Will cotton wool shrink up at all when I wash it?

Cotton yarn expands when washed. It lacks the little scales that wool has, which can interlock causing shrinkage. So that fitted cotton sweater you bought will most likely become a baggy sweater after the first wash.

A blend of cotton and wool will, on balance, retain its shape – the cotton expanding and the wool shrinking should cancel each other out, although a lot depends on the relative composition.

Cotton wool pads – the kind of thing you take your makeup off with – will appear to shrink, but that’s only because they’re floofed up with air in the package. As soon as they get damp – with water or makeup remover – the air gets removed, and you get a flat pad of cotton.

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