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how to unshrink a sweater

How to unshrink a sweaterStart the unshrinking process with soaking to loosen the fibers.


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

And all you'll need to do is help your sweater's fibers relax, with a 15-minute soak in warm water and a few squirts of baby shampoo, or another gentle shampoo.

And then let the resizing begin.

With this simple step by step guide, you really can unshrink that sweater yourself, and save it from the rag pile (or the dog house).

To Unshrink a Sweater, Start With a Short Soak 

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

Gently work a few drops of baby shampoo (or another gentle shampoo), into the fibers by hand, taking care not to stretch any of the threads during the softening-up process.

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

Remove the Sweater, Rinse

Remove the sweater from the soapy wate soak. Rinse in cold water to remove the baby shampoo.

To do this, gently press or squeeze the sweater, moving from the sleeves to the collar area and working your way down, pressing out any remaining moisture as you go.

Don't wring - this can damage and even break - the fibers you're trying to coax back into shape gently.

Roll 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 moisture from the fabric. It's essential that the clothing's fibers contain as little moisture as possible when you begin the resizing process.

Gently Stretch the Sweater Back into Shape and Pin it to a Cork Board

Pin the garment 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.

Return to re-stretch, and re-pin the sweater every few hours. It will take several stretching and re-pinning sessions to return the garment to its original size.

But If you adore that sweater, you'll be glad you took the time to pin, pin, and pin again.

Next time, make sure you know whether to wash clothes in hot, warm, or cold water so that you won't need to go through the unshrinking process again. But the good news is: You can if you need to!

Get tips on how to wash a sweater safely.

› How to Unshrink a Sweater