Woman doing laundry

Does Tumble Drying Shrink Clothes?

We all want our clothes to fit well, so we can look good and feel great. However, using a tumble dryer to dry your clothes can cause irreparable damage to your garments, and yes – they can shrink!

In our fast-paced world, it can be hard to avoid using a tumble dryer. They are quick and efficient, and no washing line is required to keep your clothes dry.

Even if you have a washing line set up, it’s always going to be easier to use the tumble dryer than to individually peg your clothes out. There’s no denying that this appliance is a convenient addition to any household.

If you want your clothes to stay in the best shape and fit you properly, however, then there’s some precautions you’ll need to take before you chuck your wet laundry into the tumble dryer.

Let’s take a closer look into how tumble drying shrinks your clothes, and how to prevent this from happening in the future!


What Causes Clothes to Shrink?

Although it is often assumed that tumble drying causes clothes to shrink, it is not always clear as to why this happens. While washing machines can also cause damage to your clothes, tumble dryers tend to pose a greater risk.

There is a science behind it, and with this knowledge, you can assess whether you want to use the tumble dryer to get your clothes dry.

When your clothes are washed, they will absorb a lot of water, and therefore feel larger in size due to this swelling. As a tumble dryer will use a high heat to dry the clothes, the forced air from this heat will cause the fibres of the clothing to constrict, causing shrinkage.

The shrinking of clothes can also be caused by the rotating mechanism used by tumble dryers. This constant tossing of clothes can cause the materials to constrict and suffer damage, which will inevitably lead to them shrinking.

It is generally considered that lighter fabrics, such as those with synthetic or cotton fibres, are more prone to shrinking and will therefore suffer more from being in a tumble dryer.

While different materials will react differently when exposed to high heat in a compact space, all fabrics will be more likely to shrink rather than expand in this situation.

However, one of the most common offenders for shrinking is wool. Wool is used for a variety of clothes, particularly winter cardigans and outerwear.

Bear in mind that it is worth thinking twice about stuffing your fluffy jumper into the tumble dryer, unless you want it to come out two sizes too small!


What Other Damage Can Be Done?

While shrunken clothes can pretty much mean the end of their life in your wardrobe, there are other potential risks to using a tumble dryer.

It is essential that you consider the impact this appliance can have on the colour of your clothes, too. Colour fading is a common occurrence if the correct precautions aren’t taken.

This happens by a scientific process known as sublimation. This is when a solid will transform into a gas, without having been through a phase as a liquid.

As a result, colours from one clothing item can leak onto another, and this draining of colour can cause the clothing to appear dull and faded.

However, it is worth noting that this process requires a high temperature. Many modern tumble dryers are designed to not reach such high levels of heat, and therefore cases of this happening are rare.

It is more likely to occur with lighter materials, so, regardless, it is important to be aware of this before you use a tumble dryer as your first resort for drying.

Clothing care label with do not tumble dry symbol

How Do I Keep My Clothes from Shrinking in the Dryer?

While all the above can sound concerning, do not fret! There are many ways to prevent your clothes from shrinking in the tumble dryer.

Here are our top tips:

  • Check out the item’s care label first. Don’t skip this step! Although it can seem tedious, it is important to do this, as some items should never be dried using a tumble dryer.
  • Try to avoid long tumble dryer cycles. Where possible, try not to keep your clothes in the tumble dryer for a long period of time. For larger clothing items that will contain more water, consider using a washing line if you can. A shorter cycle will mean less rotation, and therefore less damage to your clothes.
  • Don’t use a hot wash setting on the washing machine. Not only is using a cold setting better for the environment, but it will also help to keep your clothes in their best shape during the drying process. If you wash your clothes at 30 degrees, for example, then they won’t be as hot to begin with when placed in the tumble dryer.
  • Dry your clothes on a low heat. Once in the tumble dryer, make sure you use a relatively low heat setting to dry your clothes. The higher the heat, the more at risk your clothes will be to shrinking.
  • Empty the tumble dryer straight away. Once your cycle is complete, make sure to take your clothes out of the tumble dryer as soon as possible. You can then fold them or hang them accordingly to help them keep their shape.


What’s the Best Tumble Dryer to Prevent Shrinking?

While all tumble dryers can cause shrinking if the proper precautions aren’t taken, there are particular models available that can help to ensure a safe dry every time. These tumble dryers will be designed with intelligent technology that works by preventing your clothes from losing their shape.

But what is the best tumble dryer that doesn’t shrink clothes?

We recommend the Candy Smart Pro CSOEC10DE 10 kg Sensor Dry Condenser Tumble Dryer.

Candy Smart Pro CSOEC10DE 10 kg Sensor Dry Condenser Tumble Dryer

Candy Smart Pro CSOEC10DE tumble dryer

This tumble dryer from Candy is an excellent choice if you’re worried about shrinking clothes. It works by using special Sensor Dry Technology. This feature helps to monitor the moisture levels in your clothes and will then stop the cycle once the clothes are fully dry.

This helps you to avoid over-drying, saves energy and time, and means you won’t spend an unnecessary fortune on your bills!

It comes with 14 drying programs, with a choice of four dryness levels, so you can choose the level that suits you.

Candy have really made the most of current technology. This dryer can be controlled via NFC using an Android phone. This allows you to check on how your clothes are drying while you’re in another room in the house.

Check out the links below to find out more about this tumble dryer, to help you prevent your clothes from shrinking even more!



There is nothing worse than emptying the tumble dryer, only to find that your favourite shirt has shrunk. Clothes can be a costly investment, and it would be a shame for them to be ruined simply from drying them.

With that in mind, we hope this article has helped you to understand why tumble dryers can shrink clothes, and how to prevent this from happening.

Be sure to check out our top choice for the best tumble dryer to help prevent shrinking, and to follow our tips to help your clothes in the best shape possible!

Thanks for reading!