How do I Unshrink a Wool Sweater?

Rewashing a wool sweater may unshrink the knit.

Photo: Barbara Penoyar/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Wool sweaters are comfy and warm, not to mention stylish when wearing one apres ski. If you have committed the mortal sin of putting a "dry clean only" or "hand wash" wool sweater in the washing machine, you could end up with something that looks like a doll's clothing. Relax -- all is not necessarily lost. A little re-blocking help can unshrink your wool sweater in no time.


Head back to the drawing board, or in this case the sink. Whether your wool sweater is already dry or sopping wet from the machine, you need to run more water over it to coax the fibers into stretching.


Add a mild laundry detergent to the water. Your best bet is using soap designed for delicates. You don't need much; a few drops up to a teaspoon or so will do the trick. The water should be sudsy but not overrun with bubbles.


Squeeze a bit of hair conditioner into the water, maybe about a dime-sized drop to wash one sweater. Put the conditioner on your hand, immerse your hands in the water and rub them together to make the conditioner dissolve. You know how your hair gets soft and easy to manage? Here's hoping it will do the same to the wool fibers!


Immerse the wool sweater into the sudsy water and gently pull on the fabric. Not too hard, or you'll create holes.


Rinse the sweater with plain water and squeeze out the excess. No wringing!


Lay the wool sweater on a towel for re-blocking. Here's where the magic either happens or it doesn't. If the conditioner has worked its beauty, the fibers are relaxed and will unshrink as you reshape the garment. Button it up, straighten out the collar and sleeves, all the while gently tugging everything into place.


Allow the sweater to air-dry for several hours. Then, flip the sweater over to the other side, re-block again and let it dry some more.

Things You'll Need


1.Laundry detergent


2.Hair conditioner


Tips & Tricks


Let a professional dry cleaner take over if you're not having any luck unshrinking your wool sweater, or if you feel like you might rip the stitches.


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