How to Restore a Shrunken Sweater

by Zora Hughes ; Updated September 28, 2017

Try to reshape your favorite sweater before giving it away.

Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

It's happened to the best of us: You're folding your laundry and realize with horror that your favorite sweater is now at least two sizes too small for you. The dreaded shrunken sweater dilemma is a common laundering mishap. Instead of giving it to your little sister, you may be able to save your sweater. By taking advantage of the gentle ingredients in simple baby shampoo, you can stretch your sweater back to its original shape.

Fill a bucket with warm water. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of baby shampoo to the water and mix. The mixture will help relax the fibers of the sweater.

Add your shrunken sweater on top of the water, allowing it to sink on its own and soak in the water for 15 to 30 minutes.

Remove the sweater from the water and place in a large bowl, but don't rinse it out. Pour out the soapy water and fill the bucket with plain warm water.

Add the sweater and wait for it to sink into the water again. Remove the rinsed sweater and place it on a clean, fluffy towel. Roll the towel up with the sweater to wring out the water, then unroll.

Place the sweater on a large corkboard and stretch it back to its original shape, using push pins to hold it in place. Leave the sweater on the corkboard until fully dry, checking on the reshaping every now and then.


  • Regular hair conditioner can be used if you don't have baby shampoo.

Photo Credits

  • Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.