Last Updated on August 24, 2022 by Erik Sullivan
Do you find yourself constantly stretching your clothes after running a steam cycle in a steam dryer or washer? If so, you’re not alone.
Many people believe that steaming shrink clothes, but is this actually true?
The answer is, yes! Applying high temperature of steam in your fabric for a long time can shrink them.
But, steaming is not only responsible that cause clothes to shrink. There’re others factors too.
Shrinking in clothes is most often caused by intense heat, either from washing in hot water, or from drying on high heat. This can happen mostly to the natural fibers that haven’t been pre-shrunk and pre washed before fabrication.
- What Factors Are Responsible For Shrinking Clothes?
- Type Of Fabric and Their Manufacturing Process:
- Washing Clothes in Hot Water Cycle:
- Using High Temperature in a Steam Dryer Machine:
- Using an Iron Instead of a Clothes Steamer:
- How to Avoid Clothes Shrinking When Steaming?
- Use low heat setting when using a clothes steamer:
- Avoid steaming clothes which are not allowed?
- Avoid high heat drying cycle:
- Don’t overstaff your dryer:
- How to Repair Shrinking Clothes?
- Frequently Asked Questions:
What Factors Are Responsible For Shrinking Clothes?
There are some key factors those are responsible for shrinking clothes.
Type Of Fabric and Their Manufacturing Process:
Some natural fibers like- wool and cotton are more likely to shrink than synthetic fibers like- polyester and nylon. Besides that, the manufacturing process of those fabrics is also responsible for clothes shrinking.
For ex. the cells in the outer part of few wool items have a tendency of getting close and join together by the heat and moisture in the washing machine or dryer, causing shrinkage.
On the flip side, polyester fabrics don’t shrinkage as like the natural fabrics. Because, their fibers are so long that does not get enough room to move around.
Washing Clothes in Hot Water Cycle:
As I’ve said earlier, some natural fabrics and fibers (cotton, wool, linen) shrink when exposed to higher heat and moisture. So, if you wash your garments in a hot water cycle of a washing machine it will cause the fabric to shrink. Heavy duty washing, and fast spin cycle are also responsible for clothes shrinkage.
Using High Temperature in a Steam Dryer Machine:
High temperatures from a dryer can distort your fabric by causing shrinkage. Also, selecting a long or wrong drying cycle can cause the fabric to shrink.
Using an Iron Instead of a Clothes Steamer:
Using iron also responsible for clothes shrinking. Because, when you run the iron, it creates direct contact with the fabric to work properly. As a result, the fabric get more exposure to heat and moisture, resulting shrinking of the clothing.
How to Avoid Clothes Shrinking When Steaming?
Use low heat setting when using a clothes steamer:
Use a lower temperature setting of your steamer. If your steamer comes with presets for steaming different types of fabric, make sure to select the most appropriate setting for a particular fabric.
Avoid steaming clothes which are not allowed?
It’s certainly a best practice to follow the care label of the fabric before you steam it with a steamer or putting it in a steam drying cycle. Most natural fabrics are more likely to get shrinkage than synthetic fabrics.
Avoid high heat drying cycle:
If you want to run a steam cycle in your dryer, avoid high heat setting to prevent shrinking of clothes. Instead, select a gentle cycle for a short period of time. After completing the cycle, remove the fabric as soon as possible to prevent over drying of clothes.
Don’t overstaff your dryer:
You should never put too many garments at a time in your dryer. Because, it blocks the warm air flow, and causes overheating. Consequently, your clothes shrink in the dryer.
How to Repair Shrinking Clothes?
It’s really frustrating when your garment shrink after drying or washing. For some fabric, it’s reversible. That means, they will return to the original size. Here’s a simple but effective method to try:
- Fill a large bucket with 5L of normal water.
- Add 10 ml of downy fabric softener in the water. It can help to loosen the fibers of your clothes and make them more pliable. This will make it easier to stretch them back out to their original size.
- Mix them properly.
- Add your clothes into the mixer and soak them for 5 minutes.
- Remove the fabrics and ring out the water.
- Gently stretch them while they are still wet. Be careful not to rip or tear the fabric.
- Hang them to air dry.
Note: The proportion of water and fabric softener may be changed based on the number of shrunken cloth.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can Steaming Ruin Clothes?
Yes, steaming can ruin clothes if it’s not used properly. The high temperature of the steam can cause fabric to shrink, melt, or discolor. It’s important to use a steamer on the lowest setting that will still get the wrinkles out of your clothing. You should also test the steam on a hidden area of the garment before steaming the entire piece.
Does steaming stretch clothes?
No, steaming does not stretch your clothes. The heat from the steam relaxes the fabric fiber that have bunched together during washing. It also help the fabric to reshape. Just be careful not to over steam them, or the fabric may become too loose and saggy.
What Clothes Should not be Steamed?
While most clothes can be safely steamed, there are a few exceptions. You should never steam waxed fabric, suede, and fabric with plastic materials to avoid melting.
Note: Always check the clothes labels for caring/cleaning advice.
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