Many individuals are confused when they see a label that states a t-shirt has been preshrunk. They automatically think that the shirt has been completely washed and dried, which would eliminate any possibility of having it shrink during future washings. Unfortunately, that is a myth and we are here to debunk the myth surrounding preshrunk t-shirts.
The term preshrunk actually describes an entire process that the fabric has gone through before being made into the t-shirt that you are wearing. The following is a closer look at what exactly 'preshrunk' means and the process the fabric goes through before being used to create a shirt.
All natural and synthetic fabrics have a natural tendency to want to shrink when they are washed. This is because the fibers of the fabric will want to tighten up and bunch together. This tightening action results in entire fabric shrinking, which results in a change in the overall shape and size of the article of clothing.
Seeing the term 'preshrunk' may automatically bring up images of having the t-shirt washed and dried before it is sold, but it actually implies the use of a process that is known as preshrinking.
The preshrinking process involves placing the fabric that is used to create the t-shirt through a processing machine. The processing machine will force the fibers of the fabric to group together and tighten. When the fibers of the fabric are grouped together, it will eliminate the possibility of the shirt shrinking when it is washed.
There is a common belief that preshrunk shirts will never shrink in the wash. This, unfortunately, is not true. Preshrunk shirts can, and sometimes will, shrink in the wash.
The preshrinking process will eliminate the possibility of a t-shirt shrinking in the wash, but it will not completely prevent any shrinkage. The t-shirt could shrink in the future, but the shrinkage will be very minimal. It is believed that the shrinkage is only about 3-7% of the size of the t-shirt, which would barely impact the fit of the shirt.
T-shirts are often preshrunk because it eliminates any type of guess work out of choosing a t-shirt size. If a t-shirt is a large, it most likely will not shrink in the wash to a medium or small. This makes it easier for people to choose a shirt that will fit them without fear that the clothing will shrink and not be able to be worn in the future.
Next time you are looking at a t-shirt label and notice the term 'preshrunk', you will be able to understand exactly what it means and how it impacts the t-shirt you are purchasing.