MAY 30, 2016 12:19 PM PDT

Here's Why Clothes Shrink in the Wash

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard


If you've ever wondered why your clothes end up shrinking when you put them through a wash cycle, wonder no more, as science has the answer!

With many types of clothing, which are weaved from materials like natural cotton, the process of washing and drying the clothing will force the materials to want to return to their bushy, curly state. This heat and mechanical energy causes the fibers to contract in a process known as shrinkage.

With a lot of synthetic fiber types, such as Kevlar and polyester, the shrinkage happens at a much hotter temperature, which the washer and dryer never reach. Because of this, these materials are far less likely to shrink than natural materials will since natural materials have a much lower shrinkage temperature.

There are three shrinkage processes, including:

• Relaxing: when the fibers relax and let go of their current structure
• Felting: when the fibers collapse in on themselves root-ward
• Consolidation: when the energy itself from being beat around compresses the fibers

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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