How to Unshrink a Sweater

Did you just shrink your favorite sweater? Don’t throw it in the giveaway pile just yet! Results may vary depending on the fabric and how much the sweater has shrunk. Only natural fibers—wool, cotton or cashmere—can be stretched back to size. If you shrank felted fabric, you may be out of luck (and a sweater).

Unshrinking a Sweater in Eight Steps

  1. Fill a bucket or the sink with warm water and three tablespoons of fabric softener, baby shampoo or hair conditioner. Soak your shrunken sweater for one hour.
  2. Remove the sweater, and gently wring it out by bunching the sweater in a ball. Do not twist.
  3. Lay the sweater flat on a dry towel, and roll the towel up. Firmly press your sweater burrito to squeeze out any excess water.
  4. Use cork board, blocking mat, foam board or a piece of plywood to lay the sweater out flat. The board should be as big as the sweater. A blocking mat is specifically designed for this purpose and is used to finish knit pieces.
  5. Stretch the sweater out as close to desired size as possible while you pin it in place. If you’re using cork, blocking board or foam board, use T-pins or tacks. For plywood, you may have to use small tack nails.
  6. Be mindful of the shape the sweater takes as you pin it down to the board. Try to keep it symmetrical.
  7. Go back every 30 minutes to an hour and try to stretch the sweater even further with the pins, if necessary. If the sweater is drying too quickly, use a spray bottle to moisten it with water.
  8. Once you can’t stretch the sweater any further, allow it to air-dry on the board.

Your sweater should be back to a size that fits! To prevent further shrinkage, use an extra laundry hamper to separate clothes that are susceptible to shrinking. When washing sweaters, make sure you always wash them in cold water and allow them to air-dry—never run them through the dryer!

Professional House Cleaning Services and Tips

It’s our goal to help you keep a clean and organized house that you’re proud to call home. Sometimes, that means showing you how to remove stains or unshrink your favorite sweater. Check out more laundry-related cleaning tips. If you need help outside of the laundry room, contact your local Molly Maid.

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