Read the T-Shirt’s Label
The first step in preventing shrinkage in your shirts is to understand the materials that make up the shirt. Some materials, like nylon and spandex, are naturally shrink-proof—you can wash them, dry them, and do just about anything to them without having to worry about shrinkage.
However, you also need to be aware of materials that are prone to shrinking. Cotton is a hugely popular t-shirt material, and for good reason. Cotton is soft, breathable, and comfy . . . but it also shrinks. This shrinkage occurs because cotton is a natural material that is loosely woven. Applying heat to the cotton causes the weave to tighten up and constrict, resulting in a smaller shirt. This is also true of other natural materials, like wool and bamboo.
In addition to telling you which materials make up your shirt, your shirt’s label may also have information on recommended ways to care for your t-shirt. Read your t-shirt’s label carefully to find instructions on safe washing and drying.
When it comes time to care for your t-shirt, avoid adding heat. Heat is the element that causes shrinkage, so if you can avoid heat during your laundry routine, you can keep your t-shirts from shrinking.
First, always wash your t-shirts in cold water only. Next, choose a soft washing method. The gentle cycle is the least damaging cycle in your washing machine, but hand-washing is preferable. Finally, avoid the dryer at all costs—this is the absolute best way to prevent t-shirts from shrinking. Your dryer will almost certainly shrink your t-shirts, since it exposes the shirts to high heat and constricts the weave of the fabric. Instead of using your dryer, air dry your t-shirts. Be careful when air drying your shirts, though—hanging wet shirts can actually cause your t-shirt to stretch, thanks to the weight of the wet fabric. It is safest to lie your t-shirts flat to dry, so that they don’t stretch out.
Buy Pre-Shrunk T-Shirts from Jovi Printing
You might also consider buying t-shirts from Jovi Printing that have been pre-shrunk. Pre-shrunk t-shirts tend to cost a bit more than your average t-shirt, but they also take some of the guesswork out of the shrinking process. A pre-shrunk t-shirt consists of fabric that has been manufactured with a tighter weave, allowing less room for the weave to constrict and shrink. Pre-shrunk t-shirts can be a good option if you frequently shrink your shirts by accident. These shirts may still shrink a little, but the effect won’t be nearly as significant as it is with a traditional cotton t-shirt.