Why Clothes Always Shrink When You Wash Them

Everyone knows what it is like to do a wash and then have to put on your pants again or squeeze into a shirt or skirt for the first time after washing – but why is this happening, and can it be prevented ? This video from DNews explains.

For those who don’t know how to look, the answer is quite simple: natural fibers like cotton, wool and silk tend to curl and tangle in their natural state. These fibers need to be stretched to turn them into clothing, but if allowed to return to their natural entangled state, they will. All the mechanical energy that comes from washing, processing and drying clothes gives them energy and the ability to loosen those bonds and release the potential energy they receive when they are pulled and straightened to make the clothes we wear. Some natural fibers do this more than others (wool is one of the main offenders), but they all do, and synthetics, for example, do not.

The reason is that they do not receive the energy needed (neither from the heat in the dryer, nor from the shock in the washing machine) to deviate from their elongated and stitched shape. As a solution to the problem, synthetic fabrics are often used to “fill in the gaps” in clothing, mostly made from natural fibers. This is why you see a lot of cotton / polyester blend clothing, or cotton and viscose fashion clothes, for example. The goal is for them not to shrink as much as possible when washed, and this usually works very well. Another solution is to spray these natural fibers with anti-shrink agents to keep the clothes from relaxing during the wash.

You can see more about the whole process in the video above (and in the link below), as well as the three types of shrinkage associated with clothing (relaxation, felting and compaction), when they are most likely and which cause the most headache for these clothing buyers. like you and me.

Why does clothes shrink when you wash them? | DNews


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