What Are the Causes of Fabric Shrinkage?

Fabric is a word that is heard by every other person nowadays. Fabric is something we wear daily. Whether it is your bedtime, or you must go to your office, you wear something made of fabric. One never imagines that this basic fabric could have certain types of problems. One problem of this fabric is known as Fabric shrinkage. Today we will be discussing the reasons for this kind of problem. Let us dive into the details of them. 

What is Fabric Shrinkage?

By the title of this part, you must have imagined that this isn’t something that will be liked and preferred by people. Fabric shrinkage is a kind of disease for the fabric, which makes the overall look of the fabric bad. Let me define the proper meaning of fabric shrinkage for you. Fabric shrinkage is a change in the overall shape of the fabric. There are different reasons for fabric shrinkage.

This change in the fabric can be a reason for different kinds of force applied or due to the change in environment. When there is a change in environment or a force applied to the fabric, the fabric changes its state and relaxes, which causes the overall structure of the fabric to change.

This kind of abnormality results in the fabric looking bad and useless. The process of fabric shrinkage is not that long. During weaving, when the fabric is under high tension, it is likely to stretch itself and change its shape. What happens is the tension causes the fabric to lose its original state. The same happens when the fabric is under the looming process.

As soon as it is taken out of the loom, the fabric relaxes, which causes the structure of the fabric to change. The process where the fabric loses its state is known as a pseudo-equilibrium. 

Not only do certain processes lead toward fabric shrinkage, one of the reasons for fabric shrinkage is wetting. When the fabric is put in water for long hours, the structure of the fabric changes as its molecules turns soft and change their position. Due to the change in position, the fabric overall changes its state.

The water that enters the fabric gets in contact with the yarn of the fabric. What water does is that it gets to change the size of the yarn. The yarn loses its concentration and relaxes.

The above reasons are the cause of fabric shrinkage. Let us look into the details of each fabric shrinkage reason.

Production Method 

The weaving, dyeing, and finishing processes are prime examples of how your fabric can shrink. These processes use different kinds of chemicals and substances that change your fabric’s dimensions. When the fabric is constantly being washed and dried at the same rate, the molecules of the fabric change their shape. Hence this becomes one of the reasons for fabric shrinkage. 

Raw Material 

The different kinds of fabrics have different shrinking rates. For example, if you have a synthetic fabric, that will mean that it won’t shrink that much, and hence you can use all the different processes like dyeing and weaving, and your fabric would most likely maintain its shape.

However, fabrics like spandex have a higher shrinking rate, and hence the slightest bit of mishaps would change the shape of the fabric. Therefore, you must be careful while using this fabric as it might cause trouble once it has lost its original shape.

How to test fabric shrinkage? 

Fabric shrinkage could be tested in several ways.

The first step of this check is to know the type of your fabric. If it is of low quality, the fabric will likely be under some shrinkage. You need to check whether the raw fabric is in its original position. Many times, people confuse fabric shrinkage as their fault; however, the reason want them but the supplier of the fabric. He supplied a defective fabric and hence should be responsible for it. 

Secondly, what you can use as a fabric checker is when it is cut into pieces. Sometimes, your workers may encounter problems, leading to your fabric losing its original shape. And you might end up blaming someone else for the shrinkage. 

Thirdly, what you can use as a check is that once your fabric is ready for supplies, you can compare the measurements of the original one and now the current one. If there is any shrinkage, you must put a label on the pack so that the consumers know about the shrinkage and don’t complain afterward. 


By now, you must be aware of the reasons for fabric shrinkage. To avoid this problem, you must keep an eye on the process where your fabric undergoes certain treatments like dyeing and weaving. I hope this information was enough for you to carry out your census.

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