How to unshrink a wool sweater

posted by Jason Kottke Jan 27, 2000

Like an idiot, I threw my brand new wool sweater in the wash and then in the dryer, shrinking it down about three sizes, rendering it unwearable. When I asked my roommate if there was a way to unshrink a wool sweater, he started laughing even before I could finish my question. Well my friends, I have mastered the black art of wool unshrinking and am here to share it with you.

When wool gets wet and warm, the fibers in the wool lock themselves together and don't want to let go, resulting in shrinkage (you can get wool warm or wet, but not both). To unshrink the wool, soak the garment in warm water with a mild soap for about 10 minutes. This unlocks the fibers in the wool. Then lay the garment out on some towels in a cool place. Stretch the garment out to its original dimensions. The stretching pulls the unlocked wool fibers away from each other. Allow it to dry. The absence of heat from the drying process allows the wool fibers to set in place without locking together and shrinking the garment again.

Long story short: I have a brand new, fully functional sweater again. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Brian.