Shrinking a sweater or other garments made with merino wool, or any other type of wool is startlingly easy to do. It doesn’t take much, only some hot water in the wash or a hot dryer. You pull your favorite sweater out, and it has shrunken down, and you suddenly need to know how to unshrink wool.
Although it might seem unlikely, unshrinking wool is possible in a multitude of ways. The most important thing to remember is to be gentle.
Use one of our suggestions to increase the sweater’s size up to a size and a half, or at least to its original size.
The Ways to Unshrink Wool
Fabric objects made with wool or with any mixture of wool don’t need to be cleaned that often, especially not in a washer. The wool fibers self-regulate, keeping themselves generally free of sweat and sloughing off any dirt.
There comes a time, though, when cleaning them is necessary, and if a mishap occurs, find out how to unshrink wool with these DIY cleaning tips and get your sweater back.
Use a Conditioner Bath
Hand washing is always the best idea for washing a merino wool sweater, cashmere, or any other wool garment. A washing machine offers less control and quickly leads to a shrunken sweatshirt.
Certain substances offer useful qualities to fix shrunken clothes and specifically when trying to unshrink a wool sweater. One of these is your everyday hair conditioner.
Fill a washtub with lukewarm to cool water. Do not use hot water since this might have been the shrinking culprit in the first place. Add enough water to allow full submergence in the basin. Add the conditioner in and use your hands to mix it into the water.
Add the detergent if the wool still needs to be washed. Place the jumper into the washtub and let it soak for ten minutes up to 30 minutes. Don’t leave any part of the sweater out of the water. Gently take the wool out of the bath.
Do not wring it out, as this causes uneven shaping, but squeeze it to get rid of the excess water. Lay it on a flat surface and gently caress the sweater into the original shape.
Allow it to air dry. Wash it gently in water only to get rid of any leftover conditioner. Make sure it dries again in the correct shape.
Soak Up Baby Shampoo
Hair conditioner isn’t the only surprising substance that works well for loosening the wool fibers in a sweater. As long as the material hasn’t felted from the cleaning mishap, baby shampoo can also be used.
Fill the washtub with cool or cold water, high enough to completely cover the wool garment. Add the baby shampoo and mix it with your hands. Gently lay in your favorite wool sweater and allow it to soak for 10 to 30 minutes.
Take it out and carefully squeeze out excess water. Lay it on a flat surface and shape it into the correct form. Let it air dry and clean it off with cold water, so there is no buildup of the baby shampoo.
Shape it again, and when it dries, it is as good as new. Fabric softener also works well as a replacement.
How to Unshrink Wool with Vinegar and Water Bath
Vinegar is always a go-to for any home cleaning or fixing solution, much like duct tape is for some. Creating a vinegar bath allows you to loosen the threads of stubbornly small shrunken wool and is one of the foremost ways to unshrink wool.
Mix the water and vinegar in any container large enough to hold the garment. Set the wool item in the bath for 25 minutes, making sure it is covered.
Take it out and squeeze to release water. Lay it on a flat surface and shape it to the desired position. Allow it to air dry.
Another option for drying out a wool sweater faster, or ridding it of too much water before stretching, is to use a dry towel. Find a large bath towel to fit the material inside and lay it out on top of the towel. Roll up the towel with the sweater in it.
This process allows the towel to soak up excess water and helps to dry it out faster once the washing process finishes. It doesn’t change the shape either.
How to Stretch Wool by Hand
If you have a mohair garment, or something else quite expensive, you don’t want to find yourself online the next Cyber Monday looking for the best Black Friday sales. Knowing how to stretch wool the right way keeps it from being malformed or stretched out too much.
Lay the wool on a flat surface, preferably a soft one like a rug. Don’t pull on any single place too much. Instead, stretch it lightly in all directions.
The goal is to make the edges straight and symmetrical, but larger this time. With a sweater, focus on the sleeves, bottom edges, and along the neckline. Repeat this several more times to obtain the correct shape.
Stretch and Pin
Sometimes, even if the sweater is a favorite, we don’t have time to sit and stretch for ages. Once the wool is dry, lay it on a cork board and stretch it out by hand.
When it is in the best shape, take pins and pin it to the cork board all the way around. Don’t use this technique if the wool is very small since the pins will pull at the edges and may create gaps in the wool.
Keep It that Way
Always hand wash wool clothes to retain the best shape. If necessary, run them through a cycle in the washing machine on the gentlest setting, or the wool setting if there is one. Only use mild detergents to clean wool, preferably those designed specifically for wool.
Never use hot water, but at most tepid water. Instead of putting the wool in the dryer, allow it to air dry on a flat surface. Don’t set them in the sun to dry as many dyes used in wool garments are very photosensitive.
Although the situation might have felt hopeless last time you tried the sweater on, there are many ways to salvage a wool item. As long as it hasn’t felted, it can be loosened and dried to perfection once more.
Using the methods above and learning how to unshrink wool is a quick and easy process. We hope you find one that works wonders for you, and if you do, that you let us know.
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