Although soft, wool is also annoying to wash and difficult to care for. Natural wool fibre garments may be labelled hand wash, or even dry clean, but are easily stretched or shrunk with improper care.

If you’ve accidentally taken your fine sweater from adult to child size after cleaning, don’t throw it away. Get your shrunken apparel back into shape and take the fear out of caring for wool. Shrinking sweaters can easily and unintentionally happen, but all you need is either baby shampoo or hair conditioner. Some say baby shampoo works slightly better, but others insist that there’s no difference. Both formulas loosen the fibres of a garment and make it soft, silky and manageable.

So if you have a shrunken garment which also happens to be your favourite, follow these steps.

Rub the Soap into the Shrunken Garment

shrunken sweater

Start the resizing process by soaking the shrunken item in a sink full of warm water and about two tablespoons baby shampoo or conditioner. Gently rub the soap into the fibres by hand, taking care not to stretch any of the fibres during the softening-up process. About 15 minutes should allow enough time for the soap to relax the garment’s fibres enough so that you may begin the next process.

Rinse the Shrunken Garment

shrunken sweater

Remove the shrunken sweater from the soapy water. Rinse in cool water to remove the baby shampoo. Gently press or squeeze the garment to remove any remaining moisture. Don’t wring, as this can further damage and even break the fibres you’re trying to stretch.

Squeeze Water Out

shrunken sweater

Follow your rinse and squeezing routine with a roll in a clean, dry towel to remove any lingering moisture. This is the best way to squeeze water out of clothes without wringing it out of shape. It’s important the clothing’s fibres contain as little moisture as possible when you begin the resizing process.

Stretch the Shrunken Sweater

shrunken sweater

Once you unroll it, start to stretch the previously shrunken garment into what you remember to be its original shape. Make sure to stretch the neck, arms, and sides without damaging the fibres. Let it be for at least an hour. Return to re-stretch your garment every few hours. It will take several stretching sessions to unshrink the garment, and ease it back to its original size. But if you adore that shirt or sweater, you’ll be glad you took the time to stretch, stretch and stretch again.

After your garment is fully dry and fragrant with the lovely baby shampoo or conditioner scent, try it on. It might be a hair tighter than before the tragedy happened, but at least you don’t have to throw it away!

© 2017 – VIDA Magazine – Claire Ciantar