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How to unshrink clothes after laundry – Reverse shrinkage in clothes

How to unshrink clothes and reverse shrinkage
How to unshrink clothes and reverse shrinkage

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It’s a pain to see clothes getting shrunk, however, in some cases it is possible to restore the original size of clothes. Hence, you shouldn’t lose hope.

If your favourite sweater just shrunk after wash or your denims doesn’t fit you anymore due to shrinkage, we can help. 

So, without any further ado, let’s see how you can undo the damage of your laundry mistakes in simple ways.

There are two  different ways to unshrink clothes depending on the fabric, we will see both of them one by one.

How to unshrink denim garments

Shrunken jeans
Shrunken jeans

Things you will need

  • Spray bottle
  • Drying rack or clothesline

Method 1: Spray water and stretch by hand

  • Fill a spray bottle with lukewarm water. Spray it all over the jeans. Then, gently tug the sides apart to stretch the fibres out.
  • Keep doing this for 5 minutes and try on the jeans. In most cases, this method proves effective on minor shrinkage.

In case this doesn’t work or there is massive shrinkage, you can try the following method.

Method 2: Soak the denim and stretch

  • Take a large bucket, fill 1/3r of it with lukewarm water.
  • Soak the denim garment in the lukewarm water for 15 minutes.
  • Take them out and try wearing your denim. Water will soften the fabrics’ fibres and it will be easier to stretch it when its wet.
  • If are able to wear the denim, wear it for around 1 hour.
  • In case it does not fit you, stretch it by hand. You can also lay the wet denim on a large towel and tug on the edges.

Pro-tip: The areas which feel very tighter needs to stretched more, hence, focus more on such areas.

  • Dry your jeans on a clothesline or drying rack.

Caution: Do not use the clothes dryer once you are done. Heat may cause shrinkage again.

How to unshrink woollen clothes

Common laundry problem - Shrinkage in woolen clothes
Shrinkage in woolen clothes

Things you will need

  • White vinegar or wool detergent
  • Large towels
  • Drying rack

Step 1: Fill a bucket with lukewarm water

Take a large bucket which have enough space to submerge the entire garment. Leave 1/3rd of the bucket empty so that the water doesn’t come out after submerging the garment.

Step 2: Mix white vinegar or borax in the water

Borax and white vinegar can soften the fibres. This allows the fabric to stretch and get back to its original shape. Take 1 tbsp (15 ml) of white vinegar or 1 tbsp (25.6 g) of Borax to the bucket of water. Stir the water with your hands or any clean plastic stick until borax or vinegar is completely dissolved.


  • Always dilute borax or white vinegar with water before use, otherwise, they can damage the fabric.
  • Do not use borax on synthetic materials like nylon and delicate natural material like silk, it will not be effective on these fabrics and your efforts will go into vain.

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Step 3: Soak the garment

Soak the shrunken garment in the bucket containing water + borax/white vinegar. Make sure it is completely submerged and leave it for at least 10 minutes. Make sure you do not leave it in the water for more than 30 minutes.

Step 4: Squeeze water out of the garment

Take the garment out of the bucket. Lay it on a clean, flat surface and roll it into a ball. Assert slight pressure while rolling and after making a ball of the garment. This will drain out excess water.

Do not twist or wring it harshly otherwise it may over-stretch and not regain its original size or shape.

Step 5: Stretch the garment by hand

Lay a large towel on a clean, dry, and flat surface. Spread the garment on the towel. Now, tug on shrunken areas. You can keep stretching the garment by hands. Make sure you don’t stretch or tug rigorously. Put something heavy such as paperweight on the garment to prevent it from shrinking again.


Pro tip: Work in small areas if the wrinkles are very tough or there are some areas that are hard to iron. Some of these areas can be puffed sleeves or the waist of a pair of denim or trousers. 

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Step 6: Air-dry the garment

Always air-dry shrunken garments. Even though it is not ideal to hang dry woollen clothes, however, if the garment has shrunk a lot, you can hang it while its wet. The water can weigh down the fabric and cause stretch.

However, if your concern is minor shrinkage, do not hang dry the garment. You can use a drying rack or simply lay the garment on a clean, dry surface.

Pro tips to prevent shrinkage

  • Do not use high heat setting while washing or drying clothes until it is mentioned on the label.
  • Prefer using cold water (normal water temperature) to wash clothes that are prone to shrinkage.
  • You can prefer hand wash over machine wash for clothes that are prone to shrinkage.
  • Always adhere to the garment care label while washing or drying clothes to prevent shrinkage.

In order to prevent your other clothes from shrinking, you must be careful while washing them. In case you cannot focus on every single step of washing and drying, it is better to let someone else do the laundry. Because, even slightest of laundry mistakes can ruin garments. Hence, you can rely on professional laundry service providers.

For more such information on laundry and dry clean, keep visiting Tumbledry. We post a lot on these topics.

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