"Honey I shrunk the laundry!" usually isn't a well-received line in the household. Normally we're doing everything we can to avoid shrinking our clothes in the wash, but every so often we come across a pair of pants or a sweater that is two sizes too big. Whether it be for the style or a better fit, shrinking your clothes can be done right at home, but if you know all of the best practices for avoiding clothing shrinkage, you may be lost on how to do this.
Luckily, we've got a few tricks up our sleeves for taking those too big items and shrinking them on purpose.
How to Shrink Your Clothes
- Always look at the fabric of the item first. Since cotton is a natural fiber, it's super easy to shrink. While synthetic fibers like polyester are designed to hold their shape and become more difficult to shrink.
- If you're dealing with cotton, all you need to do is wash the item on the hot water setting. Once it's gone through the wash cycle, dry it on high heat as well. Make sure you check on the garment periodically so that you don't over-shrink it! If the garment is the right size before it is completely dry, take it out of the dryer and hang to air-dry.
- If your garment is a synthetic blend of fabrics, wash the garment on the cold water setting. Don't use hot water in this instance, since high temperature water may damage the seaming. Then place the garment in the dryer to dry on the high heat. Make sure you check on the garment periodically so that you don't over-shrink it!
- When it comes to wool sweaters, try steam heat to effectively and safely shrink the garment. You can use the steam setting on an iron or a traditional steamer and lightly hover over the sweater without touching the fabrics. The steam will penetrate the wool fabric, shrinking it until you've reached your desired size.
- If you want to shrink cashmere or mohair fabrics, you're better off just buying the right size. Hot water temperature will ruin these fabrics in the process making shrinkage impossible.