We’ve all had that awful feeling of reaching for one of our favorite clothing items only to realize it shrunk in the dryer and no longer fits. Ugh, it's the worst. But before tossing your beloved item into the donation pile, there’s an easy solution to stretching it back out again.
The method works best on looser fabrics, like cotton, jersey, and even denim. All you need is a bucket and some baby shampoo or regular conditioner. These products help with the stretching process in the same way they work on gently smoothing out our hair.
Fill up a bucket or tub — which you can find super cheap at dollar stores or online ($2.49, Amazon) — with lukewarm water and about a cup of the hair product. Submerge the clothing item completely and allow it to soak for at least half an hour — you want to give it plenty of time to absorb the mixture.
When you take it out of the water, be sure not to wring or rinse it out. The product needs to keep working its magic on the fibers of the fabric. Instead, let it drip for a bit before laying it out flat on a towel, then rolling it up into it, and letting it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. It should still be pretty damp when you unroll it, but not sopping.
Now it’s time to stretch the fabric out — very gently. Simply pull on small areas of the fabric to loosen it up, but not too hard as it might make it fit even worse than the shrinking did. Take your time and be patient as you work on getting it back to its original size. When it looks sufficiently stretched out, lay it out flat again on another towel and weigh it down with something heavy, like books, to make sure it doesn’t shrink back up.
You can put a fan in front of it or wait for it to air dry, but don’t pop it in the dryer or use a hair dryer to try and speed things up. Trust us, your back to perfectly fitting clothing item will be worth the wait!
We write about products we think our readers will like. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the supplier.