I live in a student dorm. I wash my clothes in the electric washing machine and then dry them using an automatic tumbler dryer. Each time I dry them, they shrink.

Drying racks are not allowed in the dorm.

What can I do to stop my clothes from shrinking?

The washer and dryer are two different machines.

  • before needing a life hack, what are the clothes generally made of, and are there temperature controls (even just hot/warm/cold) on the washer or the dryer? Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 15:42
  • @KateGregory, Mostly cotton T-shirts and gabardine pants. The washer has temperature control, e.g., 20, 40, 60, and 90 degrees. The tumbler dryer has timing. Drying for less than 60 minutes leaves the clothes a little bit soggy.
    – user366312
    Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 18:51
  • ok, and do you hang your clothes when they're dry, or fold them and put them in a drawer? Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 19:12
  • @KateGregory, i fold them and put in the drawer. there is no place for hanging.
    – user366312
    Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 19:14

2 Answers 2


If you cannot let the garments dry on a hanger in a closet or doorway, then

  • Buy garments made of materials that don't shrink as much, e.g., Mercerised cotton or polyester,



  • Buy garments in a larger size, in the (forlorn) hope that they might shrink uniformly to fit.

My experience with tumble dryers is that the non-heat-pump types have a very high temperature at the end of the cycle. If you wash at 40 degrees Celsius, the drying probably reaches temperatures of 70-80 degrees Celsius if your dryer doesn't have a heat pump. Shortening the tumble dry time to leave the clothes slightly moist could reduce the temperature at the end of tumble drying cycle.

The real fix, however, is a drying method that never reaches high temperatures:

  • Either a drying rack.
  • Or a tumble dryer that has heat pump. Heat pump tumble dryers can make your clothes dry without reaching temperatures of over 50 degrees Celsius.

Heat pump tumble dryers are more expensive, though, and less durable (since they have a heat pump, which is a complex piece of technology as opposed to a simple resistor).

If neither of these two is not a possibility for you, you could of course ask why drying racks are not permitted. If it's due to moisture concerns, perhaps you could use the tumble dryer in a shorter cycle to make your clothes only very slightly moist as opposed to completely dry (thus reducing the temperature at the end of the drying cycle), and then use drying rack with very slightly moist clothes. That probably causes less issues due to moisture than drying fully wet clothes.

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