How Much Will a Cotton T-Shirt Shrink?

How Much Will a Cotton T-Shirt Shrink?


It has been estimated that over 29 million tons of cotton are produced each year as the material carries the reputation of being one of the most desirable fabrics when it comes to making garments. But the material also has a drawback that almost everyone faces with its garment products. That is the unavoidable shrinking of time. 

It is not uncommon for people to experience such a thing. When we are done with our days or when we decide to wash our cotton t-shirts, we see our t-shirts have become 2-3 times smaller than their regular size. 

But do not worry, in this article, we will be highlighting some solutions that will help you to avoid your cotton clothes from shrinking. 

Does 100% cotton shrink? 

  • How much does 100% cotton shrink? After putting our cotton clothes into the washing machine, we notice some reduction in their size. It is due to some chemical alterations that were put to fabric during its manufacture. 
  • However, this is not an inevitable process. So, how to keep 100% from shrinking? Well, there are ways to prevent this from happening. Another key point is that cotton products that are not 100% cotton, will shrink less than those which are made full of it. To confirm this fact, we can check the label to know the blend percentage. As stated, any cloth over 50% cotton material has a lower chance of shrinking a higher amount. That is the reason why cotton blends or preshrunk cotton are also preferable. 

Does 100% cotton shrink in the dryer? 

  • A short and general answer to that question is yes. So, what makes cotton shrink? If the cotton garment is put in the dryer its components such as the natural fiber will shrink if exposed to heat or agitation or getting in water. Commonly when we are drying the cotton cloth, the heat can make the fibers shrink, ultimately affecting the garment to become smaller. 
  • Then we have the question, how to wash cotton t-shirts? The easiest way is when you are putting them in your washing machine, set the heat on a low or tender setting. It is also to air dry them instead of using the dryer. The natural air will prevent a damaging outcome.

How to shrink cotton clothes? 

Now, some people would like to look the other way. That is, they want to purposefully shrink a cotton garment. It could be due to the fact, that the dressing item they brought is oversized or too big to wear. But you need not worry, we will also cover various methods to shrink a cotton garment. 

How do you shrink a 100% cotton shirt? 

There are many ways to make it possible; shrinking a cotton T-shirt could be the easiest thing to do. A study tells us that cotton can shrink up to 20% if we put it in a high-heat state. But the situation changes if we try to shrink a cotton blend tee, produced of polyester. This material cannot shrink more than three percent as it undergoes a shrinking process before leaving production.

How to keep cotton shirts from shrinking? 

  • As mentioned earlier, cotton shrinking is very common, but we can prevent it in multiple ways. One of the easiest ways to prevent this from occurring is to purchase a preshrunk cotton garment, but unfortunately, these kinds of garments are quite hard to find but that doesn’t mean one should not look for it. If you search for it in the right place or preorder the material, you might just get the item.  Another thing we can do is, follow the instructions label. Yes, this is something most of us avoid, but there are some useful tips included in the instructions label. By following them we can reduce its chance of shrinking. 

As Suzzane Holmes of Cotton Corporation says: “When buying clothes, you should opt for quality cotton pieces that fit, and you should check the label and follow care instructions closely to keep your cotton items newer for longer”. 

There are also some other methods which include not dry cleaning your cotton cloth or not ironing or steaming them as these can help to reduce the chance of further shrinking. 

How to wash cotton T-shirts? 

Taking care of cotton garments can help to maximize their efficiency and health. One of the easiest ways to do this would be washing them carefully. But how do you wash cotton cloth? Here are some tips to do:

  • First, fill a bucket with one tablespoon of conditioner in cold or tepid water. The conditioner is important to soften the fabric or cotton garment. 
  • Then you have to soak your cotton item completely into the bucket. Move it around a bit and leave it for like 30 minutes. 
  • After the soaking process for 30 minutes. You have to lay and roll up the piece of cloth, and take out the cloth from the bucket. However, make sure that the conditioner remains in the fibers so it can help with the elasticity. Then place the clothing item on a towel and roll it up. Vacate the cotton garment this way for 10 minutes. 
  • Lastly, you just have to stretch the cloth with a tender and firm grip. You can put some paperweights on the edges to make sure it’s stretched and then leave it to air dry until it is wearable.

Do clothes shrink every time you dry them? 

Normally it depends on the material of the clothes. For example, cotton clothes will shrink due to heat exposure especially when you are ironing them. Then there are man-made fabrics that are not from a natural source or Polyester and nylon which will resist water and will hardly shrink after drying. 


Cotton garments are one of the most preferable choices. Although it has some drawbacks there are various ways to prevent them. Shrink or unshrink clothing, the choice can vary depending on the individual’s needs. But luckily there are effective solutions to these questions. So, feel free to choose your favorite piece of clothing and make it up to your aesthetic standard.

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