How Do You Wash Clothes Without Shrinking Them?

wash-clothes-shrinking Credit: Thanasis Zovoilis/Moment/Getty Images

Wash clothing without shrinking them by following the manufacturer's instructions on the care label and sorting clothes. Avoid washing in water that is too hot for the fabric and overdrying. The process takes little more time than the amount of time you normally spend on laundry.

  1. Read the care label

    Manufacturers attach a care label to garment cleaning instructions. The label states the safest way to clean the clothes. Do not wash clothing labeled dry clean only.

  2. Sort the clothes

    Sort the clothing into piles of similar materials that require the same care. Avoid washing brightly colored clothing with other items. While the colors do not cause shrinking, they often bleed onto the clothes, making an item unusable. Items should also be sorted according to the water temperature they require because washing an item at the wrong temperature can cause it to shrink.

  3. Check the water temperature

    When the garment specifies a cold wash, the water temperature should be between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Warm wash indicates temperatures between 80 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and hot is above 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures below 65 degrees Fahrenheit cause the detergent to underperform.

  4. Avoid overdrying

    Follow the care label instructions for drying. Line dry any items likely to shrink from the heat of the dryer, especially those with natural fibers. Check the dryer often and remove items as they dry. Hang or fold immediately to reduce wrinkles.