3 Replies to “What Happens When You Machine Wash/Dry Clothing?”

  1. You shouldn’t be shrinking your clothes every time you throw them in a washing machine, no. Cotton will eventually shrink over time — that’s just the nature of the fabric — but you can control it by washing on the right settings.

    Getting wet expands cloth fibers and drying out contracts them. Drying slowly and with less heat will help limit the shrinkage over time. It’s a good idea to dry all your clothes on the low heat setting (usually “delicate” on most conventional machines) even if they’re approved for any dryer setting, just to prolong their lifespan.

    Some artificial fibers like polyester and rayon are less effected by soaking. There isn’t the same back-and-forth size change between the washer and the dryer than happens with cotton, so you get less shrinkage over time. They’re also less prone to wrinkling, but not as comfortable to wear.

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