Follow These 4 Steps for Unshrinking Your Clothes


It’s the worst kind of laundry room nightmare – you take your clothes out of the washer or dryer only to see your favorite pair of jeans have shrunken at least two sizes. Or maybe you just bought a new sweater that looks like it would have trouble fitting the teenage version of yourself after coming out of the dryer.

 We’ve all had the unpleasant experience of accidentally shrinking our (or somebody else’s) clothes. Your first instinct might just be to give up. But what if we told you it was possible to unshrink your clothes! It sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. Here, we’ll outline some steps you can follow to return your clothes to their previous state.

How to unshrink your clothes.

1.   Take it out immediately.

If you stop a laundry cycle and notice an item of clothing smaller than normal, take it out immediately even if the laundry isn’t fully dry. Whatever setting you chose is clearly shrinking that piece of clothing, and leaving it in longer will only make things worse. The further away an article of clothing gets away from its original shape, the harder it is to return to its normal size. So act quickly!

2.   Loosen the fibers.

After you’ve removed the shrunken clothing from the laundry, fill up a tub or sink with warm water and add a small bit of non-abrasive soap, shampoo, or even laundry detergent. Mix the cleaning solution into the water until it’s completely dissolved, and then toss in your clothing for around 30 minutes. This soaking helps to loosen up the fibers that have compressed from the heat of the laundry cycle.

3.   Dry it with a towel.

Once half an hour or so has passed, drain the water and remove the clothing. You should gently squeeze to get out any water without fully rinsing the laundry. Next, lay out a flat, absorbent towel and place the piece of clothing on top. Roll up the towel with your clothing inside. Apply a bit of pressure to squeeze out more water. The goal is to get the clothing damp instead of wet. Whatever you do, don’t toss it back in the dryer! 

4.   Stretch and dry it.

When your clothing is semi-dried, lay out another dry towel completely flat. Just like you did before, place the clothing on top of the towel. Instead of rolling it up, you’ll actually stretch the clothing back to its normal size (or as close as you can get it). This will help to reposition the fibers after loosening them up. Now, it’s just a waiting game as the clothes are left to air dry. You can place it in the sun to speed up the process, but just make sure to keep your clothing flat.

How to prevent shrinking.

It’s great knowing how to return clothes to their normal size after accidentally shrinking them, but how do you prevent it in the first place? Here are some tips:

Pay attention to laundry tags.

Learning how to read laundry tags is one of the easiest ways to keep your clothing intact. Most articles of clothing come with clear washing and drying directions that can help you avoid shrinking problems altogether.

Avoid unnecessarily high temperatures.

While it’s true that hotter temperatures kill more bacteria, there’s no point in using these harsher settings if your clothing isn’t wearable afterward. In general, the only clothing you should wash and dry on higher temperature settings is underwear.

Air-dry clothing when needed.

If you’re washing an item of clothing prone to shrinking in the dryer, consider air drying it instead. Ideally, you can find a place that receives direct sunlight to help the clothing dry quicker. The sun even acts as a natural sanitizer to further kill bacteria in your laundry.

Laundry doesn’t have to be difficult. With the right tips and tricks, you can turn this weekly hassle into a breeze. Feel free to browse the Coin Meter site today for some insider insights to help you keep your laundry clean and smelling fresh!