can hot water shrink clothes

can hot water shrink clothes

Can Hot Water Shrink Clothes?

It’s a common question for many laundry-doers — will hot water help shrink clothes? Depending on the fabric, hot water can help shrink certain items of clothing.

What Types of Clothes Should I Wash in Hot Water?

If you want to shrink clothes in hot water, these are the fabrics you can use:

  • Cotton: Cotton is the most common type of fabric used in clothing. Cotton can easily shrink in hot water and is often used for larger items such as jeans and sweatpants.
  • Linen: Linen is a very strong fabric and can be easily shrunk using hot water. Linen clothing items are usually found in button-down shirts.
  • Wool: Wool can also be shrunk in hot water. It’s preferable to use a gentle cycle when running a wool shirt or other clothing item in a washing machine.
  • Rayon: Rayon is a slightly different fabric than the others mentioned above, but it can still be shrunk using hot water. While rayon can shrink slightly, it’s best to use a cooler temperature for delicate fabrics.

Are There Any Dangers of Using Hot Water to Shrink Clothes?

As with any laundry process, there are risks associated with hot water shrinkage. Since most fabrics can shrink up to 5%, it is important to be mindful of how much shrinkage you are allowing for. If a garment is too small, it may not fit or look the way you desire. It is also important to take into account the fabric of the item and be sure to use the appropriate temperature for the fabric. Make sure to read the label of clothing to check for recommended wash temperatures. Another important factor is the type of cycle. Hot water is best used on a gentle cycle as this will help to prevent fabrics from over-shrinking.


In conclusion, certain fabrics such as cotton, linen, wool, and rayon can shrink in hot water. It’s important to remember to read the clothing labels to make sure that a gentle cycle is used, as hot water shrinks most fabrics up to 5%. With caution and gentle care, hot water can shrink your clothes and help make sure they fit just the way you want.

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