How to Unshrink Clothes: A Step-by-Step Guide

Home | How to Unshrink Clothes: A Step-by-Step Guide
Do you often have to throw away your favorite clothes due to shrinking? Has a beloved garment found its way into the garbage can because of one too many trips through the dryer? If so, don’t worry – all is not lost! We’re here to provide an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide on how to unshrink clothes. With these tips, you can quickly restore your shrunken clothing to its original size and shape – with minimal effort. So, let’s get started!

Use Lukewarm Water and Gentle Detergents

When it comes to how to unshrink clothes, the first step is crucial. Start by filling a basin or sink with lukewarm water. This temperature is essential since it will prevent the fabric from being exposed to hot water that can further shrink it. If the water is too hot, it can impact the fiber’s elasticity, eventually making it tighter and smaller. It is advisable to test the water temperature first before soaking the clothes. Once you soak the clothes in lukewarm water, the fibers will loosen up, resulting in a more relaxed fit. After you’ve added lukewarm water to the sink or basin, the next step is to add a gentle detergent suitable for delicate fabrics. Some use baby shampoo or hair conditioner, but you should use a gentle detergent. Look for detergents specifically labeled “gentle” or “delicate.” Since harsh chemicals or bleach can damage the fibers, it is essential to steer clear of them and opt for gentle detergents on the fabric. Gentle detergents can remove dirt, sweat, and other stains while still maintaining the quality of the clothes. It will preserve the fabric’s natural fibers, softness, and elasticity, keeping the clothes looking and feeling new. You should also use gentle detergents when going for self service laundry in Houston Texas to avoid any issues. 

Soak for 30 Minutes

Allowing your shrunken clothes to soak in the prepared warm water is essential to unshrink clothes. Submerging your garment for approximately 30 minutes allows the fibers to relax and become more pliable for stretching. While soaking, gently agitate the clothing to ensure the solution penetrates evenly. Doing so, you help remove the stiffness and restore the original texture and shape of the fabric. However, it’s important not to soak for too long as this may cause damage to delicate fabrics and will make clothes shrink. So, whether you’re dealing with a cotton hoodie or a wool sweater, the 30-minute soaking process is crucial for achieving desirable and long-lasting results.

Let Excess Water Drip

After removing the clothing item from the water, the next step in unshrinking clothes is to let the excess water drip off naturally. It is important not to rush this step. Wringing the garment too hard can cause further damage to the fibers and may make the clothes shrink even further. You could lay the garment on a flat surface or on a dry flat towel or hang it on a clothesline to air dry. This may take some time, but it will ensure the excess water is removed without stressing the fibers.

Lay Clothing on a Flat Towel

Next, lay a clean, absorbent towel on a flat surface like a table or countertop. Carefully place the damp clothing item onto the towel, ensuring it is flat and not bunched up. Smooth out any wrinkles or folds in the fabric. It is also important to note that some fabrics may be more delicate than others and require special care when drying. For example, knitwear and wool should never be hung on a clothesline as the weight of the water can cause the item to stretch out of shape. Instead, lay these items flat on a towel to air dry.

Gently Stretch the Clothing to Its Original Size

This is the most crucial step in the unshrinking process. Gently stretch the fabric in different directions, focusing on the areas that have shrunk the most. Use your hands to stretch the material gradually, applying even pressure across the garment. For example, if you’re unshrinking a shirt, start with the sleeves and collar. Hold the fabric at the edge and gently pull in opposite directions. Repeat this process until you achieve the desired size. Be cautious not to overstretch the fabric, as it may become distorted or lose shape. For pants or skirts, focus on the waistband and the leg openings. Pull the fabric gently in both horizontal and vertical directions, using a slow and steady motion. Take breaks if needed to assess the progress and ensure you don’t stretch the fabric too much.

Air Dry the Clothing

After successfully unshrinking your clothes, it is crucial to leave the clothing air dry naturally. It might be tempting to throw them in the dryer to speed up the process but resist this urge. Direct heat sources will cause the fabric to shrink again, undoing all your progress. Instead, lay the garment carefully on a flat surface, ensuring that no part is bunched up or crinkled. Choose a shady and well-ventilated spot, as this will help the item dry quickly and evenly. Initially, you can dry clothes outside and then bring the clothing inside to avoid color fade. In addition, hanging woolen clothes on a clothesline or hanger is not recommended, as this can lead to stretching or misshaping. Remember that the key here is to allow the fabric to relax and recover its original shape. Be patient and let nature take its course. If you lack time, you can take help of professional services that offer same day laundry drop off services.


Accidentally shrinking clothes can be disheartening, but with the right techniques, they can be restored to their original size. Following these step-by-step instructions and being mindful of the fabric type can increase the chances of successfully unshrinking your favorite garments. Remember, patience is key, and achieving the desired results may take a few attempts.
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