How can you fix shrunken clothes? My favorite pair of jeans shrunk in the wash. They are way too small now. It is possible to stretch them back into shape?
Jasmine Johnson, Cleveland, OH
I’m sorry to hear your jeans shrunk, but you’ll be happy to know you can fix shrunken clothes. One way to stretch out a pair of jeans is to wear them in a bathtub of warm water.
You’ll need to sit there for about 15 minutes, then squeeze out the extra water and keep the jeans on for about an hour. Sit in them, squat in them, and move around so the fabric stretches.
But I notice that you said the jeans are too small now. If you can’t put them on to wear when wet, you’ll need to try something else. You can try soaking them in warm water and stretching them by hand before you put them on. And if that doesn’t work, you might be out of luck.
Usually, cotton isn’t too hard to un-shrink with a DIY remedy. One of the best ways to stretch the waist of jeans or to add a little bit of length to the legs is by soaking the pants in warm water with hair conditioner or baby shampoo mixed in it.
Move the jeans around in the mixture and apply a little pressure to the areas you need to make bigger. The process may take about half an hour.
Instead of putting the clothing in the dryer, let it air dry flat. Pin or clamp the edges to a piece of cardboard or other surface so the material stays stretched and dries that way.
In fact, hair conditioner is a helpful ingredient in stretching out synthetics like rayon, too. Unshrinking rayon takes a few minutes of extra time to ensure that you don’t harm the delicate fabric but it can be done.
If you need to restore a shrunken wool garment, you’ll want to use Borax or vinegar as a fabric softener. For more details on how to take care of other kinds of laundry and fix shrunken clothes, see here.