How To Unshrink Clothes? (Step-By-Step Guide)

With these easy steps, you can unshrink your favorite clothes back to their original size and repair dryer damage.

A lot of people have unintentionally shrunk their clothing. Perhaps the washer and dryer were also used to wash and dry your favorite wool sweater. Or perhaps you used hot water to wash a favorite shirt even though the label said to use cold water only. What about the jeans that you forgot to fold and that come out feeling tight because you restarted the dryer three days in a row?

The good news is that, with a little time and effort, you can usually unshrink clothes that have shrunk.

Check out the general unshrinking advice below, then continue reading to learn about particular fabrics that require a little bit of a different approach. 

How To Unshrink Clothes In 6 Steps?

Here is how to unshrink clothes on purpose:

Use Lukewarm Water and Gentle Detergents/Shampoos

Warm water should be added to a sizable, clean bucket or plug-in sink. Pour about a tablespoon of baby shampoo or a mild conditioner (one marked “for sensitive scalps” won’t have many extra ingredients) into each quart of water, then stir until bubbles appear.

Conditioner, which is used to soften and relax hair, can have the same effect on fabric, allowing it to stretch. Similar effects can be achieved with baby shampoo thanks to its extra soothing formula. 

Soak for 30 Minutes

Completely submerge the item of clothing in lukewarm water, then leave it there for 30 to 60 minutes without touching it. 

How To Unshrink Clothes? (Step-By-Step Guide)

Once the garment has been removed, allow a minute for the extra water to drip back into the sink or bucket. Allow the hair product to stay in the clothing to continue relaxing the fibers; do not wring or rinse. 

Let Excess Water Drip

Place the item flat on a big, absorbent bath towel. After that, stuff the towel with the clothing to create a jellyroll-like shape. In order to prevent the towel from drying out your sweater or shirt, only leave this roll out for 10 to 15 minutes. The clothes should still be slightly damp but not drenched. 

Lay Clothing on a Flat Towel

The clothing should be laid out on top of a second dry bath towel that has been spread out on a flat surface. Now, pay attention to a single piece of clothing. Hold each stretch in place for a few seconds while applying gentle but firm pressure to the opposite sides of that area on the shrunken clothing.

Gently Stretch the Clothing to Its Original Size

To “unshrink” the waist, for instance, grab both side seams of a shirt close to the bottom hem, or pull at the shoulder and wrist of a long-sleeved sweater to lengthen the arm. Make sure to work carefully so the clothing will stretch while maintaining its proportions. 

Once you’ve achieved the desired size, lay the desired portion flat against the towel and immediately place a large paperweight or a heavy book on top of it to secure the stretch. You can keep doing this until you have an outfit made up entirely of books, such as a blouse, sweater, cardigan, T-shirt, or pair of pants.

Hold on to the books or paperweights until the clothing is completely air-dried. After that, it’s ready to wear! If you notice that the texture of the stretched clothing has changed slightly, wash it before using if it doesn’t feel stiff or soapy. To prevent the same dryer accidents that caused it to shrink in the first place, check the care label inside this time.

How To Unshrink Clothes? (Step-By-Step Guide)

Tips To Unshrink Clothes Of Specific Fabrics

Most natural fiber clothing can be unshrink using the aforementioned technique. But here are some more suggestions for de-shrinking particular fabrics. 

How To Unshrink Rayon And Synthetic Fabrics?

When synthetics are wet, it is simple to overstretch rayon. Find a similar-shaped item that hasn’t been shrunk and use it as a guide to help you unshrink your polyester, rayon, or other synthetic fabric. Then, using the second piece as a guide when shaping it into place, proceed with the basic method for unshrinking clothing.

How to unshrink a shirt, for instance, is as follows: when you reach the shaping stage, stretch one arm from the shoulder to the cuff until the sleeve is the right length. For stability, add a weight. Continue by using the other arm. Finally, stretch the bottom hem to the proper width after stretching the entire garment from collar to hem until it is the proper length. 

How To Unshrink Denim Jeans And Denim Blends?

How To Unshrink Clothes? (Step-By-Step Guide)

Put on your jeans and sit in a tub of lukewarm water with a cap or two of hair conditioner added to the water. This is the quickest and easiest way to unshrink your jeans. As soon as you can get them on all the way, pull them on as far as they will go, soak for five minutes, and repeat. Avoid slipping in the tub by being careful.

As the fibers relax into place, step outside, blot your jeans with a towel, perform a few squats, and then walk for 10 to 15 minutes. Your wet jeans should fit perfectly once more after being taken off and allowed to air dry. 

How To Unshrink Wool Or Cashmere Sweaters?

These fabrics require more perseverance to unshrink because heat toughens their fibers. Therefore, when using the aforementioned method, use lukewarm water and begin reshaping the objects while they are still soaking in the warm water.

After a 30-minute soak, if the fibers are still difficult to relax, add more fabric softener (or whatever substitute you’re using). Shape it once more to blot it before rolling the item, and then shape it once more after unrolling it with the addition of weights to hold it in place while it dries. 

How To Unshrink Cotton Sweaters?

Despite the label saying it is okay to wash, are you hesitant to unshrink your cotton sweater? Before you wash it, make a paper copy of its outline. This will allow you to determine whether it shrank and if so, you can use the guide to help you reshape it to its original dimensions by using the methods described above.

How To Unshrink Clothes? (Step-By-Step Guide)

Why Do Clothes Shrink?

A high-quality garment or fabric should be able to maintain its original shape and have good dimensional stability, meaning you should be able to wash and dry it without it losing any of its size, provided you follow the instructions on the laundry care tag. There are numerous reasons why a product might shrink, though.

Gagliardi claims that the main cause of shrinkage in clothing is the type of fiber used. She explains that due to their ability to absorb moisture, natural fabrics like cotton and linen are more likely to shrink. Wool and cashmere are examples of natural animal hair fibers that not only absorb moisture but also “felt,” or permanently intertwine their fibers. This permanent intertwining of fibers causes an article of clothing to appear smaller when wet, giving the impression that it is shrinking.

Other factors that could cause clothing to shrink include the degree of tension that yarn is placed under during the weaving, knitting, or processing of the fabric, as well as the general caliber of the garment. In general, higher-quality manufacturers use special production processes and finishes to reduce shrinkage.

The notion of fabric shrinkage is widespread in the clothing industry. There are various kinds of fabrics and each reacts to washing in a different way. The manufacturer should have their fabrics tested before releasing them into the market. Below are the most common questions about shrinking clothes:

How Do You Prevent Clothes From Shrinking?

A cotton garment won’t shrink if the wash temperature is lowered and it is air dried. You can line dry blue jeans and other heavier, more durable fabrics by hanging them by the hems on pant hangers. As the jeans air dry, the weight of the damp fabric will naturally lengthen the legs.

Wet fabric is heavier than dry fabric, and shoulder seams can rip out or stretch if hung to dry, so less durable lightweight fabrics should lay flat to dry.

Conclusion: Unshrink Clothes

It’s definitely useful to learn how to undress clothes after they’ve shrunk. The best way to avoid shrinking clothing is to avoid it altogether (by always reading the care label), but you don’t need to be alarmed right now.

If you do shrink clothes, you can use our fantastic techniques to revive your clothes and restore them to their original size.


Does Fabric Softener Unshrink Clothes?

Warm water should be added to the sink, along with 1/3 cup of fabric softener or hair conditioner. The mixture should be left to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Reshaping the garment may be needed to get it back to its original size. After you are satisfied with the size, drain the water and rinse the item in cold water.

Does Hot Water Shrink Clothes?

It’s possible for some fabrics to fade or shrink when washed in hot or warm water. However, hot water shrinks clothes to their maximum shrinkage capacity after one wash, whereas warm water will shrink them more gradually over multiple washes.

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