Do Comfort Colors Shrink?

Anyone who has bought or sold a Comfort Colors shirt from Gildan will read that these shirts do not shrink – but is that true? Or should you still buy a more generous size to allow for a little bit of shrinkage?

In this article, we’ll explore whether Gildan’s comfort colors range shrinks and what you can do to minimize the risk of shrinkage in these shirts.

​Do Comfort Colors Shrink?

Although Comfort Colors shirts are pre-shrunk prior to being sold, our experience is that they can shrink 5-10% if they are washed in warm or hot water and dried in the dryer.

While Gildan claims their shirts have “almost no shrinkage,” there is still a chance that a comfort colors shirt will shrink, because any cotton can shrink depending on care. They minimize the risk by pre-shrinking it so that the fibers have already contracted and are not likely to further contract.

Overall, we like Gildan Comfort Colors as a good quality printable t-shirt. Apparel brands like the pricing and customers like the feel of these tees.

Generally, when cotton is washed, it causes the fibers to relax, because they are heated and agitated. This takes out the tension that was put into the fibers during the spinning and weaving steps, and means that they are much more likely to shrink. You further increase this risk if you:

  • Wash your shirts in hot water
  • Wash your shirts in warm water
  • Place your shirts in a dryer

It might surprise you just how much shirts can shrink during washing and drying. Unfortunately, even with Gildan’s attempts to minimize the shrinkage risks, there is a chance that your shirt will still shrink. In some cases, they shrink by as much as 8 percent.

Any brand of cotton shirt is at risk of being shrunk by washing and drying, and comfort colors are no exception. You should be aware of this when you purchase your shirt, and don’t buy one that is a very snug fit. If you sell Comfort Colors t-shirts, be sure and use the “pre-shrunk” language in the description, as shirts that are not preshrunk can shrink up to 20%.

​How Do You Stop A Comfort Colors Shirt From Shrinking?

The best way to stop your comfort colors shirt from shrinking is to wash it in lukewarm or cold water, rather than hot water. Avoid putting a comfort colors shirt in a hot wash, and try to choose a gentle wash cycle that will not agitate the fibers too much.

Don’t put these cotton shirts in your dryer. Instead, hang dry them indoors or outdoors.

This will minimize the agitation of the cotton fibers and should help them to retain their tension. Over time, the fibers will probably relax a bit, but this is normal. All cotton shirts will shrink to some degree if washed and dried in warm water, no matter what brand. Some shirts, like Bella 3001, will shrink a very small amount.

Cotton is the most popular t-shirt fabric in the world, but it is important to take the potential shrinkage into account when choosing what shirts to sell, or what size to buy.

​What Shirts Do Not Shrink?

Polyester shirts will not shrink in the normal wash processes, so they may be a good option if the fit is important to you. The fibers will not relax as a result of washing, so no size will be lost.

Poly-cotton shirts may have some shrinkage, but it will be far less significant. These often shrink by around 1 or 2 percent when washed in warm or hot water. Taking care of them will minimize the shrinkage, but may not completely eliminate it.


Gildan’s comfort colors shirts do shrink a small amount when washed in warm or hot water. This is less significant than other cotton shirts because the Gildan pre-shrinks them, but it is important to expect some shrinkage. It’s a good idea to wash cotton shirts in cold water to minimize shrinkage, and to let them dry at normal air temperature.