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How to Shrink Shirt Without Fading – Best Way

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Are you having a difficult time to shrink a shirt without fading? Whether you lost weight after purchasing a shirt or bought an enormous size that needs a better fit, you can solve the fit issue by shrinking instead of sewing. 

However, when shrinking a cotton t-shirt at home, be cautious to avoid fading during the process. In general, shrinking clothing utilizes high heat, which can cause colors to bleed or fade out.

How do you shrink a shirt without fading? Prepare t-shirt by turning inside out. Set the washing machine to cold water cycle, add vinegar to prevent color to fade and mild laundry detergent for cleaning. 

Lastly, place the wet t-shirt into dryer under high setting to dry and shrink. 

Generally, most t-shirts can shrink 1-3% of their original size, check the shirt label to determine whether it’s treated preshrunk or not. If the fabric is not preshrunk, then the shirt can shrink several sizes with the washing machine and dryer method.

In this article, we will be going over what causes a t-shirt to fade and the best way to shrink a t-shirt without fading. Answered below are frequently asked questions along with essential shrinking tips to prevent the color to fade instead preserving the color after multiple wears and washes.

Can You Shrink a Shirt Without Fading?

Yes, you can shrink a shirt without fading by simply flipping it inside out. Then, wash it using cold water, and put it in your dryer and set high heat on the most extended setting, usually for an 1 hour.

Repeat washing the shirt in cold water and drying under a high heat setting to let it shrink to your appropriate size. Again, using cold water will help protect your fabric from fading.

Any hot or warm water makes the t-shirt shrink and also break down the fibers which cause the color to bleed or leach out and cause fading.

What Causes a Shirt to Fade?

Color fading occurs when the pigment in the shirt dye weakens its molecular attraction with the fabric. Manufacturers generally make use of pigments and dyes to produce colored clothes, so their bond is important for bright and vibrant coloration. 

During the chemical process of dying, the color becomes part of the fabric. While during pigmenting, a layer of pigment is added over the material strands. 

Whether you are pigmenting or dying, color fading can occur. There are various causes of color fading, the main one being bleaching.

  • Low Quality of Dyes: The t-shirt is likely to fade if the manufacturer uses low-quality dyes and pigments. Also, if the producer reduces the minimum time needed in the dying process, the color is likely to come out and fade away.
  • Compromising to The Process: Some producers skip the complete process during manufacturing. Ideally, after knitting the raw fabric, there is a semi bleaching process known as ready for dying, then final dying. Bleaching reduces the thickness of the material, making it light. If the process is skipped, it will start fading after a couple of washes and lose its vibrance.
  • Using Strong Detergents: Laundry detergent cannot differentiate between color and stains. Using strong detergent on your clothing poses a risk of losing its fresh color as it causes bleaching. Avoid using a detergent that only claims whiteness, instead use mild homemade laundry detergent to avoid color fading.
  • Sunlight Exposure: Bleaching might happen naturally if the shirt is exposed to sunlight. Also, if you reveal clothes to the chemical form of bleach, it can lose color. Drying t-shirt in sunlight can also lead to fading as water and UV radiation act together as a bleaching agent.
  • Washing with Hot Water: Color fading can result from using too hot of water during washing, or failure to follow specified guidelines when washing a particular type of fabrication. For example, some safe labels identify that clothes should only be hand washed with cold water, therefore putting such garments in the washing machine under hot water can cause fade.

Tips to Shrink T-Shirt to Avoid to Fade

Whether you are using washing machine or dryer method to shrink any type of t-shirt, double check the care label to see if the tee already had shrinkage applied or recommended clean instruction to avoid faded colors. 

Here are additional clothing cleaning tips to shrink t-shirts without fading:

  • Over drying a tee will make them fade, and it is not good for dark and bright colors. Ensure you set a timer to avoid forgetting the t-shirt in the dryer for too long. Once the dry time is over, remove immediately from the dryer when they are slightly damp.
  • Sort the tees while checking safety labels and place in the correct clothing pile. To prevent dark-colored t-shirts from fading, keep similar colors together while washing and drying.
  • Read the t-shirt care label and check instructions that recommend washing in cold water or with the same colors. The label also indicates drying at low temperatures.
  • Turn the tees inside out to reduce wear and tear before cleaning or drying. Flipping t-shirts inside out also prevents pilling, which destroys the look of the fabric. Before hanging clothes to dry under the sun, ensure to turn them inside out. Even though air drying is an effective method, uv rays can zap that color out of your shirts.
  • Use vinegar to help the color last longer when shrinking. Set the washing machine to gentle cycle and add a cup of vinegar to the cycle for color retention.
  • Switch laundry detergents that are made with fading and color prevention formulas.

Best Way to Shrink a Shirt Without Fading

No matter what, t-shirts are likely to shrink during washing. However, you will want to shrink them intentionally if they are large and looking to make it fit you right.

The best and quickest way of shrinking a shirt is using cold water to wash and dry with dryer. However, this is one of the fastest ways of causing fading on your shirt. Avoid burning your shirts, and this can destroy your fibers and make your shirt fade instantly.

To shrink t-shirt without fading:

  • Start by turning it inside out.
  • Clean it with cold water.
  • Turn the dryer to high or hot settings, and dry for the most extended available time setting.
  • To ensure the shirt shrinks, repeat washing with cold water and drying to set the shrinkage.

Generally, washing a t-shirt to clean out the dirt with hot water is best to achieve a crystal clean garment. However, it can positively affect on shrinkage, but negatively affect the color fade of the t-shirt. 

When working with bold or bright colored shirts, it is recommended to use cold water to soak and use high heat dryer setting to enact shrink.

How to shrink a shirt without fading

Shrinking Shirts Without Fading: Conclusion

Shrinking white t-shirts is easy, but pastel or bright colored shirts can be tricky to shrink. Without proper shrinking method, it can fade or even bleed colors into one another. 

The more usage on washer and dryer, the faster and higher chance of t-shirt to fade and loose their color is likely. 

In order to shrink a shirt without fading, turn the shirt inside out and throw in the washing machine. Select a smaller load when shrinking a shirt to help to prevent color from fading.

Adjust a hot water setting on washing machine, even though hot water can make your dark and bold colors run, it effectively shrinks your shirt. Prevent the possibility of color fading from hot water by adding a cup of vinegar. 

Additionally, you can use a cold water setting to minimize the color fade, and also the potential for shrinkage as well. With cold water washing, you are relying only on the heat from the dryer to shrink the shirt afterwards.

Use gentle laundry detergent for your wash because if you use strong detergents it can strip away colors from the shirt more easily. Instead, consider using a mild detergent as its gentle on colors.

Using a dryer machine will shrink a t-shirt while it is still wet. Avoid sticking shirts on a clothesline to dry under the sun because the sun can lead to color fading and will not activate any possible shrinkage.

However, drying t-shirt using a dryer can also cause fading, but you can turn it inside out and remove them immediately once completely dried. 

The methods used to shrink a shirt without sewing will eventually cause fade or damage to the fabrication. Therefore, these clothing shrinking methods are not recommended for frequent usage.

Follow the steps to shrink a shirt without fading by washing in cold water and drying with high heat. Afterwards, the shirt should fit you better and give you the appearance you are looking for.

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