How to Shrink a Wool Sweater Without Felting


Often, sweaters will shrink when the care label information states that they should be hand or machine washed. However, even though the care label states to wash by hand and dry flat, felting can still occur while washing in a washing machine. The best way to avoid this is to use hot water and then stretch and shape the sweater before it is dry.

Can a Shirt Shrink in the Washer?
Can a Shirt Shrink in the Washer?

How to Shrink a Wool Sweater Without Felting

How to Shrink a Wool Sweater Without Felting

1. Fill a basin with hot water and add the shampoo or hair conditioner to make suds.

2. Place your sweater in the basin and squeeze it gently until it absorbs the sudsy water. Squeeze a few times more before pulling it up from the water and then shape, pulling, and tugging on it until you are satisfied with the shape. If it is too short, stretch the sweater out to its original length before placing it back in the water.

3. Allow your sweater to soak for 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with hot water.

4. Place a towel on top of your sweater and press it down all over the surface until it is thoroughly wet.

5. Gently squeeze the excess water out of the sweater and roll it in a towel with your hands to remove even more water.

6. Hang your sweater over a hanger or on a drying rack until it is dry, which will be about 3 hours for this type of fabric.

* The above steps should be followed in the exact order that they were given.

How to Shrink a Wool Jumper in the Tumble Dryer

1. Fill the tumble dryer with clean, warm (but not too hot) water and add a small amount of shampoo or hair conditioner to make suds.

2. Place your jumper in the washing machine and gently squeeze it until it absorbs the sudsy water. Squeeze a few times more before pulling it out from the water and then shape, pulling, and tugging on it until you are satisfied with the shape.

3. Allow your jumper to soak for 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with clean water.

4. Place a towel on top of your jumper and press down all over the surface until it is damp to the touch; not soaking wet, but not dry.

5. Do not wring out, but hang your jumper over a hanger or on a drying rack until it is dry; this will take about 3 hours for this type of fabric.

How do you shrink a wool sweater that is too big

How to Shrink Wool Sweater by Hand

1. Fill a basin with hot water and add the shampoo or hair conditioner to make suds.

2. Place your sweater in the basin and gently squeeze it until it absorbs the sudsy water. Squeeze a few times more before pulling it up from the water and then shape, pulling, and tugging on it until you are satisfied with the shape. If it is too short, stretch the sweater out to its original length before placing it back in the water.

3. Allow your sweater to soak for 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with hot water.

4. Place a towel on top of your sweater and press it down all over the surface until it is thoroughly wet.

5. Gently squeeze the excess water out of the sweater and roll it in a towel with your hands to remove even more water.

6. Hang your sweater over a hanger or on a drying rack until it is dry, which will be about 3 hours for this type of fabric.

How to Unshrink a Wool Sweater

1. Add a cup of white vinegar to the wash with the detergent for future loads.

2. Use a fabric shaver or sweater comb to shave off surface irregularities that may have occurred during launderings, such as fuzziness and lint balls.

3. Machine-wash the sweater on hot and tumble dry for 20 minutes before removing it to stretch and shape it by hand.

FAQ:

What is felting? 

As stated on the care label, felting is a process where wool garments shrink and tighten up when exposed to hot water and agitation, such as washing it by hand or machine.

How do I know if my sweater has felted? 

If your garment is made of 100% wool, it may have already shrunk by the time you realize it. Using a magnifying glass or strong reading glasses will help you determine if the garment has been shrunken due to being exposed to hot water and agitation.

What can I do about it? 

If the sweater has not yet shrunk, do not wash it. Instead, always follow the care label instructions for washing and drying wool garments.

How can I unshrink a sweater? 

If your garment has felted due to being exposed to hot water and agitation such as a machine or hand washing, you will need to use a wet-dry cycle on your washing machine to unshrink the garment. The “wet-dry” cycle is where both hot and cold water is used, rather than just the cold option. This will allow you to bathe the garment in water that is close to room temperature.

What kind of wool can I use? 

If your garment is made of 100% wool and you want to avoid felting, it’s best to dry clean it. However, if you decide to hand wash or machine wash the garment on a gentle cycle, be sure to use cool water and lay the sweater flat to dry.

Can I still shrink my sweater if I follow the care label instructions? 

Yes, the garment can deteriorate even when you follow all of the instructions stated on the care label. Be sure to check for any tears or thin areas in the sweater before washing it again.

How can I prevent this from happening? 

If you’d like to avoid felting, choose fabrics made of 100% wool and avoid machine washing these materials. If you must machine wash them, set the water temperature to cold and the spin speed to slow-medium. Also, check for any tears or thin areas in the fabric before washing.

Are there any products that I can use with my sweater? 

Use a special detergent created for washing wool garments. Also, there are products specifically designed to help prevent felting.

Conclusion

Felting is a process where wool garments shrink and tighten up when exposed to hot water and agitation, such as washing it by hand or machine. Some steps can be followed to reduce the chance of felting due to laundering your clothes. If your garment has already shrunken, there are options on how you can unshrink it that are stated above.

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