Help! My Bedding Is Shrinking. What Should I Do?

Woman Making Bed

Is your bedding constantly shrinking? Are you tired of having to constantly replace perfectly good bedding, as it’s just too small for your duvets? While irritating, shrinking bedding is not an inevitability. You can stop it in its tracks in just a few simple steps. Here are some ways to prevent shrinking at every step of the bedlinen laundry process.

Why is my bedding shrinking?

Shrinking happens when the fabric weave gets tighter. All fabric is made of multiple threads all woven together – that’s why thread count matters when buying bedding – and incorrect washing can make the threads move closer together. A higher thread count will minimise shrinking, as there is less space for the threads to move. It can take a few washes for bedlinen to fully shrink after being purchased. Most of the shrinking will be seen in the first 5 washes.


How are you washing your laundry? Are you treating it as gently as it needs to last? Always check the labels before washing! This seems obvious, but it’s easy to forget and make assumptions based on previous laundry. However, lots of fabrics need very different treatment. Most bedding should have some kind of washing instruction to help keep it in good condition.


The Victorians boiled their laundry but we’ve come on leaps and bounds since then! Laundry doesn’t have to be washed at extreme temperatures to be cleaned – all you’re doing is damaging the fabric.

Over washing

Washing bedding for too long can lead to shrinking. Similarly, washing on too harsh a cycle can also shrink bedlinens. You want to keep temperatures down and use the delicate cycle whenever possible.


Don’t over-dry items! Find out how long it takes for the item to dry completely and do not dry it for any longer.

Tumble drying

Tumble drying is quick, but that is probably the main culprit behind the shrinking. You are best off drying things on an airer or washing line, as this is the least damaging to the threads. However, if you must put your bedding in the dryer, try using the cool-down function at the end of the cycle to help prevent heat induced shrinking. Try and use your shortest, coolest settings when using a tumble dryer.

Sorting fabrics

When putting bedding in the dryer, try to keep similar fabrics together. Fibre type will affect the length of time it takes for things to dry. Pairing items with similar wash/dry times helps make sure that no part of the load gets dried too much. Sort your washing according to fibre content as this affects how long items take to dry. Basically – if you also provide towels, don’t wash or dry them with your bedding.


It’s not always the washing! You also have to watch out for ironing distortion. A common reason for fabrics that contain polyester shrinking is not that they are shrinking in the normal way, but that they are being distorted by the ironing process. This is the drawback to choosing a poly-cotton fabric for bedlinen over a 100% cotton. If a poly-cotton duvet, for example, is ironed at temperatures above 165°C, the polyester starts to soften.

When the iron is pulled across the fabric, the newly soften threads stretch in the direction of the movement. This makes it seem as though the fabric has shrunk in the wash, but actually the iron has moved the threads around. This stretching effect will become more obvious after each time it is ironed. Ultimately, to prevent ironing distortion you must iron the fabric below 165°C.


In some cases, you can stop your bedding from shrinking before you even buy it! When you’re purchasing bedding, it is always a good idea to check the dimensions. Some retailers sell their bedding pre-shrunk, so their product should not shrink as much in the wash.

When it comes to the fabric type, try a poly-cotton blend. Any bedding with a high cotton content but low thread count should be expected to shrink a little. While people love 100% cotton bedding for its softness and breathability, a poly-cotton blend is much less likely to shrink and can still feel gorgeous.

Start with quality

If your organisation provides bedding as part of your service, you’ll want to make sure it’s the best quality possible. Frequently restocking bedding can get very expensive very quickly, and it’s bad for the environment too. Luckily, if you need to purchase bedding, Homefords is the place for you.

We stock a comprehensive range of wholesale bedding, from sheets and pillowcases to full duvet sets. You don’t need to register to start browsing. There is a bulk discount. Delivery is free to mainland UK. And the minimum order is only £100. Best of all, our prices are low and the products are great quality every time.

Leave a Reply