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Clothes keep shrinking!

Posted by teelo_boo (My Page) on
Thu, Dec 2, 10 at 10:09

I posted this in the appliance forum and they suggested that I post in this forum. I am so fed up with my clothes shrinking when I wash them in the washing machine. I never put my "good clothes" in the dryer so it's not the heat that is causing my clothes to shrink. Could it be the dryer? Could the detergent be too harsh? Is it the water? I bought 2 new sweaters a few weeks ago. I wore the black one a few times and washed it in cold water on Sunday and hung it up to dry. I compared it to the gray one just a few minutes ago, and the black one shrunk up a few inches! I'm furious. The fabric of the sweater is 60% cotton/40% rayon. My washer is a 4-year-old Fridgidaire stacked unit.

Can anyone provide any advice? I'd greatly appreciate it. I'd hate to go buy a new unit if there's nothing wrong with the current one.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Clothes keep shrinking!

teelo_boo wrote: "I am so fed up with my clothes shrinking when I wash them in the washing machine. I never put my 'good clothes' in the dryer so it's not the heat that is causing my clothes to shrink. Could it be the dryer? Could the detergent be too harsh? Is it the water?"

Your problem is not your Frigidaire washer (unless it is feeding hot water to the wash when the setting is on cold -- which is possible); your problem is not the detergent that you are using, and it is not the mineral content of the water.

Your problem could be the temperature of the water. Your statements about the dryer need some clarification, as you wrote that you do not put the clothes in the dryer, then asked if the dryer is the problem. The drying process is the first suspect in cotton or wool shrinkage.

When you hung the black sweater out to dry, where did you hang it? If you hung it near a household heating vent or a radiator, that could be the reason. For potentially shrink-prone clothing, your best bet is to lay it flat on a horizontal surface at room temperature (68° F. or 20° C.), and not above a heat vent.

RE: Clothes keep shrinking!

Generally at this time of year I find all of my clothes shrinking a bit but usually by spring they seem to have adjusted back to their original size and fit.

RE: Clothes keep shrinking!

With that much cotton content, it's possible that the garment has stretched out and is "shrinking" back to its original shape....

Also, different dyes can cause different reactions in fibers.

It's also possible that the fiber that was used in the garment was not pre-washed.

Does this happen with other clothing? What types?

RE: Clothes keep shrinking!

My mistake. I meant to ask if it was the washing machine - not the dryer. The only clothes I put in the dryer are pajamas, panties and socks. I wash all of my clothes in cold water. After I washed the black sweater, I used a dryer rack in the dining room. There's no vent in that room.

After I washed the purple sweater, I hung it on a hanger in the guest bedroom. There is a vent in the guest bedroom, but it is not near where I hung up the purple sweater. I don't think it could be the drying process that caused problems with the purple sweater because the shrinkage was noticeable as soon as it came out of the washing machine.

The next time I do laundry, I'll check to see if there's hot water getting fed into the washer.

badgergrrl, this mostly happens with cotton blend clothes. Today's camisole is 95% cotton/5% spandex. The gray and black sweaters are 60% cotton/40% rayon. The purple sweater is 100% cotton.

Strangely enough, I have a pink blouse (some kind of rayon blend) that shrunk after I hand-washed it. That's why I was starting to think that I am having water problems. I washed that one in Woolite, which I always thought was gentle.

Thanks for your advice, and thanks for listening to my rant!

RE: Clothes keep shrinking!

What are the care instructions on the labels? Rayon is known to shrink and should generally be dry cleaned. See the following link for more than you'll ever want to know about rayon.

Here is a link that might be useful: Information on Rayon

RE: Clothes keep shrinking!

I do a lot of sewing and quilting, and I have noticed a steady lowering of quality in fabrics in general anymore. If I am seeing it in the raw fabric I buy, I must assume we are all seeing in in the clothing produced from it.

RE: Clothes keep shrinking!

Purple sweater: machine wash cold with like colors; gentle cycle
Black sweater: machine wash cold with like colors; gentle cycle
Pink blouse (95% rayon/5% Spandex): hand wash with cold water

I'm hoping to go back to the store and find the same black sweater tomorrow. I really liked it! I can't replace the pink one, and it's possible that I can replace the purple sweater. I'm also going to start having to dry clean more of my clothes. If manufacturers are starting to get cheap with their fabrics, then I guess I don't have a choice!

RE: Clothes keep shrinking!

Rayon shrinks. Period. I learned the hard way when I washed a rayon blouse. It has nothing to do with the cheapness of the fabric,though I agree that fabric isn't what it used to be. (Don't get me started about sheets; whatever happened to crisp percale?)
What does the care label say?

RE: Clothes keep shrinking!

The pink rayon shirt is the one that says hand wash with cold water.

I was able to buy a replacement for the black sweater yesterday! The replacement will only go to the dry cleaner - no more washing machine! I'll hunt for the purple sweater this coming weekend.

I wish I could upload a picture that shows the difference between my pink rayon shirt and my sister's (we buy a lot of the same clothes). Maybe I'll try to get her to bring hers down when she comes for Christmas.

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