How to Wash a T-Shirt Without Shrinking: Cotton and Polyester

There is nothing worse than unintentionally shrinking your t-shirt in the wash. Read this article to find out how to wash a t-shirt without shrinking!

How to Wash a T-Shirt Without Shrinking

Cotton and Polyester T-Shirts

Use the delicate setting and wash with cold water in the washing machine, and use the tumble dry low setting in the dryer to avoid shrinking t-shirts in the wash. Heat is what shrinks clothes, so stay away from hot water in the washing machine as well as high heat in the dryer and your t-shirt will not shrink in the dryer. 

This is How to Wash a T-Shirt Without Shrinking: Cotton and Polyester.

The majority of t-shirts are made from either 100% cotton, a cotton blend, 100% polyester, or a polyester blend. 

T-shirts made from 100% cotton or a cotton blend are very prone to shrinkage, since cotton is one of the most shrinkable fibers. 

T-shirts made from 100% polyester or a polyester blend will be much more resistant to shrinking in the wash since polyester is a hard to shrink synthetic fiber. 

In order to wash a t-shirt without shirking it is important that you wash it in cold water and air dry it by hanging or laying flat to dry. 

If you use the dryer it is critical that you use the air dry or tumble dry low settings. Do not use tumble dry high as this means that a high temperature will be used, which will then lead to shrinkage. 

Continue reading to learn how to wash a t-shirt without shrinking. 

How to Wash a T-Shirt Without Shrinking

If your t-shirts are shrinking in the wash, it’s because you are using the hot water setting on the washing machine, or the tumble dry high setting on the dryer. Some types of fabrics, such as cotton, will shrink if they come into contact with high levels of heat, and using the washing machine or dryer on the wrong settings has the potential to drastically shrink your shirt.

I’m curious, how many different types of clothes do you have in that same load of laundry? Not all clothes shrink in the wash for the same reasons.

Continue reading below to find out how to machine or hand wash your t-shirts so that they will never shrink again!

How to Machine Wash a T-Shirt Without Shrinking

Follow the steps below to machine wash your t-shirt without shrinking it. 

What You’ll Need:

  • Washing machine
  • Mesh laundry bag (optional)
  • Laundry Detergent 
  • T-shirt

Steps:

  1. Turn the t-shirt inside out. Optionally, you may place it into a mesh laundry bag.
  2. Place the t-shirt into the washing machine.
  3. Add a few drops of laundry detergent.
  4. Adjust the settings on the washing machine to delicate/gentle.
  5. Use the “cold water” setting on the washing machine.
  6. Push start.
  7. Once finished, remove the t-shirt from the washing machine and air dry by hanging or laying flat.

How to Hand Wash a T-Shirt Without Shrinking

Follow the instructions below to hand wash any type of t-shirt without shrinking it.

What You’ll Need:

  • Water basin 
  • Laundry detergent
  • Water

Steps:

  1. Fill a basin with cold to lukewarm water. The temperature of the water should not exceed 80°F/26°C.
  2. Add laundry detergent to the water.
  3. Submerge the t-shirt in the water.
  4. Let the t-shirt soak for 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Use your hands to agitate the shirt in the water.
  6. Remove the shirt and rinse it under cold water until the water runs clear and all the soap has been removed.
  7. Air dry by hanging or laying flat to dry.

How to Dry a T-Shirt Without Shrinking

If your main concern is avoiding shrinkage, the best way to dry your t-shirts after washing is to air dry. Take your t-shirt to a cool, dark place, and hang or lay flat to dry.

If you want to machine dry your t-shirt, be sure to adjust the settings on the dryer to air dry or tumble dry low before you begin. The “low” in tumble dry low means: low heat; which means that the “high” in tumble dry high means…you guessed it, high heat. High levels of heat shrink clothing, so if you want to avoid shrinking your t-shirt in the dryer, then use the air dry or tumble dry low settings. 

How to Dry a T-Shirt Without Shrinking FAQ

If you don’t want your shirt to shrink, make sure to wash it in cold water and to either air dry or use tumble dry low in the dryer. You may also want to buy shirts made out of synthetic fibers like polyester, that have been specially treated to be resistant to shrinkage. 

Wash your cotton shirt in cold water if you do not wish to shrink it. Heat shrinks clothes, so make sure you adjust the settings on the washing machine to “cold water” before you do your cotton laundry. 

Your t-shirts shrink in the wash because you are using the hot water setting in the washing machine, or the tumble dry high setting in the dryer. Heat shrinks clothes, so be sure to use cold water in the washing machine, and air dry or tumble dry low while using the dryer. 

The most important thing to do before you wash your shirt is to check the care label. It is important to check the care label because it has important information written on it about how to wash, dry, and iron your shirt. Carefully follow the instructions on your shirts care label and you will not run the risk of ruining it. 

Tall Paul
Tall Paul
I am 6'7 (203cm) / 235lb (106 kg) model and ex-athlete. Since I was a teen I had trouble finding clothes. I was too tall for off the rack and was too lean for Big & Tall.

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