How To Eliminate Shrinkage During Washing

The three key factors to shrinkage are Moisture, Agitation and Heat. Removing one or more of these factors will greatly reduce the amount of shrinkage.

Moisture – as we all know is water. It’s everywhere! If you clean with a solvent like traditional dry cleaning there is no moisture in the solvent but there is moisture in the air and retained in the garment itself. With washing at home there is no way to remove the moisture since you are putting it into water. This part of the equation you can not control.

Agitation – is the movement of the fabric or garment with violence or sudden force. That’s the machines both washer and dryer. How violent depends on the setting you select, Whitest whites, heavy – dirty, normal, gentle – delicate, hand washables and how long it’s tumbling in the dryer. The most gentle will be to hand washing it in the sink and hang it to dry.

Heat – is the temperature. That’s the temperature of the water in the wash and the air during the drying whether you hang dry or put it in the dryer.

How do you determine what settings to use will solely depend on the garment structure, material, color and the amount of shrinkage you can afford.


Dirty White Tee Shirt – Wash in very hot water on normal cycle and dry in the dryer on normal heat setting – 3% shrinkage is acceptable.

Blue Jeans – Wash inside out in cold water on the delicate cycle and dry in the dryer with low heat until 80% dry, then hang to dry for the remainder of the time – minimal shrinkage and color loss with this process.

Black Cotton Sweater – Machine wash in hand washable cycle with cold water or hand wash, dry in the dryer in low heat or hang to dry – reducing the agitation and heat to prevent shrinkage and color fade.

Karl Huie

Pacific Heights Cleaners

Service with Pride since 1969

The First Dry Cleaners to be Green Business Certified by San Francisco Environment and Bay Area Green Business Program Marin County. Using the Wet Clean environmentally safe dry cleaning system that is non toxic.

Other Articles of Interest:

How to Care for Your Dark Color Garments

How to Store Clothes

Stain Removal Products and Tips

Techniques Used For Stain Removal And Cleaning.

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