How to Unshrink Clothes

Accidentally shrinking your clothes is a complete nightmare, even more so when its someone elses clothes.

We’ll tell you how to unshrink the clothes so you can make sure that no one in the household has to suffer from smaller clothes. Although we cant guarantee the clothes to look 100 percent identical, the following ways are some of the popular methods among experts.

Bottom Line Up Front

How to Unshrink Cotton or Rayon Clothing
First place the garment in a bowl or the sink.
Fill this with water that is room temperature.
Next add two tablespoons of a baby shampoo.
Let the garment soak for 30 minutes.
Make sure to use a towel to remove any left over water.
Lay the clothing flat, and stretch it to what it originally looks like. Leave the garment in place with heavy objects.
Let the garment dry by air.

What Causes Clothes to Shrink?
Cotton, linen and wool are very likely to shrink as they are natural fibers. This is because they are made up off thousands of microscopic units that are chained to one another. Notice how they take a longer time to dry? This is because they love water more than synthetic material.

In the washing machine they absorb a lot more water. Once they are placed in a dryer they should go back to their original size. However, if they are dried at a high temperature for a long time, the fibres grow closer together. The tumbling of the dryer then causes constriction to occur in the fibers.

To answer the question; Heat is the biggest culprit but this acts together with mixing water.

Does Cold Water Shrink Clothes?
For clothing that shrink easily it is best to use cold water. They can however, shrink a little bit in lukewarm water so be careful.

To avoid any shrinking of your clothing, it is best to follow the advice given on the care label of the garment.

How to Unshrink Clothes
There are varying method to unshrinking clothing. This guide will tell you the best method for cotton, rayon, wool and jean type clothing.

Cotton and Rayon Clothing
Cotton happens to be one of the easiest fabrics to bring back to its original size.

Place the cotton in a bowl or the sink.
Fill this with luke warm water.
Next add two tablespoons of a baby shampoo.
Let the garment soak for 30 minutes.
Make sure to use a towel to remove any left over water.
Lay the clothing flat, and stretch it to what it originally looks like. Leave the garment in place with heavy objects.
Let the garment dry by air.

Wool Clothing
Wool is one of the fabrics that are very easy to shrink as it is very absorbent. The following steps will help you unshrink these cozy sweaters.

You will need borax and wine vinegar for this method as these relax the fibers and make it easier to unshrink the wool.

Fill a sink or a bowl with tepid water.
Use 1 tablespoon of borax of two if the clothing has shrunk. For vinegar, use 1 part for every 1 parts of water.
Submerge for 25 minutes letting it soak.
Stretch the fabric out, while wearing rubber gloves, while it is still submerged.
Soak for 5 additional minutes.
Remove the clothing and roll it into a ball. Squeeze the excess water out gently.
Do not rinse. The vinegar or borax should ideally continue to relax the fibers.
Using absorbent towels, stuff the garment and pull it to its original size. Let it dry by laying it flat. The absorbent towels will speed up the drying process by taking up the left over water.
Let this air dry. Make sure to take every 15 minutes to check up on the garment and adjusting the size if this seems to be necessary.
Tightly pull the edges if it is still shrunken.
When dry, hand wash the garment with detergent for wool.
Repeat until it has returned to its original size.

The rayon and cotton method mentioned above also works for wool so you could try this instead as well.

If you notice that your jeans have shrunk a bit try the following method. This could be a little uncomfortable.

Fill a bathtub with lukewarm water about ⅓ of the way.
To begin stretching your jeans, put them on yourself.
While wearing the jeans, step into the bath and submerge the jeans. This may be uncomfortable but it is the best way to unshrink jeans.
Relax and sit back in the bath for about 15 minutes.
Remove the jeans and then stretch them out further by hand.
Let them air dry by laying them flat.

If you do not have a bath, the following steps could help unshrink your jeans.

Fill the sink or one basin with warm water. You can use a spray bottle if there are only little areas that need stretching out.
Soak the jeans for 15 minutes. If using the spray bottle, spray the areas that need stretching.
Put the jeans on after 15 minutes. This will bring them to their original shape.
Keep the jeans on for an hour, afterward dry them by air for the remainder.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are My Clothes Shrinking in the Dryer?
The mixture of the tumbling motion and high temperatures compresses the natural fibers and shrinks the garment. There are many types of fabrics, such as wool and cashmere which should not be washer dryed. Make sure to always read the care labels. If they cant be dried in the washer, use a clothes rack or clothesline.

Does Ironing Unshrink Clothes?
Even though ironing itself wont help to unshrink the garment, the steam from the iron can. Once they are laid out to dry, they can seem a bit stiff. This can make the stretching a bit difficult.

Steam can relax fibers and help to stretch the garment to its original size.

How Do I Unshrink a Hoodie?
Most hoodies are made from cotton, in this case use the instructions for unshrinking cotton and rayon above.

Make sure to also pull a hoodie to its original size when you lay it out to dry. If youre not sure what the correct size is, use an other hoodie to check the size.

A New Skill
Knowing how to unshrink skills is a very handy skill to learn. The best method is always to avoid shrinking your clothes in the first place, but when you know how to unshrink them you wont have to panic.

If you happen to shrink any garments, you can use our unshrinking methods to bring your clothes back to its original size.

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