How to keep my 100 percent cotton clothes from shrinking

Clothes made from 100 per cent cotton shrink a lot. If it is natural, untreated cotton it shrinks from between 10 per cent to 15 per cent. This means if your 100 per cent cotton jeans or shirts fit perfectly and you wash them the wrong way, they are not going to fit any more. Even cotton blends will shrink significantly when heat and moisture are combined. To prevent shrinking your cotton clothing you need to avoid warm and hot-water washing as well as drying clothes in a hot dryer.

Treat any stains with a drop of the liquid washing powder and a splash of cold water. Gently run the detergent into the fabric and let it sit until you are ready to put the garment in the washer.

Set the washing machine to fill with cold water and to run on its gentle cycle. Pour in the cold water liquid detergent.

Put the cotton garment in the washing machine and allow the wash and rinse cycles to run.

Remove the cotton garment from the washing machine and gently shake out some of the wrinkles.

Put the garment on the clothesline or hanger and smooth out any wrinkles with your hands. Make sure it is not a metal hanger because metal could rust and stain the fabric. Let the garment hang until it is completely dry.


Delicate cotton fabrics like dress shirts should be hand washed rather than going through the washing machine.

Things You'll Need

  • Liquid laundry soap - designed for cold water washing
  • Washing machine
  • Clothesline or plastic hangers
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About the Author

Laure Justice is a professional copywriter, since 2008. Justice has a broad-based business education, holding an AA in business administration and a Bachelor of Arts in management, plus certifications in accounting and international trade. She has written for GMC, Bounty Paper Towels, Purina's Petcentric, Colgate, Type F, Kudzu, eHow and many others.