How many times have your sweaters come out of the washing machine a couple of sizes down? Even if you have carefully followed all the “rules” on how to do laundry, shrinkage, and stretching can occur. Much of how your clothes react when washing is not up to you; it’s up to the type of fibers, weave, and manufacturing techniques to make the garments. Here is how to avoid shrinkage of your clothes.
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The natural fibers (wool, cotton, bamboo) are more elastic than most artificial fibers (polyester, acrylic, nylon). It’s all a question of textures; looser knits stretch more than tight ones, but even loose weaves stiffen or shrink more when exposed to water, heat, and centrifuge than a sturdy weave. They are not, however, details that you can see with the naked eye. What can you do to prevent the problem?
- Read the labels before buying an item of clothing. For natural fibers, look for the word “preshrunk” (aka pre-shrunk). Some apparel manufacturers, especially the cheap brands, save by stretching the fibers in their garments and especially skip the washes that stabilize them.
- Read the labels to learn how to take care of your clothes. Follow the guidelines for home washing and dry cleaning, water temperature, washing cycle, and dryer cycle recommendations.
- The use of cold water does not prevent shrinkage but is less harmful than hot water.
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- Gentle washing machine cycles and hand washing are less harmful than intensive washing cycles.
- Air-drying clothes is the gentlest method and helps prevent shrinkage. For loose weave fabrics or knitwear, drying the garment on a flat surface will prevent the garment from stretching or deforming.
Adapted and translated by Wiki Avenue Staff