How to Fix a Sweater Shrunk by the Dryer

by Gracie Sprouse ; Updated September 28, 2017

If your favorite sweater was accidentally put in the dryer and now it’s even too small for the dog, it can be fixed. Fixing it may even shape it better than it was before it was laundered. The dryer removed all the water and shrunk the threads. Put back the water and stretch the threads back to their normal size.

Place the sweater in the washing machine. Set the machine for a short cycle in warm water with a small amount of baby shampoo. Allow the sweater to run through the complete wash and rinse cycle. This can also be done by hand by soaking the sweater in the sink, but it will be harder to wring out.

Lay a large towel out on a table or other work surface large enough to accommodate the full size sweater

Flatten the sweater out on the towel. Pull and stretch the sweater holding the shoulder seams and the bottom until it looks the normal size.

Pull and stretch the sleeves and collar, holding both sides simultaneously, until they are the correct size.

Roll up the towel with the sweater inside and allow it to sit for two to three hours so the towel will absorb the water.

Unroll the sweater and roll it again in a clean dry towel for another hour. Unroll the towel and allow the sweater to dry completely while it lies on the towel. Check it occasionally to make sure it is staying stretched.


  • In the future when washing a sweater that may shrink, trace the outline on a large sheet of blank paper.

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About the Author

Gracie Sprouse has been writing professionally since 1976. Her areas of expertise are in antiques, crafts, real estate, income taxes and small businesses. Her education consists of an Associate of Applied Science with a business and accounting major from Piedmont Virginia Community College.