How to Unshrink Clothes in the Washing Machine

How to Unshrink Clothes in the Washing Machine

As experts in the field of garment care and laundry, we understand the frustration and disappointment that comes with accidentally shrinking your favorite clothing items in the washing machine. However, worry not; we have come to your rescue with effective and proven methods to unshrink clothes and restore them to their original size and shape. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to reverse the unfortunate shrinking mishap and bring new life to your clothes.

Read also: Things To Look for Before Buying a Sewing Machine

Understanding the Shrinking Process

Before delving into the methods of unshrinking clothes, it is crucial to understand why clothes shrink in the first place. Most garments, especially those made from natural fibers like cotton, wool, or cashmere, are prone to shrinkage due to the loosening of their fibers during the wash cycle. The combination of water, agitation, and heat causes the fibers to contract, resulting in the dreaded shrinkage.

Step 1: Assess the Fabric

The first step in the unshrinking process is to assess the shrunken garment’s fabric carefully. Different fabrics require different approaches, so knowing what you’re dealing with is essential. For instance, wool and cashmere need more delicate handling than cotton or synthetic materials.

Step 2: Prepare the Unshrinking Solution

Combine lukewarm water with a few tablespoons of hair conditioner or baby shampoo to create an unshrinking solution. These gentle cleaning agents work wonders in relaxing the fibers without causing any damage to the fabric. Stir the solution until it forms a soapy mixture.

Step 3: Soak the Garment

Place the shrunken garment in the prepared unshrinking solution, ensuring that it is fully submerged. Allow it to soak for at least 30 minutes, giving the fibers ample time to relax and expand.

Step 4: Gently Stretch the Fabric

After soaking, carefully remove the garment from the solution and gently squeeze out the excess water. Lay the garment flat on a clean towel and proceed to stretch it back to its original shape and size. Be patient and gentle during this process to avoid causing any damage to the fabric.

Step 5: Roll and Press

Once you’ve successfully stretched the garment, roll it up in the towel and press firmly to remove any remaining moisture. This step helps reshape the fabric and encourages it to hold its new, restored size.

Step 6: Air Dry

Lay the garment on a flat surface or hang it up to air dry. Avoid using a dryer as the heat can cause further shrinkage. Allow the garment to dry naturally, which may take a little longer but is worth it to maintain the restored size.

Step 7: Final Touches

After completely dries the garment, give it a final touch by gently steaming it. You can use a handheld steamer or hang it in the bathroom while taking a hot shower to let the steam work its magic. This step will further relax the fibers and ensure the best possible outcome.

Read also: Useful Tips for Using a Sewing Machine

Preventing Shrinkage in the Future

Prevention is always better than cure. To avoid future shrinking mishaps, follow these useful tips:

1. Read the Care Label

Always read and adhere to the care label instructions on your clothing items. The label provides valuable information about the fabric and the appropriate washing method.

2. Use Cold Water

Wash your delicate garments in cold water to minimize the risk of shrinkage. Cold water is gentle on the fibers and helps retain the fabric’s original size and shape.

3. Opt for Gentle Cycle

Select the gentle cycle on your washing machine when cleaning delicate clothing items. This cycle reduces agitation, which can lead to less shrinkage.

4. Air Dry

Whenever possible, air dry your clothes instead of using a dryer. The heat from the dryer can cause significant shrinkage, especially in natural fibers.

Also read: Best Heavy-Duty Sewing Machine under $200


Accidentally shrinking your favorite clothing items in the washing machine can be disheartening. Still, with the right knowledge and techniques, you can easily unshrink them and restore them to their former glory. Remember to assess the fabric, prepare the unshrinking solution, soak and stretch the garment, and let it air dry for the best results.

By following these proven methods and prevention tips, you can avoid future shrinking mishaps and keep your clothes looking fresh and fitting perfectly. Take care of your garments, and they will continue to serve you well for years to come.

Scroll to Top