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how to unshrink a sweater

Relax! It is possible to unshrink a sweater that someone (not you, of course) popped into the dryer and is now small enough for little Bruiser to wear.

And pretty much all you'll need to do is help your sweater fibers relax, too, with a little help from baby shampoo worked gently into the fibers while washing it by hand.

These 5 laundry tips will help you bring that sweater back to its original size.

1. soak the sweater in warm water with baby shampoo.

Start the resizing process by soaking the sweater in a sink or bucket full of warm water and about two tablespoons baby shampoo. 

About 15 minutes should allow enough time for the shampoo to relax the sweater's fibers enough so that you may begin the letting-out process.

2. remove the sweater from the soapy water.

Remove the sweater from the soapy water. Rinse in cool water to remove the baby shampoo from the fabric. Gently press or squeeze remaining moisture and soap from the fabric. Don't wring - this can further damage and even break the fibers you're trying to stretch.

3. roll the sweater in a towel to remove moisture.

Follow your rinse and squeezing routine with a rolling of the sweater in a clean, dry towel to remove any lingering water.

It's important the sweater fibers contain as little moisture as possible when you begin the resizing process.

4. gently stretch and pin to a cork board to unshrink.

Pin the sweater to a cork board, stretching the neck, arms, and sides as taut as possible without damaging the fibers. Let it be for at least an hour. 

5. re-stretch and re-pin.

Return to re-stretch and re-pin your sweater every few hours.

It will take several stretching and re-pinning sessions to unshrink your sweater an ease it back to its original size.

But if you adore that angora, cotton, silk, cashmere or wool sweater, you'll be delighted with the results. You'll be glad you took the time to pin, pin, and pin again.

Next time, make sure you know whether to wash sweaters in hot, warm, or cold water and how to dry them so that you won't need to unshrink again. (But the good news is: You can if you need to!)

Should you use liquid or powder laundry detergent? Get the scoop on the best laundry detergent for your stains here.

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About the Author

Tara Aronson

Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.