Why are clothes getting stretched out of shape – especially sleeves? I’ve had a lot of jumpers and cardigans that have not lasted as long as I’d expect. The sleeves in particular have stretched so much that they cover my entire hand. Other clothes have sleeves that have stretched to over twice as wide and have become very baggy.
Many modern clothes aren’t made as well as they used to be, but maybe there’s another cause? Not paying attention to the wash labels is the most likely cause. Washing them on the wrong wash cycles. Or tumble drying them when they shouldn’t be put in a dryer. Or drying them on too high a heat-setting. Many garments now have ludicrous wash label instructions such as having to reshape them and lay them down flat to dry, or only washing them on delicate cool wash cycles.
Most laundry just gets put on the 40 degree cottons wash
A lot of people just put most laundry into the washing machine on the same wash programme – commonly the 40 degree cottons cycle with full spin.
This seems to work ok. Most people don’t have the time or patience to sort out laundry into small loads, especially if something needs washing and can’t wait until a decent sized load needing the same cycle builds up. However, you may not realise it could be shortening the life of some clothes. It may be subjecting them to too much physical strain, or too high a temperature, causing sleeves to stretch and lengthen or go baggy.
Ridiculous amount of stretching
This particular jumper is so stretched that in order to wear it I’d have to fold back the sleeves about 4 inches. Needless to say I’ve now thrown it away because that was ridiculous. But for sleeves to become stretched this much something must be damaging the fibres. If you want to avoid this sort of damage always check the wash symbol labels on new clothing you buy before washing fades them so much they can’t be read.
What do the various wash symbols mean?
You might be surprised at how many modern t-shirts, shirts and jumpers have restrictive washing, tumble drying and ironing instructions, which if ignored will damage the item. To find out what they all mean read here – What do all the wash symbol labels mean?
Read the wash labels before buying clothes
After finding another of my favourite sweat shirt / jumper’s ruined, with baggy and stretched sleeves I managed to read the wash label. The label says “hand wash only – dry on a flat surface”. My wife doesn’t tumble dry them but washes them in the washing machine. This is undoubtedly why it has stretched so badly. To be fair, these wash instructions are ridiculous. Who has the time to sort out every individual item of laundry and pander to their silly washing and drying requirements? Especially when they are as ludicrous as this.
So the answer is to realise that despite us having washing machines for many decades, many clothing manufacturers are making clothes that we are supposed to only wash using 18th century methods. Not only that but we can’t use a dryer to dry many of them, nor even hang them up anywhere. They seriously expect us to carefully stretch them out on the kitchen table and leave to dry. The lesson is to always read the wash labels before you buy any clothes to make sure they don’t have silly washing instructions that non compliance with can seriously shorten their lives.