How to Unshrink a Wool Sweater in 5 Easy Steps

If you take your wool sweater out of your washing machine only to learn it has seriously shrunken, don't fret—there are ways to save the cozy staple, and the sooner you do so, the better. Best of all? Only a few materials are needed to bring the sweater back to life (er, we mean back to its original shape). Ahead, see an easy-to-follow guide on exactly how to unshrink a wool sweater. Remember: To avoid this same mishap from happening in the future, skip the washing machine and rinse it by hand instead.

1. Soak the Sweater in a Solution

The first step in the unshrinking process is to soak the wool sweater in a solution that consists of cool water and about two tablespoons of baby shampoo for at least 30 minutes (but no more than two hours). Liquid fabric softer can also be used in place of the shampoo.

Then, swish the sweater around to ensure that every inch of it is soaked in the solution. This is an important step, as the soaking of the sweater softens and relaxes the wool fibers, which then allow for reshaping and resizing.

2. Remove the Sweater From the Solution

Once you've removed the soak sweater, very gently squeeze to remove the excess water. Be careful not to wring or twist the sweater. Remember, the wool fibers are relaxed, so you want to avoid doing anything else that can alter the shape or fit.

3. Roll Up the Sweater in a Towel

After you've squeezed out what you can of the water solution, lay the sweater on a dry towel, and roll it up. This will absorb the rest of the water that you were not able to remove. The sweater should be damp, but not soaking wet.

4. Place the Sweater on a Fresh Towel, and Then Begin the Stretching Process

After you've soaked the sweater in the solution to soften the wool fibers and ensured the excess moisture has been removed, it's time to start the resizing process. Gently begin stretching it back to its original size (this may need to be repeated several times).

5. Let the Sweater Dry

The final step in the unshrinking process is to let the sweater air-dry (note: never put it in the dryer). If needed, reshape and stretch out the sweater as needed during the drying stages.

Shop Our Favorite Wool Sweaters for Winter