Do Bamboo Sheets Shrink?

Bamboo sheets are all the rage these days. If you’re thinking of buying a set, you might be wondering – do bamboo sheets shrink? Unfortunately, this is a common problem with bamboo fabric, and it’s something you should be aware of before laundering your sheets. Read on to learn more about why bamboo shrinks, and what you can do to prevent it!

Follow Bamboo Bed’s guide below to properly care for your bamboo sheets and understand how to avoid shrinkage if possible.

Do Bamboo Sheets Shrink?
A girl hand trying to shrink the bamboo bed sheet

The short answer is yes. Your bamboo sheets will shrink over time. Bamboo Beds’ sheets are designed to shrink slightly, so our sheets are slightly oversized to accommodate this slight decrease in size. Bamboo fibers are more likely to shrink through a wash-and-dry cycle than traditional cotton sheets if improperly laundered. With that in mind, there are a few things you can do to prevent shrinkage over the long life of your bamboo sheets.

How To Prevent Bamboo Sheets from Shrinking?
A ladies exploring the white color bamboo bed sheet and decor the bed

The bamboo fabric easily shrinks if you’re not careful. Some report that their bamboo fabrics shrink by up to 6 percent. Here are some tips for caring for your bamboo sheets to prevent them from changing in size:

1. Machine Wash Cold

When washing your bamboo bed sheets, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for what temperature you should clean them. Generally, 30 degrees or less is the ideal temperature for washing these sheets.

2. Avoid Bleach and Fabric Softeners

Bamboo sheets are already ultra-soft and don’t need any chemical help! Bleaches and fabric softeners can damage fiber integrity and cause fabric shrinkage and other distortions.

3. Gentle Wash

Be sure to wash your sheets on the gentle cycle after washing. Gentle cycles help the bamboo sheets retain their natural soothing properties. All-natural fabrics benefit from a gentle cycle as a heavier wash cycle compromises the moisture-wicking ability, softness, and the sheet’s overall size.

4. Do Not Tumble Dry at High Temperature

Generally, it is best to air dry your sheets. This gives you the best chance of preserving the fibers, texture, and colors of the sheets. If you need to dry them, make sure you use an airing or low heat setting and a low heat drying cycle. Once the sheets are cycle dried, remove them immediately to prevent further shrinkage. The sheets can not only shrink at high temperatures but also have a higher risk of tearing.

5. Wash Your Bamboo Sheets Separately

Not all fabrics are the same. Your bamboo sheets and sheets in general should always be washed separately from other clothes and garments. Washing bamboo sheets with other everyday items causes chafing and compromises sheet integrity and durability.

6. Store Your Sheets Properly

Sheet storage is often not the first thing that springs to mind when trying to find the answer to the question, “Do bamboo sheets shrink?” However, when it comes to storage, you should protect your sheets from direct sunlight and damp places to avoid damaging the soft fibers that can cause the bamboo sheets to shrink. As a natural fiber, bamboo is much more vulnerable to the effects of moisture and heat than synthetic fibers.

Care for Bamboo Sheets During Subsequent Washes
a dry cleaning maid having couple of white color bamboo bed sheet

Use lukewarm water at 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) to wash the bamboo sheets. You should not use hot water as it can damage your bamboo sheets.

The high temperature from hot water and the dryer sucks the moisture out of the bamboo bedding and damages the viscose in the bamboo fibers. This reduces the longevity of even your bamboo sheet sets as the bamboo fabric is considered delicate. Therefore, be very careful when washing and drying your bamboo sheets.

You should also wash the bamboo sheets on a gentle cycle. Too much friction from the washing machine can also damage the fibers.

Although the sheets are stiff when you take them out of the washing machine, they become extremely soft once they are completely dry. Therefore, avoid using fabric softeners and dryer sheets on your bamboo bedding.

Different Types of Shrinkage

There are several types of shrinkage. The first type is known as felting shrinkage. This type of shrinkage occurs in garments made from animal fibers. Felting shrinkage is often known as progressive shrinkage because it occurs more and more each time the fibers are washed. This type of shrinkage does not affect the best bamboo bed sheet sets.

Relaxation shrinkage occurs when fabrics such as cotton, linen, silk, or high-performance synthetic fibers are exposed to excessive moisture. When the fibers are exposed to water, they absorb it and expand. This causes the fabric to shrink. The shrinkage only occupies 1% of the entire piece and won’t do much damage. Relaxation shrinkage doesn’t seriously affect bamboo sheets.

Consolidation shrinkage is the type that is applied to bamboo sheets. Bamboo sheets shrink because of a combination of heat, excess moisture, and mechanical impact. These factors combine to cause the bamboo fibers to release any stress or strain that may have been placed on the fabric during the production of the sheets. When this happens, the fibers retract completely, causing shrinkage. This type of shrinkage is usually more noticeable in the first wash, so sheets are usually slightly larger to accommodate this.

Do Bamboo Sheets Shrink in The Dryer?
bamboo sheets in the dryer machine to clean

As mentioned, it’s best not to put them in the dryer after washing to keep them silky smooth. The dryer is more likely to shrink the sheets because of the heat it generates. Not only that, but the dryer is likely to leave your sheets wrinkled when it’s done. Air-dried sheets have an incomparable freshness, and when dried in a cool breeze, they are wonderfully fragrant.

Final Thoughts

So, do bamboo sheets shrink? While some shrinkage is unavoidable on your bamboo sheets; there are several steps you can take to ensure your soft and inviting bamboo sheets stay that way. All Bamboo Bed’s bamboo products come with detailed care instructions you must follow to extend the life of your sheets. If you want your bamboo fitted sheet to be a little firmer, you can dry it in the dryer while you line-dry the other sheets. Check out our full range of products today and get ready for a good night's sleep!