Will Washing at 60 Shrink Clothes?

With the rampage of corona virus and the ensuing chaos we have all been consciously or subconsciously forced into inculcating seemingly healthier, sanitary and cleaner options and habits into our daily lives.

With sanitizers and hand washes and masks taking over our lives we are indeed forced to look for germ free options whenever possible. Using hot water that’s about 60⁰ C is also something we feel like doing these days.

So what will be the effect of this on the clothes we put in the washer and is this method really that effective or just a hoax. Read on to find out. 

Will Washing at 60 Shrink Clothes

Washing clothes at 60 

Washing clothes in hot water would seem like a good option when you are dealing with dirty or smelly laundry or if you are looking for an excellent germ free option.

But one apprehension that might taunt us a bit is whether this can lead to shrinkage of clothes that will lead us to throwing them away. 

So will washing at 60 shrink clothes? The answer to the question is both yes and no. The chance of shrinkage depends on the nature of the material used.

If the clothes are made with natural fabric they are prone to shrinking when washed at 60. But the situation is quite different when we are dealing with synthetic fabrics. 

Washing at 60 degrees can also lead to fading of colors or dye transfer in clothes. Therefore even though washing at 60 degrees might seem to be a very desirable option, it does come with quite a few drawbacks as well. 

Why do natural fibers shrink when washed at 60⁰C? 

Natural fabrics such as cotton are converted into cotton clothing through the application of tension. (​​Does Heavy Cotton Shrink?)

When heat is applied while in the washer or dryer, this tension is released which causes them to revert to their natural size. This is why natural fabrics shrink when washed in hot water. 

Why do synthetic fabrics not shrink when washed at 60⁰ C? 

Synthetic fibers are manufactured to be straight and ready to be woven and 60⁰ is not hot enough to change the molecular structure of the petroleum based fibers that are used to make synthetic fabrics. That is why clothes made from synthetic fabrics do not shrink when washed at 60⁰ C. 

Will washing at 60 kill germs? 

If you are washing a strong detergent 30⁰ is the best temperature to wash your clothes if you want to clean your clothes without damaging them. 

60⁰ is the best temperature to kill bacteria and effectively get rid of stains. The high temperature will help break the chemical bonds in the walls of bacteria and will be able to breakdown the lipids in stains to remove them with ease.

Washing clothes at a temperature above 60⁰ is optimal to kill bacteria. 

What fabrics should be washed at 60 degrees? 

Heavily soiled items such as bed linen or towels ought to be washed at high temperatures to effectively remove stains and germs.

For better hygiene it is always preferable to wash your undergarments in hot water or 60⁰ degrees to prevent infections or discomfort. 

Do’s and Don’t of washing clothes made of natural fibers 

It is important to practice some care and caution while washing natural fabrics so as to ensure their durability and to preserve their desirable properties. Keep these pointers in mind when you launder your natural fabrics: 

1.) Machine wash and tumble dry cotton fabrics using a water temperature ranging from cold to hot. 

2.) Make use of an all-purpose detergent. 

3.) Chlorine bleach can be used if the fabric is white or has no fabric finish applied to it. 

4.) Use fabric softener to improve softness and to reduce wrinkling. 

5.) Iron the fabric for a cleaner look. 

6.) Avoid washing and drying at high temperatures. 

7.) Avoid using bleach unless the manufacturer permits that in the instructions. 

Do’s and Don’ts of washing synthetic fabric 

Even though synthetic fabrics are lauded for their durability it is preferable to keep a few things in mind while you wash and take care of them. 

1.) Avoid unnecessary laundering. 

2.) Wash in cold or warm water and never in extremely hot water. 

3.) Reduce the washer’s rotation speed to prevent shedding. 

4.) Wash in full loads to save power, water and money and to prevent formation of microfiber. 

5.) Use less detergent while washing synthetic fabrics. 

6.) Do not use fabric softener when washing synthetics. 

7.) Avoid bleach. 

How to kill germs and remove stains from clothes easily? 

1.) The best way to disinfect your clothes is to wash them at a temperature above 60⁰ but since washing at a high temperature is not that favorable for certain fabrics it is best to opt a few other safer options. 

2.) You can make use of chemical disinfectants to clean your clothes. You can soak and disinfect or remove stains from your clothes with bleach containing chlorine. 

But make sure that you use bleach with the help of a dispenser and never apply it directly on to the clothes as it can remove the colors and ruin the clothing. 

3.) Clean the washer and dryer occasionally to prevent build up of germs. 

4.) Damp clothes can be a breeding ground for germs and it’s always applicable to use the dryer to remove moisture to prevent germ build up. 

5.) You can also make use of steam to clean and remove bacteria from the clothes. 

How long should a 60 wash take?

A 60⁰ wash takes about 3 hours! If you were wondering why a 60⁰ wash takes so long, the reason is that modern washers put in an effort to wash using less water.

Using less water implies that it would take less energy to heat up the water. The duration is so long for 60⁰ washes so that the washing can be done effectively in a cost effective and eco friendly way. 

What happens if you wash jeans at 60 degrees?

If you wash your jeans at 60 degrees they will shrink. If the jeans are pre-washed the shrinkage can be minimized but there is no avoiding shrinkage if you apply high heat in the washer or dryer.

After repeated washings or if you apply great heat in the dryer denims will shrink. This is why it is not applicable to wash denims at 60 degrees. Denims should be washed at 30 degrees or lower. 

You can keep all these facts, tips and heads-ups in mind to prevent some of the most common mistakes people make while doing laundry.

So with some care and caution you can have clean, germ-free and stain-free clothes without damaging them. Since you have figured out what to do and what not to do when it comes to a 60⁰ wash, do your laundry stress free. 

Stephen Luettgen
I have 12+ years of experience in construction, inspections, handy work, and currently working as a Construction Site Manager. In today’s day we spent a significant part of our time at workplace and a right work gear can have significant impact not only on your safety but also work quality.

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