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Do Bamboo Clothes Shrink? It’s all about taking care

do bamboo clothes shrink

Switching to a new type of clothing can bring on all kinds of questions. Just before I bought my first bamboo long-sleeve top I had a few concerns and so I started to do some research. For me, the most important question to answer was about caring for the item and specifically would the top easily shrink.

As a general rule bamboo clothing will not shrink during the laundry cycle however you should ensure you are buying from a reputable retailer and that you follow the manufacturer’s care instructions. Unless blended with other materials such as wool, no special care is required for bamboo clothes.

Of course, the most likely place for clothing to shrink is in the laundry cycle and so this article is mainly focused around caring for and laundering bamboo clothing.

In this article, I won’t describe what bamboo clothing is or the pros and cons however if you would like to know more then I’d suggest reading my other article “Bamboo Clothing – Stylish and Sustainable Fashion You will Love” after this.

So here are the answers to the main questions I had.

Does Bamboo Clothing Shrink When Washed?

The good news is that bamboo clothing generally doesn’t shrink, at least no more than any other type of clothing fabric. In general, bamboo clothes should be washed in cool water on a gentle cycle.

As with any type of clothing though, it is possible for bamboo clothes to shrink if they are not laundered properly and that’s why it is always so important to carefully read the label on your clothes before washing them.

My advice is to follow the instructions to the letter, if the label says to wash in cool water and air dry, then that’s most likely the best way to avoid shrinking and other damage.

I think that one of the most important points, especially for those of us with busy lives is that today’s bamboo clothing doesn’t need any special care so whilst you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions it will most likely be very similar if not the same to the other clothes you have.

Here’s an image from BAM Clothing which shows that at least for their bamboo clothing no special care is needed from a washing perspective.

Bamboo Clothing Doesn’t Need Special Care

Washing Clothes Made from a Bamboo Fibre Blend

As technology advances, the number of bamboo clothing blends increases, reinforcing the need to check the product label.

Take BAMs recent product addition, the bamboo Marino wool hooded top

Bamboo Merino Wool Hooded Top
Bamboo Merino Wool Hooded Top

With bamboo and Merino wool blended together the care instructions look completely different to the standard bamboo clothing shown above.

bamboo merino wool care instructions
Bamboo Merino Wool Care Instructions

Be sure to note though that it’s the Merino wool in this product that makes it more tricky to care for and not the bamboo fibres.

When washing bamboo clothing with proper care, your clothes will stay looking great wash after wash.

Does Bamboo Clothing Shrink In The Dryer?

As we’ve already learnt one of the great things about bamboo clothing is that in most cases it is very easy to care for in terms of washing however, you might be wondering if bamboo clothing will shrink in the dryer.

Well again, the answer will be – it depends.

If you look again at the care instructions from BAM Clothing you’ll see that both the bamboo clothing and the bamboo blends recommend not putting the items in the dryer.

But there are examples out there, especially those products that are made from a blend of cotton that can be placed in the dryer and so if this is the case you can be sure that your item won’t shrink.

The main thing to remember is, as you would with clothing made from other materials simply keep them away from high heat as this is when the fibres contract and shrinking occurs.

If you are concerned about your clothes shrinking, then the real safe option is to air dry your bamboo clothing instead of using the dryer.

Ways To Prevent Bamboo Clothing From Shrinking

If for any reason you’ve misplaced the manufacturer’s instructions then here are some tips to help prevent your bamboo clothing from shrinking:

  • Wash your bamboo clothing in cold water. Hot water can cause the fibres to contract, resulting in shrinkage.
  • Avoid wringing or twisting your bamboo clothing. This can also damage the fibres and lead to shrinkage.
  • Hang your bamboo clothing to dry. Bamboo fabric is considerably weaker when wet, so to be safe avoid putting it in the dryer if possible.
  • Iron your bamboo clothing on the lowest setting. Bamboo fabric is sensitive to heat, so be sure not to get too hot with the iron.
  • Store your bamboo clothing in a cool, dry place. There are reports of bamboo fabric being prone to mould and mildew, so keep it away from moisture when not in use.


So there you have it, to be honest caring for bamboo clothes is very similar to clothes made from other materials and to avoid shrinking specifically, it is best to stay away from using hot water or putting bamboo clothes in the dryer on high heat.

If you’re still considering whether bamboo clothing is for you go ahead and make a purchase. With the help of these tips, you can make sure that your bamboo clothing stays looking its best for years to come.

Common FAQs

Does Bamboo Shrink More Than Cotton?

Bamboo and cotton are two popular fabrics that are often used in clothing and other textile products.

Both materials have a number of benefits, but they also differ in some key ways, for example, bamboo is often applauded for its environmental friendliness, while cotton is known for its durability.

One area where these two fabrics differ is when it comes to shrinking. Bamboo clothing is generally made from just the natural material whereas cotton clothing is usually made from a polyester blend.

With this in mind and as I’ve already described, bamboo based garments may need to be laundered with a little more care than those made from cotton which due to its inherent blend resists shrinkage.

How Do You Unshrink Bamboo Fabric?

If you’ve accidentally shrunk your bamboo garment, don’t despair!

There are a few simple and easy practices that can be adapted which may mean you are able to unshrink it.

Follow these simple steps to unshrink your bamboo clothes:

  1. First, soak the item in warm water for approximately 10 minutes.
  2. Then, remove it from the water and gently stretch it back into shape.
  3. If this attempt is unsuccessful, you can try using a steam iron by holding the iron about six inches from the fabric slowly moving it back and forth. The steam will help to loosen the fibres and make them more pliable.
  4. Again, gently stretch it back into shape.

if the damage is not too severe then with a little bit of patience, you should be able to successfully bring your bamboo garment back to its original size.

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