Does Hot Water Shrink Clothes?

Using hot water to wash clothing can cause shrinkage, depending on the type of fiber the fabric is made from. Fibers that are more likely to shrink when washed in hot water include cotton, wool and linen. More-stable fibers, such as polyester and silk, are less likely to shrink.

Pre-shrunk garments, which contain fibers that have undergone a special compression process, usually do not shrink very much when washed in hot water. Although hot water is often used to wash linen and white clothing to remove heavy soil or germs, it can also cause clothing to wrinkle and fade as well as damage the clothing's color quality.