How to Shrink Wool Socks

by Carole Ellis ; Updated September 28, 2017

Wool socks are great for cold days and winter nights. However, wool socks that are too big can be incredibly uncomfortable as they are prone to bunching and can prevent your shoes from fitting properly. Wool socks are fairly expensive, though, so if you are putting up with wool socks that are too big because you do not want to buy new pairs, you might want to give shrinking them a try. Follow these steps.

Step 1

Wash the wool socks in hot water. Hot water shrinks wool dramatically. Wash your wool socks on hot in the washing machine. You can use the gentle or permanent press cycle to keep the socks from losing their shape.

Step 2

Let the socks dry on a flat surface. You should not yet throw them in the dryer. Wool can take some time to dry, so give the socks a few hours to dry. They should still be damp after about two hours.

Step 3

Try the socks on. If the socks are too small now, then you may need to stretch them onto your feet wear them until they dry the rest of the way. Then they will be adapted perfectly to your feet once dry. If the socks are still too big, then move on to the next step.

Step 4

Throw the socks in the dryer. If the socks shrank sufficiently in the hot water, then you can skip this step. However, the dryer will shrink them even more, making them a snugger fit.

Tips

  • Check the manufacturer's instructions on your wool socks before you start trying to shrink them. Some wools, like "SmartWool" will not shrink.

Warnings

  • Once you have shrunk your wool socks to the desired size, do not continue to wash them in hot water or dry them. You will continue to shrink them if you do so.