Does Pima Cotton Shrink? (How to Wash Pima Cotton Guide)

Natural fibers will shrink. This is a fact of laundry life and everyone simply needs to accept the fact that cotton materials will get smaller if laundered in the wrong way. Pima cotton is not immune to shrinking but then it may only shrink once. This is good news when creating a new clothing item to wear.

Does pima cotton shrink? While pima cotton is a durable fabric that can handle both cool and warm water wash, expect this material to shrink about 3 to 4% in the first wash. After that, the material should remain the same size when using either of those water temperatures.

To learn more about the laundry aspects of Pima cotton just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to know about in order to prepare the fabric for your next sewing project. Take a few minutes to learn how to care for this material.

Does 100% Pima Cotton Shrink?


Yes, it will and it is not as bad as you may think. With an approx. 3 to 4% shrink rate the first time you wash the material you should still have plenty of material left to create a nice garment.

Just make sure to buy about 10% more fabric than you need as it is always best to have left over than not enough material. As we said earlier, the good news is that this material should only shrink once, then it is stable for the life of the garment.

Washing in warm is okay as the cotton fabric is durable and able to withstand warm temperatures. Avoid using hot water though as that may be too high of a temperature to use on this fabric.

Because it is a 100% natural fiber, expect some shrinkage to take place. Natural fibers tend to lose their size when washed at the wrong water temperature or placed in a dryer. Just be careful and you should be okay.

Does Supima Cotton Shrink?

Even though this is a top-quality cotton product it is still vulnerable to everyday laundry ills like shrinking. Some people claim that this material will shrink on you up to 5% if you are not careful.

However because Supima cotton is stronger than regular cotton it will resist shrinking and you may not see that 5% rate take place. It may be lower which is also good news. Supima cotton is supposed to be 45 times stronger than regular cotton so you may not see pilling either.

The key to washing this material is to follow all the laundry instructions given on the different care labels attached to the fabric. While there may be some leeway, Supima cotton is not cheap and why take the risk of ruining an expensive piece of clothing?

Also, watch out for the dryer. It is notorious for shrinking items that usually do not shrink in the washer. You may want to use no heat or very low heat when drying Supima cotton clothing or bedding.

Does Pima Cotton Shrink in the Dryer?

It is possible depending on the heat level you use and how crowded the dryer will be. But generally, it is said that this version of cotton really does not need to be dried in the dryer. it may also not need to be ironed. Dry Pima cotton in the dryer for about 5 minutes then hang dry the rest of the way to remove wrinkles.

But with that said, you may purposefully want to shrink a clothing item. This is an option when you are working with Pima materials. The problem comes in the process where you have to stay by your dryer checking every 5 minutes to see if the shirt, etc., actually shrunk.

To shrink Pima materials, you need to wash on the hottest water setting possible and then put the dress, etc., in the dryer at its hottest temperature levels. Continue to check every 5 minutes or so to see if the material shrunk to your satisfaction. When you are happy with the result, you are done.

How Much does Pima Cotton Shrink?

How -Much-does-Pima-Cotton-Shrink

This fabric is a top cotton material that usually comes in high thread counts. But inferior qualities may be also made so you may experience a different shrink rate than your friends.

The average shrink rate has already been reported but as a reminder, we will put it here as well. You can expect to see about a 3 to 4% shrinkage the first time you wash the fabric. After that, you may not see any shrinkage at all.

Your results will depend on how you wash the material, the quality of the fibers, and other factors like what chemicals have been used on it before buying the clothing item.

Some manufacturers do coat their fabrics with an anti-shrink chemical but they do not do it to every item they produce. It is sort of a hit-and-miss type factor. You never know when they will put the coating on and when they won’t. Unless the company says it did.

Does Pima Cotton Stretch?

This is hard to say as one expert has stated that there is a good amount of stretch found in Pima cotton but how much of a stretch is not really known or has been said. You may get some stretch over time and from wearing the material frequently.

Regular cotton comes with some stretching ability but it is not enough to regain any lost ground due to shrinking. Pima cotton may follow the same principle. No one else has said the material will stretch well so your results will depend on the quality of the fibers and how they were woven.

Hang drying is not going to be a problem and shouldn’t cause the material to stretch that much, if at all. This method of drying is recommended over using your dryer so it should be a safe option to use.

Read the care label to make sure you know which method to use. You never know when the company that makes the clothing item will say dry clean only so err on the side of caution.

Can you Wash Pima Cotton?

Yes, you can wash Pima cotton, and because it is a very durable fabric you are not limited to only one water temperature. You have 3 to choose from- cold, cool, or warm but hot is excluded and you should not use high dryer heat or keep the material in the dryer for long periods.

Make sure to read the care label to be sure of how you should wash Pima cotton bedding and clothing. Every manufacturer may have its own limitations due to any chemical coatings they added to to the fibers.

Also, you never know how well the fibers will stand up to frequent washing, and as they age they may weaken and make it more difficult to wash without doing some harm to the fabric.

You are going to have to be the judge on that and how often you wash Pima cotton items. Play it by ear as time goes by and make sure to be gentle when the fabric gets a little older.

How to Wash Supima Cotton (Washing Instructions)


When you are washing your bedding made from this fabric, make sure to turn the heat off. You should use cold water and a gentle cycle. Also, watch the detergent that you use. Avoid any that contains any form of chlorine bleach.

Also, do not use any regular chlorine bleach separate from the laundry soap. This chemical tends to yellow-white and other colors of Supima materials. Oxygen bleach should be okay to use but be careful when using any chemical cleanser.

When the wash cycle is over, set your dryer temperature on low and remove the items as quickly as possible once the dryer has stopped running. You may only want to hang dry the Supima cotton items and that is okay as well.

As for ironing, keep the setting on warm and do not go above the cotton setting. The lower the heat the better for this material. Supima cotton bedding can be washed once a week if necessary. Or you can do it once every two weeks.

How often you wash your bedding will be up to you and your situation. Just double-check the care instructions to make sure you launder this material correctly.

Washing Pima Cotton Sheets

You will find that Pima cotton and other cotton varieties have basically the same washing instructions. As we have said in other articles on this website, if the care label says do not bleach, then do not bleach.

That instruction goes for Pima cotton bedding also. The first step in washing is to select your water temperature. You can use warm or cool water and you should get the same results no matter which one you select.

Avoid using fabric softeners as this can dull the sheen of the material and eventually leave a coating on the fibers. When washing, you can hand wash if you prefer or you may have to dry clean some bedding options made from this material

When it comes to drying, do not use high temperatures but use a low or no heat option. Plus, you may not need to use the dryer at all as hang drying is just as good and still keeps the wrinkles away.

When it comes to ironing, place the Pima sheets on your ironing board while they are still wet. Use the cotton setting on your iron to make sure you. Only use steam as needed.

How to Wash Pima Cotton T-shirts

You should first check the care label. It is rare but some manufacturers may place dry clean only on t-shirts, if only to protect themselves from any complaints, etc. Dry cleaning is always an option when you are not sure how to wash Pima cotton t-shirts.

However, these t-shirts are like Pima cotton bedding and should be cared for in the same manner. Use cold or a warm water wash temperature and you may experience some shrinkage the first time you wash those t-shirts.

Hang drying may be best for this clothing item as Pima cotton is said to resist wrinkles at times and high-quality Pima t-shirts should resist wrinkling even if you hang dry them.

Iron if necessary and use the steam function only if you have to. Cotton is cotton so you should be able to follow any regular cotton washing rules and still have your Pima t-shirts looking their best.

Can you Bleach Pima Cotton?


It is best not to use chlorine bleach on any Pima cotton outfit or bedding. This chemical is known for turning the fabric, no matter its color, a yellowish tint, and ruining the look of the material.

However, that does not mean you can’t use another form of bleach to make sure your clothes are clean and germ-free. Oxygen bleach is said to be effective as well as safe to use on this fabric.

Or you can try some natural bleach solutions by being careful, even those natural options are not always safe to use on every fabric type. Then, you should avoid using fabric softeners as those can negatively impact the material.

Chemical cleansers are not always the best option when you are trying to launder top-quality materials made from very good fibers. It may be best to look for natural solutions in order to get your clothes germ-free without the risk.

Do a few tests to see which cleanser will work for you but avoid returning to chlorine bleach.

Does Pima Cotton Wrinkle?

Just about every fabric wrinkle at some point in time. But due to the very long fibers that make up Pima cotton materials, the fabric is very wrinkle resistant. This is why many people have said that you really do not need to use your dryer when wanting to dry wet Pima items.

Hang drying is okay as the clothing and bedding should not see a lot of wrinkles if any. You can save on your electric bill by avoiding using your dryer when laundering Pima fabrics.

Also, you can avoid using your iron, whereby you save on your electric bill again, as those items may not need to go through that stage of the cleaning process. Pima cotton may be expensive but the savings you get in the long run will help make up for their high cost. Your results may differ due to the quality of the material

Can you Iron Pima Cotton?

Yes, you can iron pima cotton but as we just explained this material is wrinkle resistant so you may not have to do any ironing at all. Unless you need a nice crease in the pants. Pima cotton is a very durable fabric that is made from very long fibers. It is those fibers that get the credit for lessening your laundering time and work.

If you do need to iron, you do not have to use the steam function if you do not want to. Just use it when it is absolutely necessary so that any stubborn wrinkles will loosen up and relax.

One thing about this fabric. It does its best to keep your workload to a minimum. That is one benefit to buying this fabric for many of your clothing projects. The material looks and feels good while giving you a break where you need it most.

How to Soften Pima Cotton Sheets


When your sheets are getting a bit stiff, it is second nature to reach for the fabric softener or dryer sheets. While these chemical additives do soften cotton sheets, they may not be as helpful as you may think.

The chemicals and the fragrances placed into these laundry additives can build up some residue over time. There is no word on how harmful that residue is but it can help the bedding to lose its luxurious feel and possibly good looks.

You can go to vinegar instead to help soften the material and hang drying is another option available to you. The latter option is best when the sheets are new. 1 cup of vinegar without laundry detergent is the first step and hang drying is the second.

Then wash with your regular laundry soap after the sheets dry and use your dryer.

Some Final Words

All cotton materials tend to shrink. The question is how much will the fabric shrink and where. if you are careful, the material should only shrink once and then you should have fewer troubles when cleaning this material.

The key will be to follow the care label added to every bedding and clothing item and avoid using chlorine bleach.

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