Laundry Tips and Tricks

Can you unshrink your clothes?

July 23, 2023

Shrunk Clothes Small Shutterstock 1061119712 (1)

It's challenging to fully "unshrink" clothes once they have already shrunk, but there are a few methods you can try to potentially relax the fibers and regain some of the original size. Keep in mind that the success of these methods can vary based on the fabric type and the extent of the shrinking. Here's what you can try:

  1. Soak in Lukewarm Water and Hair Conditioner: Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a capful of hair conditioner. Gently agitate the water to mix it. Submerge the shrunken garment in the water, making sure it is fully saturated. Let it soak for about 15-30 minutes. Then, gently stretch and reshape the garment while it's still wet. Rinse the conditioner out with cold water and carefully press out excess water. Lay the garment flat on a towel, reshape it to its original size, and let it air dry.

  2. Use Baby Shampoo: Similar to the hair conditioner method, you can use a mild baby shampoo instead of hair conditioner. Follow the same steps of soaking, stretching, and air drying.

  3. Stretching and Steam: Fill a spray bottle with water and lightly dampen the shrunken garment. Gently stretch and reshape the fabric as much as possible. Hang the garment in a steamy bathroom or use a garment steamer to apply steam. While the fabric is damp and relaxed, continue gently stretching and shaping it.

  4. Blocking Method: This method is best suited for knit or crocheted items. Pin the shrunken garment onto a blocking board or an ironing board. Stretch and pin the fabric to the desired dimensions. Mist the garment with water or use a damp cloth, then let it air dry while pinned in place.

  5. Professional Help: If your garment is valuable or particularly delicate, consider taking it to a professional dry cleaner or tailor who specializes in clothing restoration. They may have techniques and equipment that can help with the restoration process.

Remember, these methods might not work for all fabrics and situations, and there's no guarantee that you'll be able to fully restore the original size of the garment. It's always a good idea to test any method on a small, inconspicuous area of the garment before attempting the full process. Additionally, preventing shrinking in the first place by taking your clothes to Auburn Thrifty Wash is the best approach.

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