Will drycleaning shrink pants length?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Maxten, Mar 15, 2007.

  1. Maxten

    Maxten Senior member

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    I am getting conflictling advice on this issue. Will drycleaning shrink the length of cotton cords or wool pants?

    I think the answer in both cases is no, but would appreciate more specific feedback.
     
  2. chorse123

    chorse123 Senior member

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    I am getting conflictling advice on this issue. Will drycleaning shrink the length of cotton cords or wool pants?

    I think the answer in both cases is no, but would appreciate more specific feedback.


    I believe it shrunk some pairs of cotton corduroy and cotton moleskin pants I have. They are basically unwearable, unless I want to rock the Thom Browne aesthetic. Good thing they were cheap, but still annoying.
     
  3. odoreater

    odoreater Senior member

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    My tailor says that drycleaning sometimes shrinks wool pants a bit. FWIW.
     
  4. Earthmover

    Earthmover Senior member

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    In theory, drycleaning doesn't shrink clothing, in practice, it has to do with how well the drycleaner maintains drycleaning chemistry. The key to good drycleaning is maintaining good chemicals without impurities, getting the water/drycleaning soap levels correct, adjusting humidity, dry cycles, etc. Anyway, basically, if you mess up the drycleaning chemisty, it is indeed possible to shrink clothes, although the degree to which this happens is much harder to gauge. Generally, most drycleaners will stay within the range most of the time. But of course, there are exceptions, in certain drycleaners and also at brief times at certain drycleaners themselves. For the good ones, however, it should be a very rare occurrence.

    So, the answer is, sometimes yes, although shouldn't.
     
  5. teddieriley

    teddieriley Senior member

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    Wait, you smell that?
    FWIW, I haven't noticed any shrinking of the length of any wool trousers. I don't dry clean cotton ones, although I am inclined to do so with my incotex.
     
  6. hughjoen

    hughjoen Active Member

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    Earthmover gave a correct answer. Cottons and wool do shrink if the machine used is not running correctly. Particularly, if the machine has high level of humidity because out of adjustment.

    My friend owns a Dry Clean, just told me some inexperienced cleaners will wash cotton instead of dry cleaning them because they clean better (particularly if its heavely soiled w/o telling the customer). Do you think they might of washed them? You'd be suprised how many cleaners are very inexperienced.
     
  7. Jaygatsby28

    Jaygatsby28 Senior member

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    I have had negative experiences with the corner dry cleaner on my street last summer in NYC. They shrunk all three of my wool pants. Mind you they were not nice pants, so I wasn't that upset, however they did shrink. I would say they shrunk about an inch in total by the end of the summer (2 dry cleanings a month). In retrospect, I will use a more reputable dry cleaner.

    I have a quick question though about washing wool trousers in water. Is it ok to do this if you hand wash them and then press them yourself? Please let me know.

    Thanks
     
  8. Earthmover

    Earthmover Senior member

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    I have a quick question though about washing wool trousers in water. Is it ok to do this if you hand wash them and then press them yourself? Please let me know.

    I wouldn't try it with fancy wool trousers. I mean, in theory it should be fine (assuming after handwashing, you are drip-drying and steam-ironing after it dries completely), but it's not something that people normally do, nor is it what the clothes are designed to handle, so there may be some unaccounted-for issues that may come up. At the very least, I'd first experiment with the cheapest (or even better, thrifted) pair to see if it works well. As for chemicals, I think woolite may work? I wouldn't use regular detergent, especially not diluted. And brush with a soft-bristle toothbrush (preferably used) any local stains as necessary.

    And also note that ironing is no picnic either. Unless it's a completely clean teflon shoe, I wouldn't recommend direct contact of the fabric with a household iron (use a cotton shirt or some other thin fabric to cover the wool before ironing. And most likely, you won't get a nice sharp crease on your trouserlegs, and the ironing in general may not come out as crisply as you'd like. This is all to say, it's probably not at all worth it. Most good woollens come pre-shrunk anyway, so in theory, it shouldn't be a problem, period.
     
  9. singlechange

    singlechange Senior member

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    I've lost several pairs of cotton and linen trousers due to shrinkage done by various dry cleaners.
     
  10. Drinkwaters

    Drinkwaters Senior member

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    I think the question here is, are some fabric more susceptible to shrinking than others, and the answer is yes. My experience is that some fabrics are more prone due to factors such as quality of the Wool, Cotton or Linen, type of weave, correct sponging(sp) at time of manufacture and as others have answered, the right dry cleaner. A true test to see if a fabric has shrunk is to observe how the fabric looks in the zipper area, because most zippers are a synthetic blend, and if there is puckering, you have experienced shrinkage. As for washing Wool, Cotton or Linen trousers, my answers would be. First, how is the pant constructed? If there is alot of "Make"( a term that is used to describe the complexities of construction inside a garment) I would hesitate to wash these for you will never be able to restore to its original quality, such as the waist band. Some trouser are made with what they call a sport waist band, which is simply made from the material the trousers are made of and can sometimes be successfully laundered. We have had some garments arrive, such as Engineered Garments, which are Wool and have been commercially laundered but they are done so in a extremely controled manner. These washes have been performed to create a "Look" in the material. Weathered, for lack of a better word. There intention was not to continue the wash mode but more to bring to you the clothing with an experienced feeling. In regards to detergent solutions to use, I always recommend to our customers to "NOT" use Woolite. This product contains Formaldehyde, which is toxic to Agriculture and it contains bleaching agents which effects some types of Fabric. There are many good Fabric washes available. We sell Eucalan, a no rinse wool wash that contains Eucalyptus, a natural deterent to Mothes. Or, simply use Johnsons and Johnsons baby shampoo. We have washed all our sweaters, including Cashmere in the later for years and have beautiful sweaters because of it. Hope this has been helpful to those who have had questions. Best Regards, Gary
     
  11. SirGrotius

    SirGrotius Senior member

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    This is scary information for someone such as me who wears slim-cut suits.
     

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