How to unshrink your clothes quickly and easily


Wool jumper shrunk in the wash? Restore it to its original size with this handy clothing hack.

If you wanna know how to unshrink your clothes, you've come to the right place. Yep, we've all been there before. Some items really don't like washing machines and dryers - a lesson we've, regrettably, learnt the hard way. But, fear not. There is a way to restore your favourite pieces, including wool jumpers, back to their former glory (praise be!).

Nope, it's not a myth, you really can reverse the old 'shrunk in the wash' situation. Here's our easy guide on how to unshrink clothes, along with a few handy wardrobe pro tips to prevent it from happening again.

How to unshrink clothes

Perhaps the hardest material to restore back to its original size is wool, but it can still be done. How? In with just five easy steps, courtesy of HowCast:

  1. Fill your sink with lukewarm water and 1/3 cup of hair conditioner
  2. Add the jumper and let it soak for about 10 minutes
  3. Pull out the plug and let the water drain. When the sink is empty, press the jumper against the sides of the sink to rinse the jumper out, but do not wring it.
  4. Lay the jumper flat on an absorbent towel and lay another towel on top and press gently to dry the jumper.
  5. Stretch the jumper back into its original shape.
  6. Lay on an airer to dry naturally.

    Alternatively, watch this step-by-step video for a more visual demonstration:

    Why do clothes shrink?

    The mother of all questions: Why do materials, particularly wool, actually shrink while other fabrics come out in pristine original condition after a wash? Well, according to the National Cleaners Association, wool contains an outer layer of scales. "Heat, moisture and mechanical action cause the wool fibre to shrink and the edges of the scales to interlock, preventing the fibre from returning to its original position." In other words, when you pop it in the wash or dryer it causes the fibre to shrink in a way that means the fibre won't let it expand out again.

    How to prevent clothes from shrinking

    Whether it's a mohair jumper, cashmere cardigan or your favourite winter dress, there's really only one easy rule to follow when it comes to washing knitwear: don't put it in the washing machine or the dryer! This leads us to...

    How to wash wool correctly

    The safest bet to prevent shrinkage is to hand wash each piece separately in cold water with sunlight soap or soap flakes (if you're using flakes, make sure to dissolve the flakes in hot water first).

    1. Start by soaking the item in cool room-temperature water.
    2. Rinse the item three times under cold water and make sure to get all the soap suds out
    3. Next, very gently squeeze all of the water out of the piece without wringing it out and lie flat on a towel (preferably in the sun) to dry. This process works like a charm every time and the wool's shape will stay intact.

      So there you have it folks, the dos and don't of washing wool and how to successfully unshrink your cosy knitted staples.