tinysweater04142011

How To Un-Shrink Clothes

Editor’s note: I updated this post because so many readers added in their ideas.   Read and become enlightened…and…unshrunk.

 

I do laundry with a certain level of ferocity.  If I can’t bleach something into submission, I’ll stick it in the dryer on high heat until it screams “Uncle!”

While I recognize this is probably foolish, I didn’t really care until I shrunk my Juicy Couture velour pants.  The most comfortable item I own!  I wept until I found this brilliant solution. It does work, as evidenced by by Juicy sweatpants.  Bookmark.  You’ll need it eventually.  Many thanks to OneGoodThingByJillee        Be sure to scroll to the bottom for additional ideas from the community here at The Todd & Erin Favorite Five.

Here’s the HOW-TO:

Fill a sink with lukewarm water and add a capful of baby shampoo into the water. (Many tutorials I read said to use CONDITIONER…but this made more sense to me…so this is what I used.)

 

Let the item soak in the baby shampoo water and gently work it through. This will relax the fibers in the clothing.

 

Remove the garment from the shampoo water and gently squeeze it out. Do NOT rinse it.

 

Take a large towel and lay the clothing flat on it.

 

Roll the towel up with the clothing inside it.

 

Your goal is to absorb the extra moisture, so your clothing is damp but not wet.

 

Then, get another dry towel and put the piece of clothing out on the dry towel.

 

Gently stretch the clothing item as it lays out to dry.

 

Continue to do this until the clothing item returns to its original size. Allow the item to air dry on the towel.

Excellent ideas from our readers:

Michelle Gowersays:

October 5, 2012 at 7:23 pm  (Edit)

It was a painful habit for me to learn, but we really do hang most everything and dry only towels and socks in the dryer. The above is why. :(

When hanging things up to dry, GENTLY stretch them back out first to do the same thing that you did up above, pulling the fibers back out, for items that should never go into the dryer (some people simply lay or hang them or clip them).

This is good to know for the after-the-facts tho…30 days after I threw out my trackie pants (d’oh!).

Good read!!

Carol Ssays:

October 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm  (Edit)

When my kids were young and growing tall too quickly I would wash their jeans as usual and dry them only for 5 minutes to soften them a bit.  Then I would fold the jeans in half lengthwise and put the pant legs is a door way and close the door.  Once closed I would pull on the still wet jeans until they didn’t stretch anymore.  I got as much as 2 inches once stretched.   Note:  you need to put the jeans in the door way so when you pull you’re pulling the direction that closes the door.

 

Alisa Ssays:

October 8, 2012 at 6:03 am  (Edit)

I am on the tall side for a woman (5’9″ ) so shrinking clothes is devastating.  Most of my knits I dry on low so they finish damp and hang up.

Tinasays:

October 10, 2012 at 2:23 pm  (Edit)

This is not a permanent fix if you throw them in the dryer you will have to stretch them out again, I run a laundromat so I see alot of this, All you have to do is wash in cold water as usual and make sure to use a liquid softener in the rinse cycle to relax the fibers . Remove item from wash stretch out and leave to air dry.

 

 

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Comments

66 Responses to “How To Un-Shrink Clothes”

  1. Rachel says:

    Thank you!!! I had no idea there was a solution to shrinking clothes…I am horrible at laundry and have shrunken many things. Now I can fix it! Thanks!

  2. Erin Collard says:

    Me, too! I was so excited when I tried this myself. Hope you save your wardrobe, too…

  3. It was a painful habit for me to learn, but we really do hang most everything and dry only towels and socks in the dryer. The above is why. :(

    When hanging things up to dry, GENTLY stretch them back out first to do the same thing that you did up above, pulling the fibers back out, for items that should never go into the dryer (some people simply lay or hang them or clip them).

    This is good to know for the after-the-facts tho…30 days after I threw out my trackie pants (d’oh!).

    Good read!!

  4. Carol S says:

    When my kids were young and growing tall too quickly I would wash their jeans as usual and dry them only for 5 minutes to soften them a bit. Then I would fold the jeans in half lengthwise and put the pant legs is a door way and close the door. Once closed I would pull on the still wet jeans until they didn’t stretch anymore. I got as much as 2 inches once stretched. Note: you need to put the jeans in the door way so when you pull you’re pulling the direction that closes the door.

  5. Alisa S says:

    I am on the tall side for a woman (5’9″ ) so shrinking clothes is devastating. Most of my knits I dry on low so they finish damp and hang up.

  6. Elisa says:

    I’ve “unshrunk” pants, shirts, sweaters a number of times, but I simply take it out of the washer and stretch/pull it and let it air dry. It’s not a permanent fix because if I toss it in the dryer the next time it shrinks again. Does the baby shampoo soak “permanently” unshrink them?

  7. Faye says:

    does it have to be Aveeno baby shampoo or would Johnson & Johnson do?

  8. [...] Pinterest find – how to unshrink your clothes – my mind is blown [TTAETF] [...]

  9. Tina says:

    This is not a permanent fix if you throw them in the dryer you will have to stretch them out again, I run a laundromat so I see alot of this, All you have to do is wash in cold water as usual and make sure to use a liquid softener in the rinse cycle to relax the fibers . Remove item from wash stretch out and leave to air dry.

  10. Margo says:

    I hope to I shrink a couple of shirts that shrank up after the very first washing/drying. One question…how long does the garment need to soak in the soapy water?

  11. todderinfav5admin says:

    Hi Margo–they suggest soaking the garments for an hour at least. Good luck!

  12. laura says:

    I accidentally washed my “dry clean only” favorite blouse and of course it shrunk. What have I got to lose? Baby shampoo here I come.

  13. maureen iustini says:

    Shrunken Woollens – to restore. 100g epson salts dissolve epsom salts in a little boiling water then add to soaking water. Soak woollens in this for 1/2 hour, squeeze out water and pull garment into shape, then, when almost dry, press under a dry cloth.

  14. Mary says:

    Thank you I can really use this info! I need to add, however, because of my OCD, the past tense of shrink is SHRANK, not shrunk. It’s: shrink, shrank, have shrunk. The movie title, Honey, I shrunk the kids, has always made me crazy. While I’m on a rant, the past tense of sink is SANK, not sunk. Sink, sank, have sunk. The ship sank, the ship has sunk. Sorry, thank you for your patience.

    • Janie says:

      Mary, I too am OCD and had to quit blogging because people who misuse the words to, too, & even two; their, there, & they’re; you’re & your, etc were driving me up the wall.

      • Ellie says:

        I’m with you ladies! Most of the grammar in blogging is horrible! My pet peeve is the spelling of the word “definitely”…it’s NOT “definately”…no “A” in that word people!!

  15. Kitty sprinkle says:

    While jeans are stll damp pull to stretch the waistband when the waist of your jeans get too small or if you have thick waist and have trouble getting a pair of pants to fit(going up a size makes them too big everywhere else)

  16. Bee says:

    So once you go to wash that item again, won’t it shrink up again? Or should I always wash it on cold and hang to dry forever after?

  17. [...] Clothes Saver:  How to unshrink clothing.  I sure have a few pairs of pants that could use some [...]

  18. SaraM. says:

    Does this work on all fibers or just jean material? I have a dress that shrank in the washer before I could ever wear it!

  19. [...] Clothing that shrinks in the dryer. Don’t throw it out just yet.. Try this before you do! Click through here to view the tutorial. Who knew that all you needed was baby soap and water? [...]

  20. Emilie says:

    I have these same pants that shrunk the first time I washed them a week ago. I was thinking of seeing if I could exchange them and then just not put them in the dryer but I will definitely try this first! They were perfectly long when I bought them! Thank you!

  21. Faith says:

    I love this!! I was wondering if I could use the pictures for a school project. I will give you full credit in the sources.

  22. missie says:

    Does this work with jeans?

  23. Barbara says:

    You said in original steps to “unshrinking”, to soak the clothing in baby shampoo but NOT to rinse. I have very sensitive skin. Won’t the residue left in the clothing irritate skin? I have to use a second rinse always when washing my clothes. I want to try this but don’t want skin issues or for the process not to work if I rinse the clothing.
    Any feeback from you who have tried this? Thanks!!

  24. Tanya says:

    I have a sofa cushion that shrank after hubby put it in the dryer. Now the couch has about a 4″ gap. I wonder if this would work on the sofa cushion?

  25. [...] How To Un-Shrink Clothes [...]

  26. Lana says:

    I have heard that it’s not the dryer heat, but the tumbling that causes shrinkage in most clothing. I’ve started drying at a slightly higher temp but for a shorter time, and, when possible, finishing with room air on a hanger. I think it works. Of course, it’s not the same for things like wool!

  27. Martha says:

    Conditioner is preferable to shampoo. The purpose of the conditioner is to help the fibers slide past each other in order to stretch and move. Same as your hair. Combing your hair is easier with conditioner than it is with shampoo because it provides “slip”. After you have stretched your garment, you could do an additional rinse before placing on the towel if your skin is sensitive to even baby conditioner.

  28. Holly says:

    Will this work for rayon? I accidentally washed my favorite outfit and of course, it shrunk. I guess it won’t hurt to try it!

  29. Pam says:

    We line-dry almost everything! When I go to hang up anything I stretch the seams before even hanging it up. I’m hoping this will save one of my favorite pair of pants that were (almost) consigned to the Goodwill box…

  30. denim says:

    Those r Nike not juicy. ;)

  31. Bon says:

    When I was a teen, I always hung my jeans to dry. After I got married I kind of got out of the habit. I’ve started doing it again though. So appreciate that I can have my jeans be long enough. I pay good money for my jeans and hate it when they shrink. (I have a 36 inch inseam)

  32. Colleen says:

    @ Pam, I noticed too the sweatpants were Nike not Juicy, some combination of “Juicy Couture” would be on the butt or leg. Makes me wonder if there is some trickery going on with the pictures.

    I am not questioning the method, just the pictures.

  33. Jen says:

    I just wanted to address the concern of “trickery”. The person who posted this particular page and the person who did the tutorial are not the same people. http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/10/how-to-resize-shrunken-clothes.html
    I have visited Jillee’s site on many occasions and trust what she posts. The person that did this page did cite Jillee also. It’s just not that clear. :-)

  34. Granny P says:

    I usually hang cotton up to dry then throw it in the dryer for 10 minutes before wearing to soften them up. If they’ve managed to sneak their way into the dryer with other stuff I put hems together, stand on them with one foot and pull up hard on the waist. Usually works fine without having to soak them.

  35. Connie says:

    The best way I have found to “lengthen” pants is to hang them by the hems while still damp. It has a bonus in that it also helps get rid of wrinkles.

  36. heather says:

    does this work with jeans as well?

  37. carrie says:

    being 5’8 and loving all my long comfy yoga pants/ lounge pants and long jeans, I have been doing this since I was in my teens… and my daughters are just as tall and thin. I’m used to having wet clothes hanging all over the house. backs of chairs, doorways on hangars, off of the fireplace casing. we look like a thrift shop display for the love of God. however….. If I accidentally shrink something, I just run it through a rinse cycle (just getting the clothes wet again) let them spin and pull them out. shake them out like rugs and hang them to dry. no soap needed. however we recently bought LG’s and there is some kind of freakish issue with using them and hang drying. that’s an entire crazy can of worms. they smell good coming out of the washer, but if you hang them, they get that mildew smell… infuriating on a pair of child’s miss me or my own mek’s…. hang drying will prevent shrinking as long as you aren’t using LG’s.. ;-)

  38. Leslie M says:

    This doesn’t help for the problem you wrote about, but for clothes I sew, I always wash & dry on HOT all of my fabric before I cut out my pattern pieces to cut down on shrinking. I also like my thrift store purchases for this reason–they’re almost always preshrunk.

  39. Diane says:

    Good advice! I have been hanging clothes to dry for years to prevent shrinkage. I hate twisted seams on jeans and t-shirts. After a 5 mintue tumble in the dryer on hot to fluff them and get the wrinkles out I hang them to complete drying. I have a couple of those folding dryer racks. Some things like jeans I hang on a clothes line in the basement, some on hangers, also. Clothes last longer, don’t pill, keep their color and look new longer when you don’t over dry them. This is a great money saver. I learned how to stretch things back into shape after I forgot items in the hot dryer! Live and learn!

  40. Jenny Lynn says:

    This comes at such a good time. I washed a favorite shirt I recently I forgot to pull it out to hang dry and well it shrunk. I am going to give your suggestion a try . Keeping fingers crossed it works. :)

  41. sandra says:

    My 95 year old mom in law has been living with us for 2 years and constantly tells me I have shrunk her sweatshirts. They are 20 years old and 60% cotton 40% polyester. I always wash everything in cold water and normal heat.I would never buy anything that I have to hang to dry or dry clean.I dont have the time to waste on that.So, she is ticking me off.She has washed them at least 200 times before I started taking care of her.I have read that there is only 1 to 3 % shrinkage in that blend.Her sleeves are what are bugging her the most and she is smaller and they look the same as they have for 20 years.Will this work for lengthening her sleeves somehow? Vicegrips maybe? I am going crazy and don’t want to yell at her that I have heard enough of this.Help, please.

    • Nina says:

      Sweet Sandra…Bless your heart…I’m sure this will prob work on her sweatshirts….on a side note…i can tell your mom-in-law must be giving you a hard time but remember she is 95…. :) I will be praying for you to have strength, patience, and compassion. Remember God Blesses those who help others during their time of need…so think of t this way the more she “nit-picks” the more blessed you will become. keep your head up girl God is with you!

    • Mike says:

      Sandra, I hate to say this but you sound rather rude to her even though she sounds right. Stop putting her things in the dryer, even after she’s asked you for two years not to, and simply hang them. It takes 10 seconds more per item to put it on a hanger or clothes line. She’s 95 years old, cut her a break.

    • Lisa C. says:

      Sandra, The easiest fix for you would be Downy Wrinkle Releaser.
      I always have a bottle of this on hand! Just spray the sleeves and stretch them back out. It works every time!

  42. Carol says:

    I put the clothing in the shower and drench with cold water and let hang to dry in the shower. It worked for me. Exception, wool if it sneaks into the dryer it is toast. Or maybe the other methods might work.

  43. E says:

    The pants in the diagram are Nike not juicy

  44. Pearl says:

    Need an extra inch or so on pants?
    Take the washed pants out of the washer. Holding the waistband at arms length and being careful of your eyes and surroundings, quickly snap the pants in the air in front of you 3-7 times until the pantlegs are to the desired length.
    Throw the pants into the dryer, dry on low until slightly damp. If needed, repeat the snapping actions. And then hang until dry.
    Also works on shirts/tops, nightgowns, PJs, etc.

  45. Sharon says:

    I can’t wait to try this. But on a side note, what does it matter what kind of pants on in the picture? The brand or spelling have nothing to do with this method of saving clothes. Is it necessary to just find things to correct people on? It is just plain rude

  46. Lynn says:

    FAST “unshrink your laundry” method:
    Spray bottle with water on seams to relax them and hang (or lay out)….. spritz all over clothes and swish hand over to make sure water soaks in some to reduce wrinkles.
    For really tightened pant seams i put my foot in the crotch and pull, then step on the waist band and pull outside seams. I think I’ll try adding some conditioner to the water now that I’ve read this.

  47. anom says:

    if baby shampoo is unshrinking clothes…what is it doing to babies….

  48. Sarah says:

    The same works for shirts and sweatshirts, pulling the sleeves while the shirts wet lengthens the sleeves.

  49. Michelle says:

    I stumbled on this page after leaving my Juicy tracksuit in the dryer too long. It shrunk and now shows my ankles and tummie. This seems worth trying. How long were you able to stretch the pant inseam back to?

    Thanks!

  50. Candy says:

    Those are Juicy Couture velour sweat pants? Looks like a Nike symbol to me, and deffinitely not velour material…

  51. Anna says:

    If you did use this method, would using baby oil work too?

  52. kathy says:

    knits are often a problem for me…even if i don’t put them in the dryer, it seems the seams shrink up, distorting the shape of a knit tops and sweaters that once hung so well.. Now, when I take knits out of the washer I VERY gently go inch by inch along each seam (sides, sleaves, shoulder, armhole, etc) and VERY GENTLY tug just a bit.. You do not want to tug so hard that you feel too much resistance. If you do, you will break the threads or stretch too much!! Go easy at first. Over time, you will get a feel for it.

    I also block the sleeves and the bottom hem, both of which tend to shrink up, which affects the fit. Sometimes i will block the neckline, but this is a bit trickier. Don’t try until you have a feel for the process with the other areas of your items.

    For most items, I’m able to toss them in the dryer for just a couple minutes to lose the wrinkles without affecting the “deshrinking” I’ve done.

    This also works for waffle weave dish towels and washclothes that get so misshapen. A quick blocking to stretch the fibers back out, and then they do fine to be dried completely in the dryer!

  53. facciolo says:

    It worked!!! My daughter sewed a maxi dress for herself in her high school fashion course. I accidentally put it in the dryer. She was so upset!! But I miraculously came across this on Pinterest (my new favourite website) and it was a life saver!!

  54. Claudia says:

    Ladies, get a steamer (I have a Rowenta) and a garment hanger (on wheels). It’ll save you space and eliminate most of your ironing and wrinkled clothes. I will never be without it. Clothes are expensive and I find the dryer’s high heat too harsh on fabrics. Once the washer is finished, I hang most of my clothes right away (pants by their hems, straighten seams as needed, lay down shirt tags and unfold collars, etc). For clothes that are a little tight or short, I gently pull/stretch while steaming. I’ve even steamed when the clothes are damp….easy peasy. Taking care of your clothes will save you money.

  55. Claudia says:

    Oh, and by the way…my husband now hangs a lot of his clothes too. He even steams his own clothes because he likes how they look when finished.

    Life changing I tell you!

  56. Jill says:

    Thank you so much for this! I had just bought a new dress for a friend’s wedding and it shrunk past my ankles even before I wore it and I was so upset. Managed to stretch it back to the original length :)

  57. linda says:

    My Angora sweater shrunk so bad. Pleas help

  58. gie says:

    i accidentally put my husbands working trouser on wash..do u think it will work on it?..thanks!

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