How to Un-Shrink a Wool Sweater

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How to unshrink a wool sweater. Your favorite sweater wound up in the dryer and is now only fit for a four-year-old? Fix it fast by doing the following.

You will need: Hair conditioner, a flat surface, and two towels.

Step one: Fill your bathroom sink with lukewarm water and 1/3 cup hair conditioner.

Step two: Add the sweater and let it soak for about 10 minutes to unlock the wool fibers.

Step three: Let the water drain, but don’t rinse out the sweater. When the sink is empty, gently press the sweater against the basin to remove any excess water. Do not wring it.

Step four: Lay the sweater out flat on an absorbent towel. Put another towel on top of it and press down on it hard to blot out as much water as you can. You can roll the sweater in a towel to remove excess water, as long as you straighten it out again quickly.

Step five: Stretch the sweater back into its original dimensions, known as blocking. This process pulls the unlocked wool fibers away from each other and back into the desired shape.

Step six: Allow it to air dry. Next time you wash it, keep it out of the dryer.

Did you know? Wool is both fire-resistant and, fiber-for-fiber, stronger than steel.

23 Replies to “How to Un-Shrink a Wool Sweater”

  1. Great tip!! thanks! .although,… It;s funny.. Men have build this entire world, where women thrive. Yet, they keep on portraying men as complete idiots.

  2. It worked! Worked less for the bulkier sweater I have that has an intricate pattern, but totally worked for this thinner all-one-color sweater I had found at goodwill. Thank you!

  3. Thank you! This helped us fix a Christmas gift, didn't see it was wool until it was too late. Looks new again!

  4. Why is the woman working on the sweater while the man sits in the other room? If he's the one who shrunk his own sweater, he should be the one fixing it, or at least learning how to fix it if he doesn't know how.

  5. Omg I cant believe this actually work!! Thank you so much!! And to think I was about to throw away one of my favorite sweaters❤️

  6. I've used this method on three sweaters now, worked in all cases but the extent of the stretch was largely dependent on the type of knit. But all in all, it's a winner.

  7. So if the guy's jumper was shrunken, how come his partner was the one who needed to fix it, while he sat and looked impatient?
    Some pretty uncool norms being reinforced here…

  8. will this work with lamps wool? it specifically says do not soak. im a bit scared i dont want it to shrink any more than it is

  9. A question, if i may. Shall i use the laundry machine to wash it, or i must wash it by hand? Also, is it possible to increase the length of the sleeves?

  10. this worked well with Loreal coconut conditioner about half a tube though. My beloved Boden Rosemary sweater is almost saved.

  11. A few things I might add:

    1. When you add the hair conditioner to the water in the sink, try to disperse / dissolve it as much as possible; don't just leave it in one glop before adding the sweater. It probably won't completely dissolve, but do what you can. And if you can find a hair conditioner that has lanolin in it, that's ideal.

    2. If you're going to pull the sleeves of the re-wetted sweater to bring them back to their former length, use one hand to grip tightly around the sleeve as close as you can get to the armpit, and the other hand doing the same at the cuff (with a grip like you'd use on a baseball bat), and gently but steadily pull. If you just yank on the sleeve with the other end gripped at the neck or shoulder, it will distort the entire sweater.

    3. Unless you really want to have a wet bed, DON'T put the towel on the bed and then add a sopping-wet sweater! Put the towel (or better yet, a few of them, stacked) on a non-porous surface like a bathroom floor before trying to press out water. And it's often helpful to replace towels once they get saturated, with dry towels, and keep pressing to remove water.

    4. DON'T leave your sweater in the sunlight to dry (as shown here), or on a heater, or anywhere else that's warm; it will just make it shrink again.

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