What Fabrics Shrink in the Dryer?

Fabrics that shrink in the dryer include natural fabrics such as cotton, linen and wool. Dryers also can make dark-colored fabrics appear damaged regardless of fabric type by giving the fibers a raised, powdery appearance.

Contrary to popular belief, dryers do not ruin clothes by damaging them with heat. Instead, they damage clothes through repetitive tumbling action, which causes fiber reversion, shrinking the clothes and decreasing the life of the fabric. Natural fabrics that contain more moisture also are damaged by drying because the moisture is removed, causing the fibers to weaken. The same is possible for any fabric when it is overdried.