You put your favorite shirt in the washing machine to remove the stain, but it is now two or three times smaller than your actual size. Have you ever faced that misery? Do you want to know what has happened to your favorite shirt? And why does hot water shrink clothes? Let’s tackle this today, so you might know what to keep in mind while doing laundry next time.

The washing machine is no doubt one of the greatest inventions of the modern era. This simple machine has saved energy and time for laundry. Washing clothes is a cinch now, but the idea that washing clothes in hot water always works is no more than a myth. Let’s talk about the right temperature and settings to wash your clothes.

Reasons to Do Not Hot Water Wash.

You might think science can only happens in labs. Still, every week or a few days later, you suspend synthetic fiber in a solution of water, surfactant, and detergent to confine particulate and relax molecular bonds. In layman language, you do laundry, does hot water shrink clothes. If you see in detail, the process of laundry is controlled chemistry.

What will be your preference while washing a stain on white clothes? Of course, hot water and detergent as the stain can not bear the power of hot water. But there is a thing you should know about washing clothes in warm water. Hot water is not always the best case, and let’s see why is it so?

  1. The impulsive force in hot water that makes it the best stain remover can also have undesirable outcomes. It can cause discoloration of the fabric made up of natural fibers.
  2. The mechanical force of the laundry machine may let them in the process known as shrinkage.
  3. Hot water is sometimes detrimental for delicate and baby clothes as it causes stains like blood to set permanently on the fabric.
  4. If you are looking to adopt a greener life, you will have to turn off the hot settings of your washing machine. Water comprises energy that comes from nonrenewable sources. Using more hot water is taking your money as well as polluting the air we breathe.

At What temperature Do You Wash Whites?

Do you wash your  whites in cold or hot water ? Our parents tell us to wash white clothes in hot water. But to your surprise, hot water and cold water both mostly work the same for the stain. If you use cold water, your washing machine will use less energy. There are certain situations in which cold water may not work.

When May Cold Water Not Work?

The situation in which cold water may not work is when you need sanitization along with washed clothes. Coldwater will do its job but is not able to sanitize your clothes. Setting your washing machine on the hotter setting is necessary if you or someone in your house is ill.

Want a trick to wash white clothes? Wash them with lukewarm water. The temperature should be between 90-110 degrees.

Cold vs. Right – Does Hot Water Shrink Clothes

First, let us talk about why is it essential to select the right temperature for your fabric?

The correct water pressure is the crucial thing for your laundry. The temperature of the water determines the cleaning intensity. If you do not choose the right temperature for the correct type of fabric, the chances are you’ll have to lose your favorite outfits over time. The right cleaning temperature ensures more effective cleaning and reduces the chances of fabric damage.

But if you are unsure about the temperature of a fabric need-Do yourself a favor and look at the label before washing it. Most clothes have certain symbols that show a tub with wavy lines, which represents water. Inside the symbols, there are numbers or dots. If it’s a number, that is the highest temperature you can wash that particular fabric. If it contains dots, then;

  • One dot means temperature should be 30c or 90f
  • Two dots stand for 40°c or 105°f
  • Three for 50°c or 120°f
  • Four for 60°c or 140°f
  • Five for 75°c or 160°c

There are different types of fabric. Not all of them are affected. Let’s have a look at the kind of fabric which cannot stand hot water. 

Also Read: Why Is Styrofoam a Good Insulator – Kids Experiments

Hot Water Shrink Polyester

Polyester has a wide range of use  in clothing, bedding, and footwear. Washing polyester at a high temperature can shrink it. Moreover, it damages the material when not applied properly. This can be helpful for you only in a situation when you want to shrink your loose polyester pajamas or shirt.

Jeans And Denim 

Unless it is mentioned in the label, try to avoid washing denim or jeans with boiled water. There is no definite rules to  measure how much hot water shrinks the denim, and passing it once or twice with hot water won’t cause considerable damage. However, if you continue to do this, your jeans or denim jacket will be tighter than before. Gradually you’ll be out of fitting and have to replace.

Shrink Wools

Both hot and cold water makes wool shrink, but hot water causes the shrinkage to maximum level. Wool fabrics are composed of protein scales.  When these scales contact heat in the dryer or washer, they expand, making the fiber bind closer. This binding of fibers will result in the shrinkage of the wool fabric.

If after reading all that. You’re wondering how you can remove stains from your clothes. Do not worry; here is a tough stain laundry guide for you.

How to Remove Stain From Clothes 

General guidance which you can follow regardless of the type of stains are;

  • Deal with the stain as soon as you can. If you soak it within no time after getting it, it will require less time for the removal.
  • Soak it in the Luke water after a pre-stain removal treatment.
  • Wash your clothes according to mentioned labels on your clothes. If it is easily removable stain, try to use cold water, but if it stays after washing with the cold water, use hot water. 
  • Unless the stain detaches, Do not put the clothes in the dryer.

Some stubborn stains can’t be removed easily. For them, you have to apply the correct technique. Some of them are 


For adhesive, ice or cold water will help as it hardens the surface. Use cleaning fluid, and then rinsing the fabric will do the work.


If you got a fresh stain, soak the cloth in cold water. Do not use hot water to set the stain permanently, then do the usual laundry process. If it’s a dry stain, soak it in warm water with enzyme-containing detergents and wash it.

Brown/Yellow Discoloration

For this use, a lot of fabric companies recommend rust remover.

Prevent Shrinking Clothes

Since hot water can damage the quality of your fabric, avoid using it for the clothes, as mentioned earlier. Instead, washing clothes with hands in Lukewarm water is the best option to prevent the shrinking of clothes. If washing clothes with cold water is not possible to shrink, set your dryer to a low heat setting or hang them to air dry. Try to go for a clean, dry option for the fabric sensitive to heat.


A list of questions and answers relating to a “Does Hot Water Shrink Clothe”

Q1. Why Do Clothes Shrink?

There are several reasons for the shrinking of clothes which include heat exposure and excess moisture. Sometimes, when the fabric fibers come in contact with the heat, they expand and cause the fabric to shrink. This is known as consolidation shrinkage.

Q2. How Can You Unshrink Clothes?

Use lukewarm water along with the gentle product. Let the cloth soak for 30 mins. Gently squeeze the water from the fabric. After that process, let it air dry for a few hours.

Q3. How to Shrink Clothes With The Air Dryer?

Set your hairdryer at the highest temperature. Spread the cloth piece  on a flat surface and focus on one part at a time. This method is more time-consuming than the other traditional method of washing clothes.