The Secret to Un-Shrinking a Wool Sweater

Rescuing your favorite winter garment couldn't be easier.

622299888

622299888

Men's Fall Fashion

Photo by: ©iStockphoto.com/bee32

©iStockphoto.com/bee32

By: Ryan Reed

Owning a sweater is not for the faint of heart. This is especially true if you own a wool sweater and make the mistake of running it through the washer and dryer. The result is a shrunken garment that you have to donate or upcycle because there’s no chance of wearing it again. There may be hope though. A simple solution could help those who break the cardinal rule of wool sweater care.

Using warm water, hair conditioner and a little patience, it’s possible to return your cozy sweater to its former glory. Hopefully, you’ll never have to use the tips below. But as we all know, wool sweaters have a way of finding their way into the wash.

Editor's Note: We tested this process on a wool sweater and cannot speak to how it works on other materials.

Un-Shrink a Wool Sweater 00:54

Follow these two simple steps to un-shrink a wool sweater.

 Step One: Soak Sweater

Fill a sink with lukewarm water, and add about 1/3 cup of hair conditioner. Your sweater will have the aroma of the conditioner after (until you get it professionaly cleaned), so make sure you like the scent before adding it to the water.

Submerge the sweater in the water/conditioner solution completely, and let it soak for about 10 minutes. Then, let the water go down the drain but leave the sweater in the sink. Press out the water. Be sure not to wring it out, as that could cause the garment to become misshapen.

 Step Two: Stretch It

Place the sweater on a towel and smooth it out. Roll up the sweater in the towel to remove more moisture. It should be damp at this point. Unroll the sweater and lay it flat on the towel once again. Begin to stretch the garment back to its original shape. Don't stretch too much, but make sure you're pulling the fibers enough so that the sweater appears larger.

 Step Three: Air Dry

Once you feel your sweater is reshaped close to its original size, lay it flat once again and let it air dry completely. After that, you should have a sweater that fits.

5 Tips That Will Save Your Favorite Sweaters

Keep your sweaters looking fresh with these tricks to unshrink, de-fuzz and more.

More Sweater-Saving Tips
Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Design a Low-Maintenance Garden

Garden design doesn't have to be difficult. Learn how to use easy-to-maintain plants to create a beautiful space.

How to Budget for Home Maintenance Costs

Some first-time homeowners are shocked to learn that the cost of homeownership doesn't stop at the closing table. Here's how to plan for unexpected surprises.

6 Secrets to Reselling Furniture Flips

There's a trick to selling furniture flips, and we've got the secrets.

Nate Berkus Shares His Top 7 Secrets to Style

If every home tells a story, what's your home saying?

How to Give Your Home a Luxe Touch on a Budget

Make your house feel like a chateau with these pro tips from interior designer Colin Griffith.

Spring Cleaning: How to Do It in 48 Hours

Here's how to organize, declutter and clean your house and your tech this weekend, just in time for spring.

Secrets to Palm Tree Care

Dramatic palm trees prove perfect for indoor pots—here's how to help your container plant thrive.

What to Plant in High- and Low-Maintenance Gardens

Choose plants for a garden design that will suit your lifestyle.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts