The Secret to Un-Shrinking a Wool Sweater

Rescuing your favorite winter garment couldn't be easier.

Men's Fall Fashion

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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 steps 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.

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Un-Shrink a Wool Sweater
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Step 1: 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 2: 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 3: 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.

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