryer

Wash Clothes in Hot Water

If you do not intend to use a washer and dryer, you can as well use hot water to shrink your clothes. Take the garment you intend to shrink and turn it inside out.  Follow up by washing in hot water.

Rinse in hot water and hang to dry. You can choose to hang in an area that receives direct sunlight for better results.

Have in mind that hot water can cause fading.

Soak Clothes in Hot Water

Soaking garments in hot water is gentler than washing them with the same. Transfer your garments into a wash bucket that has a lid. Add hot boiling water. Cover the bucket with the lid.

Let the clothes soak until the water cools down.

Wring out excess water and transfer them to a clothesline.

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