How to stretch shrunken clothing

images sweater stretch

Don’t be embarrassed, this happens to even the best of us! You know this scenario: your favorite jeans or that brand new sweater you just bought accidentally tossed into the dryer on high heat setting and now a size too small. Technically speaking, you can never un-shrink your clothes. You can, however, relax and stretch the fibers and get them back into shape.
Here are some steps from Clean Laundry to help you reverse this problem.
1. First, fill your laundry sink or a large container with at least 1 quart of lukewarm water. Most knitted clothes like cotton, wool, and cashmere will respond to this treatment better than fabrics with tighter weaves like silk, polyester or rayon. You should take note not to use hot or cold water.
2. Using either baby shampoo or a gentle hair conditioner, mix in roughly 1 Tbsp for every 1 quart of water. Stir in, until the water takes on a slick, soapy consistency. Conditioner and baby shampoo can relax the fibers of your shrunken clothes. When the fibers are relaxed, they become easier to stretch and reshape. This will enable you to stretch the garment back to an appropriate size.
3. Immerse the shrunken clothing in your soapy solution making sure it is completely covered for 30 minutes or so. You can begin gently stretching the garment under water as it soaks.
4. Remove the garment from the soapy water solution, wring dry and squeeze firmly to remove excess moisture. Do not rinse the garment. The soapy water needs to continue the process of relaxing the fibers as you work on stretching and re-shaping the garment.

images towel dry

5. Lay out a large towel flat and place the garment on top. Gradually roll up the towel with the garment still inside. It should remain in the towel for about 10-15 minutes. When finished, it should be damp but no longer wet.
6. Transfer your garment onto a second flat, dry towel. Gently stretch the garment back into its proper shape and if necessary, secure in place with heavy objects. If you do not have any heavy objects, secure damp garment with clothespins to edge of towel, or pin to a large cork board.

To accurately gauge the size and shape of your garment, you can trace the outline of a similar, properly fitting garment onto a large piece of parchment paper and use as a guide.
7. Continue drying flat until the remaining moisture has left.
If you have your clothes pinned to the towel, you could place your clothes on a hanger and let them hang dry in a sunny or dry location. The gravity will also stretch the garment out further.
If the tactic does not produce much change, you can repeat this process until you gain the sufficient size desired.
“Warning: Chocolate may make your clothes shrink!”
It’s About Time,
Clean Laundry