can dry cleaning shrink clothes

can dry cleaning shrink clothes

Can Dry Cleaning Shrink Clothes?

Dry cleaning is a necessity for protecting your clothes and keeping them looking great, but it’s important to understand the potential risks. One of the most common questions regarding dry cleaning is whether it can cause clothes to shrink.

How Clothing Shrinks

Shrinking of clothes is typically caused by excessive heat during the laundering process. Clothes can also shrink if they don’t fit the particular garment, such as wearing a shirt intended for someone with a smaller size. When a clothing item is too short or too tight, it will shrink after laundering due to the strain on the fabric.

Dry Cleaning Risks

Although dry cleaning is designed to be gentler on clothing than traditional laundering methods, there is a still a risk of shrinkage. This is usually caused by a combination of factors including:

  • Heat: Dry cleaning uses hot water and steam to remove dirt and debris from clothes, which can cause them to shrink if they are not properly cared for.
  • Age of Garment: Older clothes are more susceptible to shrinkage because the fabric has weakened with time.
  • Chemicals: Many dry cleaners use chemicals such as solvents and detergents to help remove dirt and stains from clothes. These chemicals can also cause shrinkage if they are not properly rinsed out.

How to Prevent Shrinkage from Dry Cleaning

Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to reduce the risk of shrinkage when dry cleaning your clothes.

  • Check the Care Label: Before dry cleaning any garment, check the care label for washing instructions. This will give you an idea of the garment’s susceptibility to shrinkage.
  • Choose the Right Dry Cleaner: It is important to choose an experienced and reputable dry cleaner who is familiar with the particular apparel you are having cleaned.
  • Watch the Temperature: Be sure to not expose the garment to extremely high temperatures during the laundering process, as this can cause clothing to shrink.


While dry cleaning can cause clothes to shrink, these risks can be minimized with proper care and maintenance. Follow the instructions on the care label, choose a reputable dry cleaner, and be sure to not expose the garment to high temperatures during the process.

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