Did Your Favorite T-Shirt Shrink After Being Washed? Try These Tips To Unshrink Your Clothes

Pastel warm knitted clothes sweater hanging in the closet. Cozy autumn and winter wardrobe.


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There's nothing more frustrating than spending money on clothes that end up shrinking after being washed and dried. But fret not, by following these savvy tips and tricks by Redditors, you can learn how to unshrink your favorite garments and save yourself from unnecessary expenses. 

From soaking the clothes in a mixture of warm water and conditioner to using wrinkle release spray, these solutions can give your shrunken clothes a second chance at life. 

Stretched Out from shoulders cardigan hanging on bad shape hanger in home room. How to avoid fabric stretch marks concept.
Helin Loik-Tomson/istockphoto

Soak Clothes in Warm Water and Conditioner

Soaking the shrunken clothes in a mixture of warm water and conditioner can help them stretch out, one user writes. The warm water relaxes the fibers while the conditioner softens and lubricates them to help stretch and reshape the garments back to their desired fit. The user recommends wringing out the clothes manually and then letting them dry out on a flat surface. This method works best on cotton or part-synthetic fibers, writes one user.

"This worked for a wool dress that my husband put in the dryer, very effective," writes another Redditor.

Kids Clothes Drying on a Clothing Line

Soak Clothes in Cold Water and Manually Stretch Them Out

Another technique to stretch out clothes that have shrunk is by soaking them in cold water, hanging them to dry, and manually tugging on them every so often to help them stretch, says one Reddit user, noting how they were able to "stretch out some knit sweaters that [had] shrunk" this way. 

Another user suggests draping the garments "over a chair, sofa cushion, or pillow" and hoping gravity will work its magic. However, the user says this method results in "varying degrees of success."

Children's colored clothes dry on clothesline in the garden in nature under rays of the sun after laundering . Protection against fading of colored fabrics. Organic baby washing powders and detergents
Maryna Auramchuk/istockphoto

Use Fabric Softener and Air Dry

Another tip Redditors suggest is to soak shrunken clothes in fabric softener, leave them overnight, and then sun dry them. This strategy of letting clothes sit overnight allows the fabric softener to permeate the fibers for maximum absorption. Drying them out in the sun can then provide gentle heat and natural stretching to help clothes regain their original shape and size. 

man disinfecting a sport jacket

Use Wrinkle-Release Spray

I had no idea what wrinkle-release spray was prior to today, but one Redditor says it works well on certain fabrics, and can even stretch them out too much — which means it must work well. "Try wrinkle release spray. Sometimes you’ll end up stretching out the shirt and it’ll become too baggy, but it’ll work depending on the type of fabric. You can find the spray in most laundry aisles," writes the user.

Related: Want To Get Stains Out Of Your Thrift Store Finds? These Shoppers Know a Few Tricks

Pants on hanger
Pollyana Ventura/istockphoto

Hang 'Em Up With a Weight

Another technique for gently stretching out clothes involves hanging wet garments with pants hangers and attaching a weight at the bottom, says one user. This method takes advantage of the weight and gravity to gradually elongate the fabric without causing damage — allowing the clothes regain a more comfortable fit over time. 

Related: Why Air-Drying Clothes Is Superior in Almost Every Way

Ironing in the laundry room

Try Ironing Them Inside Out

"If it’s viscose (a semi-synthetic type of rayon fabric), you can loosen the garment a bit by ironing it (best to do it on the inside out)," writes one Redditor, adding, "It very well may not return it to its original size, but it can help." Indeed, by applying gentle heat and pressure from ironing, this can relax the fibers and allow the garment to expand and regain their original fit. 

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