Shrinkage can present in 3 ways – Progressive, Relaxation and Felting.
Unstabilised fabrics can shrink on a cumulative or progressive shrinkage basis. A small amount of shrinkage can occur with every clean which may go unnoticed until it becomes unsatisfactory to the customer.
Relaxation shrinkage is attributed to the release of tension introduced to the fabric during manufacture. When the fabric undergoes mechanical action during cleaning, the strain from the manufacture is released and the fabric returns to its normal relaxed dimension.
Felting shrinkage will occur in animal hair fibres such as wool, angora, cashmere and others. The surface of the fibres become entangled when exposed to heat, water, agitation, detergent or pressure, making the fabric become thick and compact. This type of shrinkage is not recoverable.