It’s a nightmare to pull out your favourite cotton T-shirt from the laundry, only to discover that it has been shrunk to two sizes smaller. You are now left lamenting for the loss of the perfect fit that it gave you and perplexed as to why you have to go through this ordeal every time. Well, don’t worry as we have all been there and eventually realized that all it takes is a little bit of special care, to make your favourite t-shirt wearable for years and years to come. Here’s a compiled list of dos and don’ts to prevent your cotton T-shirt from shrinking:
- Firstly, you need to understand the basics of how different clothing fibers react to shrinking and stretching. Natural fibers such as cotton are more prone to shrinking as compared to artificial fibers like polyester and nylon. So, while purchasing a T-shirt, take a closer look at what its label says. Opt for ‘preshrunk’ garments, as their fibers suffer comparatively less shrinkage during their lifetime.
- Thoroughly read the label for guidelines on how to take care of the T-shirt. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the type of laundry or dryer cycle, adequate water temperature, and whether home washing or dry cleaning is preferable.
- While washing, avoid exposure to heat as much as possible. While warm water can be used to remove a patch of tougher stains, washing the entire T-shirt with it can be quite damaging. Always use cold water instead of hot to completely wash your cotton T-shirts.
- Utilise the special detergents available in the market that are compatible with cold wash cycle and don’t need to be heated to a certain temperature to do their jobs. These provide you with the cleansing effect of a normal hot wash without compromising on the fabric’s size or shape.
- Use a soft washing method such as a gentle cycle with slow agitations in a washing machine or simple hand washing. These are much less detrimental than harsh washer cycles with prolonged agitation periods.
- An outstanding way to prevent shrinkage of cotton garments is to eliminate dryer cycle at all costs. A dryer has a great damaging effect on cotton fibers by exposing them to high heat and contacting the weave of the fabric. Air drying T-shirts on a flat surface is a gentle method to prevent any undesirable shrinking and stretching.
- In the worst case scenario, if air drying is not possible, proceed by using lowest heat settings and a shorter bust of time on the dryer control panel. The aim is to minimize the T-shirt’s time in the dryer cycle.
- If you are a big fan of graphic-printed and patterned tees, then a crack in the graphic or pattern due to washing can be a huge disappointment for you. To keep these T-shirts intact, dry them inside out, hiding the graphic from direct sunlight and minimizing damage.
- Invest in a nice hanging rack and hang-dry your cotton T-shirts. This is a great economical method, providing a larger surface area for the moisture to evaporate from wet clothes, leaving them smelling fresher than ever.
- Since air drying can’t eliminate wrinkles as good as a dryer, to smoothen out the wrinkles on your T-shirt consider using a de-wrinkle spray. If an iron is to be used, keep it on minimal heat settings and quickly move it over the large wrinkles in a gentle fashion.
So, here are all the answers to the classic conundrum of how to prevent your cotton T-shirt from shrinking. Just follow these simple steps and you won’t have to worry a single day about having to sacrifice on your snug and much-loved piece of clothing!