So you buy the perfect T-shirt or undershirt, it fits like a dream and you feel great when wearing it. You wear it and pop it in the washing machine. Then you come to wear it again and suddenly you look like you are wearing your kid’s t-shirt! The arms are tight, the hem is short and everything clings in the wrong way. You have suffered the scourge of t-shirt shrinkage – so what can you do to avoid this horror? What are the 5 best tips to prevent shrinking of T-shirts?
While it may seem that the t-shirts are maliciously going out to shrink and spoil your look, this isn’t really the case. In fact, t-shirts can be prevented from shrinking in many cases by our own actions. The key thing to remember is that most t-shirts shrink due to heat. Cotton in particularly is a very sensitive material that doesn’t like to be too hot. So how do you wash the t-shirt without shrinking it?
How to prevent T-shirts from shrinking - tip 1
Firstly, try washing the top in a cold wash cycle. Make use a special detergent that works in cold temperatures and doesn’t need to heat to do its job. That way you get the cleaning power of a normal hot wash without the risk to the size and shape of the t-shirt.
How to prevent T-shirts from shrinking - tip 2
Drying is another place that can cause damage to a t-shirt. Never put them in the dryer and instead allow them to air-dry. Keep them away from heat sources so don’t hang in the direct sunlight or straight over a radiator. Put them somewhere with a good flow of air and leave them for between 12 and 24 hours depending on the ambient temperature and the thickness of the material. Another options is to use a drying rack (known as a clothes horse in some places!) where you can fold the clothes over just the once and allow them to dry.
How to prevent T-shirts from shrinking - tip 3
Getting rid of wrinkles and creases can also be a cause of damage to the top. This is because the heat of the iron can have a negative effect. Instead of using a hot iron, use a very low heat and make use of a de-wrinkle spray. This will help to reduce the wrinkles easily, without the need for blasting high temperatures.
How to prevent T-shirts from shrinking - tip 4
Graphic and patterned t-shirts are a big trend at the moment but there’s nothing worse than a cracked or peeling graphic. One of the top tips for keeping these t-shirts looking good is to hang them up to dry inside out. That way the graphic is hidden from all light sources and will have less change of fading.
How to prevent T-shirts from shrinking - tip 5
Should you need to speed up the drying purpose for emergency reasons, you can put the t-shirt in a dryer on the very lowest setting for a short burst to partially dry it then finish the job by hanging. That boost of drying will allow it to be ready to wear a lot quicker but reduces the chance of shrinkage by minimalizing the time spent in the dryer.
So how do you care for your t-shirts?