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Does Dry Cleaning Cause Your Clothes to Shrink?

I’d like to delay answering that question until I answer these two questions. First, what is shrinkage? Second, why does it happen in clothing? The definition of shrink is ‘to become or make smaller in size or amount; contract or cause to contract.’ Clothing can shrink if all or some of the material hasn’t been properly preshrunk, and industry standards are typically 2 – 3% being an acceptable range. The why it happens in clothing is much harder to answer because there are so many variables when it comes to clothing including the fiber content, the type of weave, the type of construction, the type of finishes applied to the fabric, and preshrinking as we discussed earlier.

Does Dry Cleaning Cause Clothes to Shrink?

While I’d like to flat out say ‘no’, I cannot do that because on a rare occasion, it has happened. The honest answer is ‘not likely’ because to shrink an item of clothing, you need moisture, heat, and agitation, and anyone using that combination of elements can cause a garment to shrink. With professional dry cleaning, the moisture part is removed and replaced with a special solution that doesn’t contain water. A Cleaner World uses a specially designed machine that both cleans and dries clothing; this machine uses less mechanical action and is gentler than your home washing machine, and unlike your home dryer, the drying occurs at a lower temperature and a reduced amount of time. In fact, our machines have sensors so that clothes will not over dry.

Not only do we have the best equipment, all of our dry cleaners have been specially trained in the art and science of dry cleaning and many are Certified Professional Dry Cleaners.

What do you do if you believe your dry cleaner shrink a garment?

  • Examine the garment to see if there are signs of dimensional change such as a wavy zipper, puckered seams, fullness in the lining, or some other distortion. These could be signs of fabric change.
  • If there are signs of fabric change or your garment doesn’t fit as it did before it was cleaned, take it back to the dry cleaner to see if they followed the instructions on the care label. If they did, then return the item to the retail clothier.
  • If you feel the dry cleaner is at fault but they don’t agree, ask them to send the item off to the Dry Cleaning and Laundry Institute’s (DLI) lab for independent testing.

As always, we are here if you have any sort of question regarding your clotheshousehold items, and formal wear. Feel free to stop by any one of our locations if we can help.

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