ASKO - Can clothing really shrink in a dryer?

Can clothing really shrink in a dryer?

There’s nothing worse than grabbing something out of the dryer and realising it’s a little too snug! Not all clothes shrink though. It does depend on the fabric, how wet they were in the beginning, and how hot you set the dryer.

Items made from cotton and wool tend to shrink. When these clothes are washed, they soak up a lot of water, making them swell. Then under the heat of the dryer they dry and shrink to their normal size, but the clothes will curl and therefore suddenly become smaller than they originally were. 

Clearly the best result for your clothes would be to hang them outside on the line where they can dry naturally, but that’s not always an option. Especially if the weather is poor, or you live in an apartment.

Your choice of dryer will be key here to making sure your clothes don’t shrink! A dryer with a sensor to detect the level of moisture in your clothes and automatically turns off when they are dry is important. This prevents shrinking while saving energy.

When using a dryer, then there are a few things you can do. Make sure you wash clothes in cold water and ensure they have been adequately spun out. Adjust your dryer settings to be less hot if possible. Another way is to let the bulk of the clothes dry partially inside on a clothes horse, then add to a warm (not hot) dryer cycle to finish them off. Some dryers have a “tumble” setting which only uses motion to dry clothes. Use this setting when drying delicate clothes that would otherwise shrink.