To shrink a flannel, there are two popular as well as effective methods available for you. These two methods are too simple and will not require any skill at all. To shrink a flannel with boiling water, just soak your shirt in the hot water and agitate them properly.
After five minutes when the shirt is soaked properly, pull the shirt out and put it in a dryer. Another way of shrinking is using the washing machine. To do so, wash your shirt in the hottest setting available and then dry it using the dryer. Air drying is an option here as well. To know more about how to shrink a flannel, keep on reading.
How You Can Shrink a Flannel Fabric
Have you ever bought a flannel shirt that you were all crazy about and then when you try that at home, you realize that the shirt is too large for you? Well, what you can do about this is you can go to a professional tailor and get the size of the shirt fixed. Or, try shrinking it at home easily with your washing machine or dryer.
But before you go ahead and do it, you should learn a thing or two about your flannel shirt as well as the shrinking. Mostly, cotton-based shirts might not be much affected by the shrinking procedure. Besides, some shirts come to our hands pre-shrunk. Particularly those shirts would not have any effects on shrinking.
There are two effective ways to shrink your flannel shirts.
- Soaking in hot water
- Using washing machine
Here is how you can shrink your beloved flannel shirt in the easiest way possible.
(A) Soaking in Hot Water
Step 1: Read the Instruction
Be sure that your flannel shirt is made of cotton or wool. Otherwise shrinking will not be much effective here. Because synthetic fibers are much harder to shrink, and the process is not simple at all.
Also, make sure that the shirt can be washed according to the instruction provided on the shirt. If your shirt is pre-washed, it will be noted there. So in that case, you will have no other choice than to take your shirt to the professional tailor.
Step 2: Boil Water With Vinegar
Now take a large pot and fill it with water. Add a cup of vinegar to it. And then boil it. The vinegar will prevent losing the color of your shirt which can occur due to heat.
Step 3: Soak the Shirt
When the water starts boiling, remove your pot from the stove and soak your shirt in it. To agitate the shirt in the hot water, you can use a wooden spoon. Keep soaking the shirt for five minutes.
Step 4: Drying
Pull out your shirt from the hot water and then you are free to drain the water into the sink. Now when your shirt is cool enough to touch, take it to the dryer. And dry it there for about an hour. Make sure that the dryer is in a medium setting.
This should shrink your shirt up to 20%. But if you are not satisfied enough with the shrinking, and expect more, then follow the procedure again. That should help you shrink the flannel shirt further.
(B) Using a Washing Machine
Step 1: Wash the Shirt With Vinegar
Use a cup of vinegar while washing your shirt on the washing machine for shrinking. As we said before, vinegar will help you here as well to lose less color. However, if you have more than one shirt to shrink, wash them separately. Otherwise, you might end up having discolored shirts after washing.
Step 2: Use the Hottest Setting in Your Washing Machine
While washing the shirt for shrinking, you have to make sure that the shirt is well-agitated. Otherwise, the shrinking might not be uniform, and that will be noticeable. To ensure proper agitation, use the heavy wash cycle available. Also, use the hottest setting available in your machine for the wash.
Step 3: Drying
Drying plays an important role here. So if you make any mistake, you might not get a proper outcome. After the washing cycle is finished, remove the shirt immediately from the machine and dry it in your dryer with a medium setting.
If the shirt is not shrunk as much as you wanted, you can repeat the process until you shrink it enough.
Why Does Flannel Shrink?
As most of the flannels are made of wool that comes from sheep or other animals, when the wool are exposed to heat, they start to mesh and shrink. As a result, the wools get stiffened and shorter. This is why when the flannel is washed with hot water, for example around 120 degrees Fahrenheit, it shrinks.
And apart from that, there are plenty of reasons why flannel shrinks. So let’s talk about how else your flannel shirt can be shrunk.
Tumbling has a great effect on fabrics like flannel, even if you are using cold water. So when you are washing or drying your flannel shirt on a washing machine or dryer, make sure you are on a gentle cycle. If you are not sure about your machine’s washing cycle, handwashing can be an option for you.
2. Low-quality Flannel
Cheap quality flannels are more vulnerable to shrinking than good ones. So if you do not want your shirt to be shrunk over time, you better check the quality of the flannel while buying.
To know your flannel’s quality, see if it gets warped or not when you tug it in a little bit. However, the top-quality flannels are thick, heavy, and feel a little fluffy.
3. Improper drying
If you find that your flannel shirt is a little short after drying, don’t be surprised. Because when you dry your flannel hotter than you should, the fabric can get damaged. And as a result, you might get your shirt 1 to 3 sizes smaller in no time.
Mild detergent is the best option for you if you want to keep your flannel shirt as it is. There is some harsh detergent with chemical components like whitening agents or bleach additives that can ruin your fine flannel shirt. Also, fabric softener has a huge effect on flannels as it chokes the fabric.
Frequently Asked Questions and Anwers
Can you shrink the flannel in the dryer?
Dryers are used in the shrinking process. But particularly dryer can not make sure your flannel shirt shrunk. To shrink, you have to soak the shirt in hot water or wash it using a washing machine with the hottest setting possible.
How do you wash flannel so it doesn’t shrink?
While washing, avoid using hot water. Rely on cold water when you do not want your flannel shirt to be shrunk. A little warm water might not bring any change in the size. Furthermore, do not use harsh detergents or other detergents with bleach additives or whitening agents. Using mild detergent will be helpful for you here.
If you are not confident enough about the whole process, just do not do it. Instead, you can take it down a size, if you want. But since you know the ins and outs of how to shrink a flannel, it is always a valid option for you. However, do not forget to check the instructions before you go any further.