If it's only in the wash or in the dryer for a few minutes, it won't shrink much at all. A good rule of thumb is that after ten minutes of being in the wash, it will have shrunk about 1% in each direction.
Dry the garment.
A low-heat dryer setting will slowly shrink the garment with less risk of damage than high heat. Aggressively agitating wet wool on high heat can also lead to felting. Set the machine to a 30-minute timer. Check the garment every five minutes to monitor how much it shrinks.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Then turn the stove off and place your shirt in the boiling water. Leave the clothing item in the hot water for at least five minutes and up to twenty minutes. The longer the shirt sits in the water, the more it will shrink.
Tips To Prevent Your Clothes From Shrinking:
Avoid drying your clothes multiple times. One time should do the trick. You can air-dry clothes by hanging them from the shower rod in your bathroom. Use the cold water setting on your washing machine.
There isn't a specific temperature that clothes shrink at in the washing machine or tumble dryer. Natural fibres such as wool can shrink even at cold temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius, whereas synthetic fibres should not shrink at all unless exposed to temperatures of at least 90 degrees Celsius.
Van Amber also says you can try to unshrink things using a steamer or an ironing board but, unfortunately, it won't be permanent. “The amount that you stretch it will remain until you wash it again, when it will probably shrink back.” But she says you may have some luck with wool – as long as it hasn't been felted.
Letting your clothes air dry is one of the best ways to prevent them from shrinking. However, if air drying isn't an option, use the lowest heat settings on the dryer. Try to remove your clothes while they're still slightly damp then air dry them to finish. Excessive heat is damaging to fabrics.
The heat and agitation of the dryer can prove to be too much for certain materials like wool, silk, and pure cotton, as the fibers change properties when exposed to these conditions, shrinking as a result.
In general, fabrics made from natural plant or animal fibers (wool, mohair, cotton, linen, silk, etc.) will be most likely to shrink, which will be exaggerated when a garment is washed and dried at high temperatures.
The chance of cotton shrinking increases the warmer you wash. At 90 degrees, the fabric will shrink more than at 60 degrees. Do you want to prevent shrinkage? Then preferably wash lower than 60 degrees.
3) Turn up the heat
Is there a universal rule for how to shrink your clothes? In a way, yes. Though every type of fabric behaves differently, heat will shrink most, if not all, fabric types. For example, both cotton shirts and denim jeans will shrink more in a warm or hot wash, followed by a high heat drying cycle.
Regardless of the type of garment—shirts, cotton, hoodies, and pants/jeans—or fabric, from rayon to 100 percent cotton, the most common process for potentially shrinking clothes is to machine wash them with hot water and machine dry them with high heat.
If a garment is going to naturally shrink, there's not much you can do about it, and most of that relaxation shrinkage will occur in one to three washings. In some cases, it can take five or 10 wash cycles for a garment to reach equilibrium or maximum shrinkage, though.
Place the shirt in a dryer and switch to a high heat setting to tumble dry. For more delicate fabrics, make sure you are using the delicate heat setting so not to ruin the item. Keep a close eye on it: Shrinking can happen fast! Feel free to check on it even before the cycle ends to see if it's at your desired size.
Cotton, linen and denim are hardier natural fabrics that will fare better in the dryer. Does polyester shrink in the dryer? Usually not — synthetics like polyester, nylon and acrylic are generally safe to tumble dry, although at high heat they will also be in danger of shrinking.
Synthetics. Polyester, nylon, spandex, acrylic, and acetate won't shrink and will resist water-based stains.
Can You Unshrink Clothes? It is possible to unshrink most clothes and garments. In most scenarios, all you need is a container full of warm water with a capful of liquid detergent. Next, make sure to add in your clothes and stir them into the solution until they are completely soaked.
Step 1. Wash your 100-percent cotton shirt or wool garment for one cycle on your washing machine's hottest temperature setting. The combination of moisture, heat and agitation can help stretched fabric fibers to shrink back to their original state.
Fill your sink with cold water and a teaspoon of mild detergent. Handwash the sweater and let it soak for up to two hours. Drain the sink and gently squeeze as much moisture as you can by pressing the fabric with your hands. Lay the sweater on a flat surface like a clean counter and begin slowly stretching the wool.
It's absolutely normal for clothes made from 100% cotton to shrink, especially if they haven't been pre-shrunk. Pre-shrunk cotton will generally only shrink 2-5%. Non pre-shrunk cotton, on the other hand, can shrink as much 20% if you're not careful. This is only true for 100% cotton, however.
Can You Shrink Clothes By Just Drying Them? You can shrink wool and cotton clothes by just drying them, but if your goal is to cause them to shrink, it helps to have washed them first. If you really want to avoid washing, place your t-shirts in the dryer on the hottest setting possible instead.
Use the lowest heat setting on your dryer.
The less heat, the less shrinkage. If you forget to change this setting, and leave the temperature on medium or high, there is a chance you may shrink your clothes. Some dryers even have the option to air dry.
Luckily, cotton typically only shrinks once. The fibers could continue tightening if you keep washing the item in hot water and tumble-drying it on high heat. But generally speaking, most of the contracting will happen on the first laundry cycle.