Residual Shrinkage


Some fibers swell in diameter when exposes to water or moisture, resulting in the length of the fiber decreasing. Such shrinkage can be recovered with hand ironing, or the garment may stretch back to size during wearing. Commercial laundry equipment is not designed to restore this type of shrinkage, so allowances are usually made in the manufacture of the fabric or the finished article to prevent loss of fit. Fiber swelling does not occur in drycleaning as it does in laundering.

Temporary dimensional changes can occur with changes in relative humidity in fabrics made of hygroscopic fibers such as rayon and cotton. This can be seen in draperies, which may undergo daily variations in length depending on atmospheric conditions.

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