How To Save a Shrunken Sweater

Are you suffering from a laundry disaster? Or did a thoughtful family member try to help with the laundry and end up shrinking your favorite wool sweater? If you are faced with a suddenly shrunken sweater, don't panic. You might be able to save the shrunken sweater if you act fast.

  1. Avoid the dryer. Hopefully you haven't tried to put the sweater in the dryer. If you have, the chances of being able to save the sweater are reduced but you can still try. If the sweater is fresh out of the washer, you'll need to act quick and follow the remaining steps.
  2. Fill a clean sink with cool water. Choose a sink that is large enough for the entire sweater. Your kitchen sink is usually the best bet. Just make sure that it is clean before you start filling it up.
  3. Add baby shampoo or conditioner. Pour a tablespoon or two of baby shampoo or hair conditioner into the water. Choose whichever option you have on hand but not both. If you are using conditioner select one that is mild and doesn't include dandruff treatment or protection for color treated hair. Swish the water to dissolve the shampoo or conditioner.
  4. Soak the sweater. Gently push the sweater into the sink of water. Let the water soak slowly into the fibers of the sweater then move the sweater in the sink so that it lightly swishes. Soak for at least a half hour.
  5. Remove the sweater from the water. Don't rinse out the conditioner. Instead you should notice that the fibers have loosened a little.
  6. Place the sweater onto a clean towel. Don't wring or twist the sweater to drain. Instead just lay it flat. Shape the sweater to the desired shape. Then starting at the center, slowly tug on the fibers and work your way from the center outward as you stretch the fibers. This takes some work and some patience. Keep working at the sweater until the original size starts to take shape.
  7. Then let the sweater air dry. Keep checking the sweater every half hour and shaping and stretching as it dries if necessary. The fibers will want to shrink back as they dry so you may have to keep working on them.

There is no guarantee that you can save a sweater once it has started to shrink in the laundry. Still, if you are lucky and follow these steps, you might be able to save the shrunken sweater before too much damage occurs. If you cannot, then consider donating the garment to some child or young person in need.


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