What Temperature Shrinks Clothes

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You might think choosing the correct water temperature for doing laundry is simple, but it’s actually a lot more complicated than you would expect. Many people ask the question, what water temperature shrinks clothes? If you know the correct temperature when doing laundry, it can help save a lot of money. 

Washing shirts in hot water (above 130 degrees Fahrenheit) can cause them to shrink more than cold water washes. The best way to prevent your shirts from shrinking is to wash them in cold water and dry them on low heat or hang them up to dry.

You see, if you do not know what is the correct temperature for washing or drying your garments, they could shrink and look terrible when you dry them.

This article will discuss details about water temperature that cause shrinkage of clothes and also provide proper guidelines for how each temperature will affect your material.

Why Does Water Temperature Matter When Washing Clothes?

We have a few reasons to love hot water, whether it’s the relaxing comfort of a hot bath or the fact that it’s more effective for washing dishes and killing germs. However, there are some situations where that extreme heat can do more harm than good.

When it comes to laundry, washing clothes in water that’s too hot can cause colors to bleed and fabrics to shrink.

When you’re doing your laundry, you might wonder if the water temperature matters. After all, the hotter the water is when you wash your clothes, the cleaner they’ll be, right? Well, this isn’t always true. In fact, in some situations, hotter water can actually make your clothes shrink more easily in the dryer.

When you wash clothes in hot water, there’s a good chance that they’ll shrink — even if they are pre-shrunk. Hot water makes fibers contract, which causes them to become shorter and tighter.

Will High Temp Shrink Clothes?

High heat can cause clothes to shrink. This is true whether they are washed in a washing machine or ironed with a clothes iron. High heat causes the fibers that the fabric is made of to break down and become shorter, which causes the fabric to shrink.

Washing clothes in hot water increases the likelihood that they will shrink more than if washed in warm water.

Depending on how high the water temperature setting on your washing machine is, running a load of clothes through a complete wash cycle may cause them to shrink up to one size. 

What Temperature Shrinks Clothes

For natural fabrics like cotton and wool, 60 degrees is the temperature that shrinks clothes. However, synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon shrink at high temperatures anywhere from 90 to 130 degrees.

Clothes made of cotton and other natural fibers can shrink when washed in hot water or dried on high heat. The higher the temperature, the more the clothes will shrink. 

On the other hand, clothes made of synthetic fibers like polyester won’t shrink if you wash them in hot water.

Shrinkage occurs when the bonds between the fibers of a fabric are broken. The breaking of these bonds happens when the fiber is exposed to heat, water, and agitation. The higher the temperature, the more rigid the fiber becomes. When the fiber becomes too rigid, it breaks and then shrinks.

The best way to keep clothes from shrinking is to wash them on a gentle cycle with cold water and dry them on low heat or hang them to dry.

What Temperature Shrinks Clothes in the Dryer

Clothes shrink when exposed to high temperatures. The fibers in the fabric expand when exposed to heat and moisture. 

The high heat temperature in the dryer forces the fibers to gradually constrict, resulting in shrunken garments. 

However, the extent of the shrinkage depends on the type of fabric used. For instance, cotton and linen clothes will shrink more than a garment made from synthetic fiber like nylon or polyester. 

What Water Temperature Makes Clothes Shrink?

Most fabrics become weaker when heated to above 130 degrees Fahrenheit. If you wash your clothing in hot water and then dry it on high heat, you’ve exposed it to temperatures well above 130 degrees. 

Cotton will shrink at least 5 percent and up to 20 percent, depending on its original condition and the type of cotton (noted below). Wool will shrink more than cotton – up to 20 percent for some types of wool.

The hotter the water is when you wash your clothes, the more they will shrink during the washing process. Hotter water not only causes shrinking but will also cause wrinkles, so it is best to avoid hot temperatures as much as possible.

When to Use Hot, Cold, or Warm Water During the Laundry

When you wash your clothes, it’s important to use the right water temperature.

  • Hot water is best for whites and heavy-duty items because it helps remove oily stains, dissolves detergents more effectively, and kills bacteria and dust mites.
  • Warm water, on the other hand, is best for most clothing since it helps prevent fading while removing stains.
  • Coldwater is most gentle on fabrics, making it ideal for delicates or dark colors that tend to bleed during washing. It also helps reduce wrinkles.

What Water Temp Won’t Shrink Clothes

For most fabrics, cold water is perfectly fine. It not only saves energy but also helps keep items like bright red sweaters from fading or bleeding into other clothing.

However, there are some clothes that do best in warm water. When you’re unsure which temperature to use, check the garment label for instructions on how to wash and dry it.

What Happens If You Wash Clothes in Cold Water Instead of Warm

Clothing is typically washed with cold water to minimize shrinking. Colors last longer and clothes will retain their size and shape. In some cases, cold-water detergents are all that’s needed to clean effectively.

The real benefit of cold water is the energy savings it represents. The trend toward washing in cold water has been growing for years, as washing machines become more efficient.

Is It Possible for Clothes Shrink in Dryer on Low Heat

People often wonder whether clothes will shrink in the dryer on low heat, and the answer is no. Low heat won’t shrink clothes. It is ideal for drying clothes, especially linen, cotton, and many others because they are more prone to shrinking than other materials.

First of all, it’s important to know that low heat settings usually mean the temperature is below 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This means you can use this setting to dry your clothes without worrying about them shrinking.

Another reason why clothes don’t shrink in the dryer on low heat is that most of them are made from synthetic materials that won’t shrink when exposed to high temperatures. For example, if you wash a cotton shirt in hot water and then put it on while it’s still damp or wet, chances are good it will shrink. However, if you wash it in cold water and then put it on while it’s dry or almost dry, there’s little chance of it shrinking.

If you’re wondering if your clothes will shrink in the dryer on low heat, consider what type of material they’re made out of first before testing them out on high heat settings. Some fabrics like wool and silk can actually become damaged by high temperatures so they shouldn’t be dried this way either.

Does Washing at 30 Degrees Shrink Clothes?

The temperature of your wash is not simply about making sure that your clothes are clean, but also about keeping them looking their best for longer.

Washing at 30 degrees can prevent them from shrinking. This is the temperature that most high street retailers recommend washing their clothes on.

By washing at 30 degrees you will also notice that they fade less quickly, which means that you can wear them again and again without having to worry about them looking past them.


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