Why can clothes shrink when you wash or dry them?

Know the reasons why you can shrink clothes It is more important than it might seem, because once the “mess” is done, it is difficult to get it back to its original size and it is practically impossible for it to be exactly the same as it was before washing it.

The type of fabric With which the sweater that you love, that blouse or your favorite jeans is made is what depends, to a large extent, that they can remain in a “mini” version after the washing and drying process.

Fiber types

The natural fibers, like wool or cotton, tend to compact, especially when subjected to high temperatures. These fibers, seen under a microscope, present an external structure made up of tiny superimposed “scales” that tend to join, entangle and form small knots (have you noticed what wool looks like when, in its natural state, it covers the body of the sheep?).

These fibers, like other non-synthetic fibers, tend to bond with each other, reducing the space between them and with the end result of shrinkage of clothing. This natural tendency multiplies when we put a warm garment in the washing machine made of wool for two reasons: the constant friction that occurs in the washing process and the action of hot water.

Will all clothes shrink when washed in hot water or when tumble dried?

Contrary to what happens with garments made of natural fabrics, those that have in their composition synthetic fibers they are more stable, withstand friction and the heat of the washing machine better in high temperature programs. If you do not want to get too complicated with the laundry, include in your closet clothes made or that include nylon, polyester and acrylic fibers in general because they will resist the washing and drying process better.

As tips to avoid “dislikes” when checking that your clothes have shrunk, simply read the label that tells you the type of fiber predominant in the composition and uses, if necessary, specific washing programs for delicate garments, which are run with water at a lower temperature (even cold) and avoid spinning. Some items, such as those with cashmere wool fibers, will need wash them by hand and with cold water, also avoiding the dryer and the iron.