Does Dry Cleaning Shrink Clothes? | My Butler Service

Dry cleaning is a great way to preserve your favourite clothing. This process not only provides a superior clean, but preserves clothing for longer than conventional washing. But can dry cleaning shrink your clothes? The short answer is: It shouldn’t. Under normal circumstances, the process of dry cleaning won’t make your clothes shrink. But that doesn’t mean that it never happens. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the possibility. 

Why Does Clothing Shrink? 

Fabric is made up of a variety of threads knit together in a kind of web. In between the threads in this web are tiny gaps. Water and heat can cause these gaps to become smaller.  Wet fibres that are then exposed to heat will shrink because the heat causes the water molecules to evaporate. As they evaporate, the gaps shrink and the fibres draw closer together. 

Certain natural fibres, like cotton or wool, are more vulnerable to shrinkage. Clothing that hasn’t been properly pre-shrunk is also more susceptible. 

How to Prevent Shrinking

To protect your clothing, you need to know and understand the washing instructions for each piece. Some clothing can’t be exposed to hot water and must be washed only in the cold cycle. There are some items that can be washed, but not put in the dryer. These must be flat dried or hung. Always follow the washing instructions found on the tag. 

Some clothing should not be put into a washing machine at all. For an item of clothing that is labelled “dry cleaning only”, this is where your local dry cleaners come in. 

The Dry Cleaning Process

Dry cleaning is a process that is designed to preserve your clothes and doesn’t use water. Instead, it uses a water-free liquid solvent to remove stains and dirt and freshen clothing. No wet cleaning means no shrinkage. 

However, there is a possibility that dry cleaning can shrink your clothing if there’s a malfunction in the dry cleaning machine. The machine is hooked up to water (for other functions), and sometimes there can be leakage of water into the dry cleaning solvent. 

If this happens, the leaking water in the solvent will work on the fibres when exposed to the heating process. Just like if you were to put a piece of wet clothing into the dryer. 

Another issue can be a problem with the chiller. This machine keeps cycles continually and keeps the solvent from overheating. If the chiller doesn’t work properly, the solvent can overheat and cause clothing shrinkage.

What To Do If You Notice Shrinkage In Dry Cleaned Clothing

If you’ve noticed that your sleeves or collar seem a little smaller each time you get back from the dry cleaners, it’s probably time to look for a new one. Your best bet is to look for an eco-friendly dry cleaner that uses a liquid carbon dioxide method. This dry cleaning process doesn’t use heat, but the pressure to clean clothing. 

While having a piece of clothing shrink at the dry cleaners isn’t an impossible scenario, it is far less likely when you shop around for an excellent cleaning service. Find a dry cleaner that is expert with all types of fabric and cleaning methods like My Butler Service and you’ll know that your favourite clothes are in good hands. Get in touch with us today to book our mobile dry cleaning Sydney service.