Preventing clothes shrinkage in the dryer is an issue that faces many people. Contrary to what many people believe, it is not the heat that shrinks the clothes it’s the tumbling action. If it was the heat then our clothes would shrink when we iron them. If you bear in mind that shrinkage is also caused from the washing process then following some simple rules should reduce overall shrinkage especially in the dryer.
Read the label of your garment concerning care but especially the suggested dryer settings. This may seem obvious but is, at times, the most overlooked action. Drying clothes that have a similar dryer setting suggestions increases the efficiency of your dryer and helps prolong the life of the clothes.
Avoid putting clothes made of natural fibers into the dryer. Clothes made from cotton, linen and wool are affected if too much moisture is removed. They have a certain moisture content even when they seem dry. Hang these clothes to dry as much as possible.
Try drying clothes labeled dryer-friendly on a lower heat setting for a shorter time and let them hang dry for the remainder. This will reduce the degree of expansion and contraction during the washing/drying process and the amount of time that clothes are allowed to tumble in the dryer.
Don't overload the dryer and make sure they are not being over dried. Over drying can occur when the heat setting is too high or the clothes are left in the dryer too long. Here less is more – less time in the dryer and less heat used to dry the clothes. This will also increase your green credentials by using less energy as well as save your clothes from shrinking.
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- The Washington Post: Heat Didn’t shrink that shirt: Fabric Expert offers the Scoop:Katherine Salant, November 6, 2004
- Whirlpool Corporation: Dryer use Instructions
Based in Leeds, United Kingdom, John Thaxter has been writing and editing since 1985. He started with art features for "The Jamaica Herald," later contributing education and technology articles for the Jamaica Information Service. Thaxter trained in journalism at the University of the West Indies and holds a diploma in science education from Mico University College.