I recently washed and dried another wool sweater. This time, the finished article was too small to fit my grandchildren. Is their hope?
Can I unshrink a wool sweater?
I Googled the question and found that yes there is hope, but there are some several techniques to obtain the desired results and unshrink a wool sweater. I just want the one that works.
One, I could still fit into, but it was uncomfortably formfitting.
Another I had bagged for the Goodwill for elementary children. Here are the procedures I followed and the results I obtained.
Procedure One – Hair Conditioner
- Fill up a sink or bucket with tepid water.
- Add 1/3 cup of hair conditioner and mix it thoroughly.
- Immerse the garment in the water and let it soak for ten minutes.
- Remove the sweater, but do not rinse.
- Press out (do not wring) the excess water from the garment or blanket.
- Place the sweater on a thick flat towel in an area that is cool without any direct sunlight.
- Stretch small parts of the sweater by placing your hands close together and lightly pulling. Gradually move from one area to the next until the entire surface has been stretched.
- Stretch the sweater again with your hands approximately 12 inches apart.
- Once stretched to the desired proportion, allow the sweater to dry.
- Change the towel periodically as it will become water saturated.
- Once dry, rewash the sweater appropriately using cool water and Woolite to remove the conditioner.
Procedure Two – Vinegar
- Fill a large cooking pot with two parts water and one part vinegar.
- Gently boil the sweater in the solution for 30 minutes.
- Rinse with cool water and press out excess water.
- Pull the dampened garment into the desired size and shape.
- Dry the garment flat on an absorbent towel.
Procedure Three – Shampoo
- Fill a bathtub or sink with warm water.
- Add shampoo and thoroughly mix with the water.
- Soak the sweater for up to 30 minutes.
- Remove the sweater and wring dry with a towel until the garment is damp.
- Where the sweater or garment for 20 minutes while gently pulling it back into shape.
These are three procedures that are relatively simple that may help unshrink a wool sweater that has been mistakenly machine washed and dried.
All three processes worked to increase the size of my garments but for the two sweaters that were child size, I was not successful in getting them back to a comfortable fit for me.
The arms were too short, the necks, too narrow.
- I used one of my tiny sweaters for the conditioner treatment. The sweater came out nicely and would fit a larger child now.
- I used my favorite cashmere sweater that I could still wear for the vinegar treatment. I am happy to report that this sweater now fits better, is less snug, and amazingly soft and “cashmere” again.
- Wearing a wool sweater that is damp and several sizes too small isn’t enjoyable, and I didn’t wind up with a well-fitting wool sweater. I ended up with a wet sweater that was larger than when I stretched it on, but poorly shaped and unevenly stretched.
The best practice is, of course, reading labels and taking care not to wash and dry the un-washable.
Still, I have my favorite cashmere sweater back in the closet.
Try these unshrinking methods out for your favorite shrunken wool garments or blankets before you toss them out the door.