How To Unshrink Clothes

A woman was shocked after getting her laundry that her clothes were shrunken.

Shrunken clothes—every laundry enthusiast’s nightmare.

You meticulously follow the care instructions, only to end up with a garment that could fit your pet hamster.

But fear not, for there are ways to unshrink clothes this laundry mishap and bring your beloved clothing back to its original size.

Does Hot Water Stretch Clothes?

The Hot Water Myth

One of the common myths surrounding laundry is that hot water can stretch clothes.

While hot water can loosen fabric fibers temporarily, it doesn’t permanently stretch them.

The misconception may arise from the fact that hot water can relax fibers, making clothes seem larger when wet.

However, once the fabric dries, it typically returns to its original size.

How Do You Get Shrunken Clothes Back to Original Size?

The Unshrinking Process

The key to unshrinking clothes lies in moisture and heat.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to unshrink any garments with ease:

  1. Prepare a Gentle Soaking Solution: Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water and add a capful of mild detergent. Avoid using hot water, as it can further shrink the fabric.
  2. Soak the Garment: Submerge the shrunken clothing item in the soapy water and let it soak for about 30 minutes. This allows the fibers to relax and become more pliable.
  3. Gently Stretch the Fabric: After soaking, carefully stretch the garment back to its original shape. Be gentle to avoid damaging the fabric.
  4. Rinse Thoroughly: Once stretched, rinse the garment under cold water to remove the detergent.
  5. Remove Excess Water: Press the clothing item between towels to absorb excess water. Avoid wringing or twisting, as this can distort the fabric.
  6. Air Dry Flat: Lay the garment flat on a clean towel or drying rack to air dry. Avoid using a dryer, as heat can cause further shrinkage.
  7. Steam or Iron: For stubborn wrinkles or slight shrinkage, steam the garment with a handheld steamer or use a steam iron on a low setting. This helps relax the fibers and restore the fabric’s original shape.

Are Shrunken Clothes Permanent?

The Permanence Question

The good news is that shrunken clothes are not always permanent.

With the right techniques and a bit of patience, you can often rescue your favorite garments from the clutches of shrinkage.

However, it’s essential to act quickly and avoid heat during the unshrinking process, as heat can set the shrinkage permanently.

Does Ironing Unshrink Clothes?

Ironing as a Solution

While ironing can help in certain cases, it’s not a guaranteed method to unshrink clothes.

Ironing with steam can relax fabric fibers and remove wrinkles, which may alleviate minor shrinkage.

However, for significant shrinkage, the soaking and stretching method described earlier is more effective and eco-friendly.

A person is ironing the shrunken clothes.

Hacks for How To Unshrink Clothes

Lukewarm SoakSoak shrunken clothes in lukewarm water with mild detergent to relax fibers.
Gentle StretchingCarefully stretch the fabric back to its original shape after soaking.
Cold RinseRinse the garment under cold water to remove detergent and maintain size.
Air Dry FlatLay the garment flat to air dry, avoiding heat that can cause further shrinkage.
Steam or IronUse a handheld steamer or steam iron on low to relax fibers and remove wrinkles.


Unshrinking clothes is a feasible task with the right approach.

By understanding the effects of hot water, using gentle soaking techniques, and avoiding heat during drying, you can often rescue shrunken garments and extend their lifespan.

Remember to handle delicate fabrics with care and always check the care label for specific instructions.

Related blogs

How To Wash Pillows

Washing pillows might seem like a daunting task, but it’s essential for keeping your sleeping environment clean and fresh. Many people neglect pillow care, not

Read More »