Laundry Tips

Can You Unshrink Clothes?

May 18, 2020

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We have all made a laundry mistake at least once and ended up with a pair of pants or a sweater that was now too small. Yes, it may have been laughable at the time, but when it’s your clothing, you want to avoid costly mistakes when washing your favorite items.

Maybe you ignored the fabric’s care label and tossed that cool shirt into the machine instead of handwashing it. Whatever the case, you now have a shrunken shirt, for example.

So, what can you do?

Starting With The Fiber Content

Our laundry experts say that it all begins with a fabric’s unique fibers. Popular ones include wool, cotton, silk, polyester, nylon, linen, rayon, spandex, etc. Each one requires different care.

If you’re desperate in how to unshrink clothes, you are not alone. The good news is that it can be achieved by relaxing the fibers, and the way you do that is by stretching them back into their original shape.

Using The Baby Shampoo Trick

Clothing made from fiber that features cotton or jersey knit gives you the best chance in how to unshrink clothes. The reason for that is the fibers contain a looser weave.

A well-known method that works focuses on baby shampoo, which is a mild formula that has stretching capabilities on fabric. To try the technique, plug your sink with lukewarm water, and add about 1 tablespoon of baby shampoo.

Place your shrunken garment into the sink, and allow it to soak from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Then, remove the item, but do not rinse it or wring it. Instead, lay the item down flat on a big bath towel. Then, roll up the towel, and let it sit for about 15 minutes.

Unroll the towel, and stretch the garment out by hand to reshape it. When you are happy with the size, pin the clothing in place with books and other heavy objects to air-dry it.

The Lukewarm Water Stretch For Jeans

There’s nothing worse than trying to fit in your favorite jeans that the dryer has shrunk beyond recognition. There’s no reason to freak out because you have two excellent options to try.

For the first tip, get a spray bottle full of lukewarm water, and lay your jeans (dry) onto the floor. Spray the areas of your denim that have become too tight. For most of us, that usually means the waistband and the calves.

Get on your hands and knees, and begin stretching your jeans in all directions to relax the fibers. Keep spraying lukewarm water as needed to get the proper grip and stretch.

For option number two, and this is a bit bizarre, you’re going to fill up the tub with enough lukewarm water to sit in it with your jeans on. This will help loosen the threading as you gently pull on the fabric while you soak.

After about 15 minutes, get out of the tub, and walk around in the jeans and bend, do squats, etc. for about an hour. Then, hang-dry the jeans.

The Vinegar/Borax Soak For Wool

When it comes to precious cashmere and wool garments, borax or vinegar are successful in how to shrink clothes.

Fill your sink with lukewarm water, and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of borax or vinegar per quart of water. Soak your wool item in the water, working it into the fabric. Manually stretch the garment while it’s soaking. Then, squeeze as much water out of the fabric as possible.

Do not rinse it. Instead, take some towels and stuff them inside the sweater or wool garment to reshape it, smooth the fabric out, and stretch it back to its original size. Hang it to dry.

Let’s face it, every article of clothing you own has been made with unique fibers. Washing and drying these items can sometimes, cause our favorite garments to shrink.

It’s not your fault. We’re all super busy and multitasking this and that.

Here at the Great American Laundromat, you can relax, and let our team of pros take care of all of your washing, drying, folding, and dry cleaning needs.

We don’t mind. Drop off all of your dirtiest laundries as our heavy-duty machines can handle it. We offer pickup and/or delivery.

Peace of mind, expert service, and you won’t have to worry about how to unshrink clothes ever again.

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