Shrink No More: 3 Secrets to Reversing Shrinkage in Your Clothes

Woman smiling as she examines a red sleeveless top while doing laundry in a modern laundry room with shelves of supplies and a washing machine.

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It’s an all-too-common stressor, to remove one of your favorite pieces of clothing from the dryer, only to realize that it has shrunk several sizes. Shrinkage in clothes happens often, especially if you do a lot of at-home laundry. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to endure your clothes shrinking. These actionable tips from OXXO Cleaners That Care will help you safeguard against shrinkage in clothes and offer insight into how you can reverse shrinkage and make your favorite pieces wearable once more.

Understanding Why Clothes Shrink

Not all clothes are prone to shrinkage. Natural fibers, such as cotton, wool, and silk, are much more likely to shrink in the washer or dryer than synthetic materials. Rayon and bamboo are also prone to shrinkage. Heat and mechanical action from the washing and drying process can cause the fibers in these fabrics to tighten, which results in your clothes shrinking. 

Preventative Measures to Avoid Shrinkage

The best way to safeguard against clothes shrinking in the washer or dryer is to read the manufacturer’s labels and follow and listed instructions for cleaning. If a care tag recommends dry cleaning services rather than at-home washing, follow that guidance. This can help your clothes stay looking new for the long term, preventing the fibers from getting damaged and the overall piece from shrinking.

Always use the right washing settings as well. Some clothes benefit from cold or delicate wash settings, rather than hot or warm washer cycles. Wash like fabrics together to streamline this process and safeguard the integrity of your clothes. Additionally, always follow proper drying techniques when machine drying. Lower heat settings are safer for natural fibers. Air drying will often give you the best results.

3 Tips for Reversing Shrinkage in Clothes

If the unfortunate happens and you do end up with clothes that have shrunk, you can try to rehabilitate them at home. Try these three techniques for reversing shrinkage:

1. The Conditioner Method. Take the affected piece and allow it to rest in a bowl or tub of lukewarm water. Gently rub hair conditioner or baby shampoo over the clothing and allow it to rest for up to 12 hours. The conditioner can help fibers to relax and return to their normal shape.

2. Manual Stretching. If you notice the shrinkage while the piece of clothing is still damp from the washer, you can try manual stretching. Gently stretch the fabric out, being careful not to harshly pull or rip the fibers. This technique can help the fabric regain its original shape.

3. Steam and Humidity. If you don’t feel comfortable with manual stretching or don’t have time for the conditioner method, you can try using steam and humidity to gently ease the affected fabric back into shape. To do this, use either a garment steamer or the steam setting on an iron to treat the clothes in question, gently patting out the fabric all the while.

When to Seek Professional Help

While the tips provided here can be effective in many cases, sometimes, shrinkage isn’t fully reversible through at-home methods. In such instances, it’s time to bring your clothes in for dry cleaning services. A professional laundry company can review the extent of the damage, using advanced techniques and top-of-the-line equipment to treat and restore your clothes. In many cases, professional dry cleaning services can fully reverse shrinkage.

Avoid Clothing Shrinkage with Help from OXXO

While clothes shrinkage can be frustrating, it’s not always permanent. With proper prevention and reversal techniques if needed, you can keep your clothes in premium condition. If you need professional dry cleaning services or if you have questions about how to treat problematic clothing, contact us at OXXO Cleaners That Care. We proudly provide eco-friendly and effective laundry services!

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