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How to Prevent the Neck of Your T-Shirt from Stretching

There are many t-shirts that end up looking a little loose around the collar. When the neck of a t-shirt gets stretched out too far, it can make it a little less comfortable. It also makes it look wrinkled and a little worn out. There are several things that people do to stretch out the collar of their t-shirts. By avoiding those pitfalls, you can avoid the over-stretched collar look.

One of the ways that t-shirt necks get stretched is by changing the shape of the shirt. This can happen when the shirt is wet. One of the most important ways to avoid stretching out the neck is to never put on a t-shirt while it is wet. Even if the shirt is only damp, putting it on will stretch the neck a little. Dry a t-shirt until there is no moisture left in it before putting it on.

Unfortunately, there is the possibility of a t-shirt getting wet while it is being worn. If something is spilled around the neck area, or if sweat or rain causes the shirt to become wet, allow the shirt to dry out before taking it off. You can stand in front of a fan to make this go quicker, or you might sit in the sun.

When a t-shirt is wet, also avoid hanging it on a hanger. This can make the neck of the shirt stretch in both directions as the weight of the water in the shirt stretches it downward on the hanger. If you want to hang it up to dry, fold the t-shirt over the bottom of the hanger. Or, simply lay the shirt flat to dry instead of hanging it up. This will actually keep the shirt’s shape all over- not just at the neck.

To further protect a t-shirt from being stretched at the neck, avoid using hangers. Stretching the neck of a dry t-shirt over a hanger may not change the shape of it right away, but after it has been hung up many times, the neck will be stretched to some degree. T-shirts can be folded and put into a drawer for the best results. This will keep the neck area flat and keep it from being tugged down by gravity. Some people worry about their folded shirts developing wrinkles. But, cotton is a very soft fabric. This makes t-shirts are unlikely to wrinkle, even if they are folded. If a t-shirt does develop a wrinkle or two, simply put it into the dryer for a minute or two to smooth them out.

Another way to keep the shape of the neck is to be careful when putting it on. Some people get into the habit of stretching a shirt with their hands before they put it on. Others let the shirt linger too long on the head while it is being put on. Both of these habits may be unconscious, so being aware of the way the shirt is being put on is the key.

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  1. John · February 23, 2009

    thanks for the advice?? i’ll be sure not to put my undershirt on wet. has anyone EVER put an undershirt on wet?? and who in god’s name would put an undershirt on a hanger??? yikes. this is the worst “advice” i’ve ever heard.

  2. Jessica · March 2, 2009

    Thanks for your feedback John. It is true that the handling of a wet t-shirt is not the most common way that t-shirt necks stretch. Regarding the hangers, this is not just referring to undershirts but to all undershirts. Many people do put their t-shirts on hangers. There are multiple ways to put a hanger on your t-shirt and some really do impact the neck of your clothes.

    Other common reasons why t-shirt necks stretch:

    1. How you put on your t-shirt plays a big role and can cause damage to your t-shirt.

    2. Pulling on your t-shirt by yourself or someone else can cause strain on the neck.

    3. Some t-shirts are just not very good quality and don’t have solid necks and even just a little action on the neck can stretch it out.

    Hope that helps,


  3. AlanP · July 1, 2009

    your blog is very helpful. I was drying my tees by AE for about two years in a dryer without getting stretched or anything. After I moved (to another country), I’ve to hang dry my tees; few of my tees were stretched to a point which i’ve to for-go them..I’ll try folding my tees over the bottom of the hanger see how it goes..they might smell a bit why dry.

    There’s just not enough space here to lay my tees flat.

  4. Eric H. · July 13, 2009

    Thank you! This answers my questions. I’m more of a slim kind of person and the stretched out neck just looks bad on that build/figure. Not fun. Very helpful blog, thank you.

  5. Steve K · December 28, 2009

    I dry my T-shirts by hanging them by pins upside down, but this hasn’t helped. When I was using a dryer, it was okay, but kind of hard to do now, So I have to dry them by laying them flat?

  6. jose · April 20, 2010

    i dont like puting it in the dryer because it takes the color away from it

  7. Rob B · June 27, 2011

    Is it alright to hang t-shirts on a flocked hanger? This seems to prevent them from slipping down on the hanger, thus preventing collar stretching. Am I right about this?

  8. Charles Thompson · February 18, 2012

    What is a best way of putting on and taking off a t-shirt with out stretching out the neck, I love my t-shirts and I would like to keep them as long as possable.

  9. douggie · July 19, 2012

    Haha, you really think people let the shirt linger too long on their head when they put it on to the extent that it causes noticeable streching?! Hilarious. I mean I can see how this might be good advice for a turtle, but…Haha!

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