Air Drying Clothes: Does It Cause Clothes to Shrink?

air drying clothes

Air-drying clothes is a common practice in many households. It is a more eco-friendly and cost-effective way of drying clothes than a dryer. However, many people are afraid that air drying may shrink their clothes. This fear leads them to avoid air drying their clothes or to take extra precautions when doing so.

What Causes Shrinkage?

Shrinkage of clothes is a common problem that can cause a lot of frustration and wasted time. Understanding the causes of shrinkage is important to avoid it and ensure that your clothes remain their original size and shape.

The most common cause of shrinkage is heat. Heat causes the fibres in the fabric to contract, leading to the fabric’s shrinking. Washing clothes in hot water can cause them to shrink, as can using a high-temperature setting on a clothes dryer. The heat from an iron can also cause shrinkage, so using the lowest setting possible when ironing is important.

Does Air Drying Shrink Clothes?

The simple answer to this question is no. Air-drying clothes do not shrink them. However, several factors can cause shrinkage during air drying. The primary factor is stretching. When wet, clothes become heavy and can stretch out of shape if not handled correctly. Stretching can cause the fibres in the fabric to contract, leading to shrinkage.

On the other hand, Air drying certain fabrics can cause them to shrink if not done properly. Fabrics like wool and silk are susceptible to shrinkage when air drying and need extra care when being dried in this way. Taking the time to use the right techniques can help prevent shrinking in these fabrics.

Tips for Air Drying Clothes without Shrinkage

Sort Clothes by Fabric Type

You should sort clothes by fabric type to prevent shrinkage during air drying. This will help you to know which clothes need extra care during air drying. Clothes of wool, silk, and other delicate fabrics should be air-dried separately to prevent damage.

Do Not Wring Out Clothes

Wringing out clothes can cause them to stretch and lose their shape, leading to shrinkage. Instead, gently squeeze the water from the clothes before laying them flat to dry.

Lay Clothes Flat to Dry

Laying clothes flat to dry is the best way to prevent shrinkage during air drying. This method ensures that the clothes remain in their original shape and size.

Do Not Hang Clothes on a Clothesline

Hanging clothes on a clothesline can cause them to stretch out of shape, leading to shrinkage. If you must hang clothes to dry, use a hanger or clothespins to prevent stretching.


Air-drying clothes do not shrink them. However, several factors can cause shrinkage during air drying, such as stretching and the type of fabric used. To prevent shrinkage during air drying, sort clothes by fabric type, do not wring out clothes, lay clothes flat to dry, and do not hang clothes on a clothesline. These tips will help you air dry your clothes without fearing shrinkage.

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