Help Me With My Laundry Dilemma

I’m a lack-luster, lame, lousy laundress. I normally throw everything in together, set it on “Warm” and do 1-2 loads per week that way. However, I wear T-shirts. Every Spring, I buy a bunch of new T-shirts. By the end of the summer, they’ve all shrunk so they’re shorter but wider. I won’t wear them if they don’t cover my waistband when my arms are raised, so I start with a fresh bunch every year, even though they aren’t torn or stained (usually).

How can I keep my shirts from looking like a funhouse mirror?



I divide them up into three or four different categories.

Whites go on hot water.
Darks on cold
Brights on warm
Pastels on warm.

It may be the tshirts you’re buying, I have the same problem with jeans. For a short fat granny, I’ve got long legs compared to my body. The darned jeans legs always shrink UP.

I usually buy my tshirts from that athletic shoe store…(thinking, thinking…Told you I was a granny, the clerks wear striped black and white shirts?). They have sales on their colored tshirts either 5 for 20 bucks or 3 for 20 bucks depending upon the sizes. I think the 3 for 20 bucks are the extra talls. I like my shirts super long, and both types at this shoe store (sorry it’s completely slipping my mind) are long enough and seem to keep their length.

The bottom line–T-shirts will shrink that way. So find a place that sells tall size t-shirts. That’s what we do. They are a little long the first couple of wearings; then they are perfect.

Knit fabrics tend to shrink this way. You can also hang them to dry because it’s the dryer that does most of the shrinking or try some preshrunk t-shirts.

The tall t-shirt is a good idea unless you already need tall.

I wash just like you, but I never ever put my shirts in the dryer. Underwear, socks, jeans, slacks, pajamas, towels and linens go in the dryer but never shirts. Ok, actually, I do put my old t-shirts in there that are sufficiently stretched out to where I don’t think they will shrink. I am usually right, but I’m talking like 10-year-old t-shirts.

Lucky for me I grew up in a house that was set up to allow hang-drying of clothes, and bought a house with the same capabilities. If I lived in an apartment, I don’t know what I’d do :frowning:

I live in an apartment, but I just hang them up in the shower, or if that’s being used on the towel rack. I only hang up stuff like shirts or dresses, and that’s only about maybe four or five shirts at one go.

Air drying is the way to go.

Are your T-shirts 100% cotton? I’ve found that they tend to shrink worse than blended fabric. :frowning:

A friend of mine says you can dry jeans for 15 minutes but everything else should be airdryed.

I don’t dry any of my clothes in the dryer except things that I don’t care if they shrink (socks and underwear kind of stuff) - the legs on my pants get too short, and shirts shrink.

It might also depend on where you buy your t-shirts - I had a t-shirt from Sears that shrunk in length and seemed to get wider in width even without putting it in the dryer - I think I got a couple of weeks of wear out of that one before washing it made it look too ridiculous. I got some other t-shirts from Wal-Mart that wore really well. It seems like t-shirts with a texture to them wash a lot better, too.

Try these from Lands’ End. They’re great t-shirts, and if you’re EVER not happy with then you can return them for refund or exchange. So if they shrink after a couple of months, just exchange for new ones.

Seconding Blue Moon. Tees from Land’s End don’t shrink, in any direction.

I wash everything in cold water – I’ve tried warm but I can’t tell any difference in clean.

The store you’re thinking of is Foot Locker. I’ve bought T-shirts there before.

I pretty much do the same thing as the OP. Sometime during the spring, I go to Walmart and get a boatload of T-shirts, usually in some ungodly large size to account for shrink, but also because I tend to wear them when I go out in the sun, so I want maximum coverage. By the end of the summer, they’re usually stained, bleached out or generally not worth wearing in public, but because I don’t spend a ton of money on them, I don’t feel bad about throwing out the ones that need thrown out. I do the same with knit shorts.

Wash everything in cold. Unless you’re rolling around in dog crap it will come clean. Use about 1/3 to 1/4 of the detergent you’re likely using too. Find the manufacturers recommended line in the cap (it’s lower than you think) and use about half of that. Save money and your clothes.

I also use about 1/4 cup of white vinegar in the fabric softener dish on the washer and except for fleece stuff I don’t need dryer sheets.

You might also like the longtail Ts from Duluth. I’ve gotten the Other Shoe several of their shirts, and he’s been really happy with them. Their stuff is pretty high-quality, and the longtail Ts are, well, longer.

Do everything in cold unless there’s a specific reason to wash in warm / hot (e.g. towels that you want to disinfect or some such). When you put things in the dryer, remove all shirts and hang them up on hangers to dry.

Both of these steps will reduce wear and tear on the fabric, as well as saving energy. I’ve got a lot of shirts that have been through years of wear this way.

Obviously if the shirt is especially stretch (a sweater or whatever), immediate hanging may not be good for retaining its shape.

Alright, I’m going to try to remember to hang my shirts. We’ll see if it lasts. I’m pretty lazy when it comes to that stuff. Should I shake/snap them to get out wrinkles, or just let them be?


Hanging them up to dry, you shouldn’t get as many wrinkles as when you do them in the dryer. A spritz or two of the wrinkle remover spray should take care of them, no need to press.

I do shirts in cold, pants in warm, sheets/towels/underwear in hot.

Pants dry on medium, shirts on low, the other stuff on high. I pull out any shirts that aren’t supposed to go in the dryer, plus any cotton that seem apt to shrink. I’ve got a little drying rack that everything goes on.

After the air-dried stuff is dry, tossing them back in the dryer on low for 10 minutes or so will take out the air-dried stiffness and any wrinkles.

I get more wrinkles in my air-dry stuff than the dryer stuff, but that’s because I pull my stuff out of the dryer as soon as it’s done.

For a normal tee, you probably won’t get any in the first place. I hang mine on a cheap wooden accordion rack, and the worst that ever happens is a single crease from where it lays on the rod on particularly stiff fabrics.

When you hang indoors, you get fewer wrinkles, no pollen hanging on, and the clothing doesn’t get crunchy. Plus, they never unexpectedly get rained on. I’ve never understood why so many people like to hang theirs outdoors.

The incredibly fresh smell you get from hanging your clothes outside. I plan to put up a line in my new backyard this summer - especially for sheets and pillowcases.

I shake all my clothes out before hanging them on the line - I think it makes them less wrinkly, but it doesn’t seem to be an issue at all.

Washing in cold is fine for cleanliness, but my plumber has recommended that I put a load of hot water and bleach through my basement pipes regularly to prevent clogs.