How to Shrink a Sweater from Wool, Cotton, Cashmere or Polyester?

by Kristiyana
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The first week of November is often rainy and rather cool, and we will once again have to opt for cardigans and vests under the trench coat. The problem is that when you put on knitted clothes a few times, they start to stretch terribly and lose their original shape. So how do you shrink a sweater that has stretched?

Can You Shrink a Sweater That Has Stretched? How to Do It?

tips how to shrink a cotton sweater

Rest assured, shrinking a knit sweater that has become too big is not rocket science, but at the same time, you need to know the right method to do this right. Generally, it is heat and humidity that shrink clothing, and you can learn to use them to your advantage, depending on the material being treated.

Of course, not all fabrics react in the same way to this type of “heat treatment” and you must be careful not to completely damage your favorite sweater, whether it is wool, cotton, cashmere, or polyester. That being said, check the label before you start doing anything to avoid unnecessary risks.

How to Shrink a Wool Sweater?

how to shrink a wool knitted sweater
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If you have a dryer, you probably already know that wool sweaters are among the most heat-sensitive clothing items and therefore easy to shrink, whether intentionally or not entirely. So, to shrink a stretched wool sweater, soak it in lukewarm water for a few hours, wash it with a mild detergent, and dry it in the machine at a medium temperature or a special wool or silk cycle. Drying it flat or on the drying rack is also possible, but the shrinkage will be less defined.

Steps to Shrink a Cotton Sweater

how to shrink a wool knit sweater

Be aware that cotton fibers can withstand higher temperatures than wool. So, to shrink a cotton sweater that is too big, you can wash it on a short cycle at 40–45°C/104-114°F and then dry it in the dryer without exceeding 60°C/140°F or using the special cotton program. If the sweater is still stretched, repeat the process or increase the temperature a bit. The more intense the heat, the tighter your garment will be, so be careful not to end up badly with a doll’s sweater.

How to Put a Cashmere Cardigan Into Shape?

can you shrink a cotton wool polyester sweate

Cashmere is a fairly delicate fabric that must be handled with care. In order to shrink a cashmere sweater, it is best to avoid the washer and dryer, and treat it by hand. To start, turn the garment inside out and soak it in lukewarm water with a little mild detergent or baby shampoo for 10 to 15 minutes. To ensure that the water is not too hot, which can damage your cardigan, it should feel comfortable against your skin. Rinse the garment gently in cold or lukewarm water. Afterward, to drain it, avoid twisting the cardigan, but wrap it in a clean towel so that it absorbs excess water. Finally, let it lie flat to dry without risking damage.

How to Shrink a Sweater from Synthetic Fibers?

how to shrink a cotton knit sweater
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Although they are quite durable, sweaters made of polyester, acrylic, etc. can also stretch and outgrow. The problem is that this rarely happens evenly. Therefore, shrinking a synthetic knit sweater and putting it back into shape is not always possible. You can try machine washing at 40°C/104°F and a synthetic/delicate drying program, but most likely the result will be disappointing. Higher temperatures may be more effective, but you also run a greater risk of irreparably warping your sweater.

how to shrink a sweater made from wool

Also read: How to Fold Sweaters to Save Space: Konmarie Method Is Here!

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