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Proper clothing care? Wits end...

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I admit it, I need help. I need help with proper care for my clothes.

All my T-shirts shrink and get "old" looking after a few washes. I wash on warm and dry on low.

I just bought a long sleeve sueded cotton shirt. Washed on warm, dried on low, removed it from the dryer still a bit damp. It had shrunk to the point where it is unwearable (rides above my waist now, sleeves barely get past elbows, but shirt is still just as wide as it used to be).

Please help...I am afraid of buying nicer clothes, because the clothes I have seem to deteriorate so damn fast. Are there any guides out there on how to properly care for clothing using a regular home washer and dryer?
post #2 of 12
Part of the thing with nicer clothes is that they don't deteriorate so fast. Your long sleeve shirt demonstrates that the fabric wasn't shrunk properly in making it - if it shrank that much only in the length, then it wasn't your fault. Return it as defective. With your t-shirts, I'm not sure what to say except that some shirts will do that and others will last. Assuming you're using a normal amount of a normal detergent and not adding anything else, I don't think there's much else I can tell you. Check that your hot water temperature isn't excessively high, which would make the warm water too warm. Maybe check for hard water?
post #3 of 12
Washing clothes, can be touchy stuff. I don't care what the instructions say. You're going to run into situations where you must think for yourself. Sometimes that means taking things out of the dryer, before they're completely dry; hang them up, for the duration. Other times, I've had actually to stretch things (rayon, for example,) even though it said 'washable,' on the label. Regarding tee shirts . . . I've stopped buying any that cost money. I get them from Land's End. Their super tees may not be the best looking, but they do wash well, at least for me. And, they last.
I find too, that the waists of my washable trousers, often come down, after washing and drying. Yes, I should hang them up each time, but sometimes, I don't. Also, with two cats in the house, the dryer is about the only way to remove cat hair. If I can remember, I take trousers out of the dryer, before they're completely dry. This makes a difference. Otherwise, buy a size up for things that you think will shrink. Many of your finer things, will have to be dry cleaned in any case.
post #4 of 12
First and foremost, STOP washing t-shirts in warm water. Growing up, my mother taught my brother and I to wash all clothes in cold water and all towels in hot water. I've subscribed to this policy ever since, and it has really worked for me as far as keeping clothes in good fit. You also might be buying clothes that may not be the right size if they shrink to a point where it is unwearable. It's the nature of any fabric to experience slight shrinkage after washing, especially over time. I had to come to the realization at one point that smalls no longer fit me and mediums were the route to go.
post #5 of 12
Mrchapel is absolutely correct.

I use cold water on all my clothes and the long life of my t-shirts - just fantastic. Have never had a problem with stratchnig or shrinkage. Keep in mind that I do generally buy reasonably quality t-shirts to help me in this endeavour.
post #6 of 12
Yeah, I've always used cold water to wash all my clothes and have had no issues whatsoever. You might also want to consider not washing things unless they really need to be washed. Hanging things up to air is a good idea, as washing anything will decrease its useful life. Of course, hygiene is also important so if it's dirty by all means wash it, but I see some people take it to extremes and wash a T-shirt after wearing it for 5 minutes.
post #7 of 12
this is my laundry regiment:

1) one load for all WHITES, 3/4 cup bleach, 3/4 cup detergent, fabric softener and wash hot. better to let it soak in the hot water before washing, but i cant do this as im using the apt complex's laudromat.

2) one load for all COLORS, including shirts, tshirts, blouses, skirts, more delicate items, EXCEPT for pinks, reds. 3/4 cup detergent, fabric softener and wash COLD on delicate/colors (usually this automatically washes them in color)

3) one load for all perm press items: jeans, her jeans inside out, nylon items, socks, colored underwears, undergarments, athletic wear, etc. 3/4 cup detergent, fabric softener, and wash warm. (usually perm press setting washes warm)

4) one load for all reds, pinks. shirts, tshirts, blouses, underwears, whatever. 1/2 cup detergent, fabric softener, wash cold.

5) one batch of HAND WASH ONLY, most delicate items, women's blouses with special knitting or trinkets or what have you. i use the large basin to fill up with cold water, throw in 1/2 cup detergent, and hand wash. fabric softener as well when i rinse. lay out dry flat in my balcony

all clothing will be thrown into dryers set at medium. don't over load your dryers.
some items like certain shirts and sweaters i will lay out flat and dry in balcony.

most my clothing are of decent quality so i dont have any issues of strange shrinkage or color bleeding.
our stuff comes from macys, nordstrom rack , american eagle, AF, banana, marshalls, saks, tjmaxx, ross, target, wherever. but we always select the items that come in quality. hopefully in discount as well.

for instance all my rl polos i throw in the wash and they have been doing this for tens of dozens of times for over 4 years and they still look very good. no out of shapeness.

i have bought tawdry tshirts and shirts from some cheap places, like express, target, jcpenny and these no matter how care you put into wash, they come out shrunken half shirts and such.
you cant help it. just the quality of the cloth.
so thus, it may fare well for you if you do purchse the more expensive items (not always monetary wise, meaning quality) as they do hold up much better in the wash.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarllraC
I just bought a long sleeve sueded cotton shirt. Washed on warm, dried on low, removed it from the dryer still a bit damp. It had shrunk to the point where it is unwearable (rides above my waist now, sleeves barely get past elbows, but shirt is still just as wide as it used to be).


Carl, i would not be surprised if that sueded cotton shirt is of some low brand name, correct? i would go out on a limb and say that, any more qualitative shirts you can sometimes abuse it a little in the wash and they still turn out great.

like i mentioned above, some cheap items you throw a little water on it and it shrinks like in the cartoons..
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarllraC
Are there any guides out there on how to properly care for clothing using a regular home washer and dryer?

Don't use the dryer. Hang stuff to dry -- even if you don't have an outside line, buy an airer and hang stuff around the house. Then your clothes won't shrink and your place will smell good too!
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarllraC
I admit it, I need help. I need help with proper care for my clothes.

All my T-shirts shrink and get "old" looking after a few washes. I wash on warm and dry on low.

I just bought a long sleeve sueded cotton shirt. Washed on warm, dried on low, removed it from the dryer still a bit damp. It had shrunk to the point where it is unwearable (rides above my waist now, sleeves barely get past elbows, but shirt is still just as wide as it used to be).

Please help...I am afraid of buying nicer clothes, because the clothes I have seem to deteriorate so damn fast. Are there any guides out there on how to properly care for clothing using a regular home washer and dryer?


1. Try using coldwater wash as mrchapel and others have indicated. That might address the problem of your t-shirts shrinking.

2. As for premature wear, minimizing friction either in the wash or in the dryer will help greatly. It might sound like a pain in the ass, but for favorite shirts etc., try using nylon mesh laundry bags like these:

3. above all, read the labels on the clothes you buy (!) If it says "line dry only", there's a good reason why it's there.

4. Finally, although it is inconvenient, try to wean yourself off of the clothes dryer and line dry.. or use a clothes drying rack like the following:



or

post #11 of 12
The others have mentioned the major points, but there are a few minor points as well:
- Heat in both the wash and dry cycle will cause fading
- Quality of material makes a big difference.
- Skip the color-safe bleach stuff. If you have white shirts with print/color and want to brighter whites with minimum fading, increase proportion of water to clothes--assuming that you can control the amt. of water to clothes. If you use one of the computer controlled HE washers, I think you're out of luck.
- Learn what fiber content means in relation to washing. There's more to it than this but as a general rule, natural fibers will shrink more than synthetic fibers with the exception of Rayon which is classified as a synthetic, but is based on a natural fiber and developed to mimic the properties of cotton and silk--it shrinks.
- Shrinking more in one direction than the other is typical.
- Keep a note pad over your dryer and learn from your mistakes. Notate the type of fiber that shrank under what condition or the type of detergent and temperature used and brand of clothing that resulted excess fading.
post #12 of 12
Though I prefer to hang-dry my dress shirts, putting them in the dryer on low heat until they are damp (20 minutes or so) and then transferring them to the ironing board makes ironing shirts a lot easier.
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