If you’ve just pulled out your best knit and it looks a little smaller than you remember (AKA it’s shrunk in the wash), don’t stress, cause we’re here to help restore your sweater back to its former glory.
Nope, it’s not a myth, you really can reverse the old shrunken jersey in the wash situation, here’s our easy guide on how to unshrink a wool jersey, along with a few handy wardrobe pro tips to prevent it happening again.
Why does wool shrink?
The mother of all questions: Why does wool actually shrink while other fabrics come out in pristine original condition after a wash? Well, according to the National Cleaners Association, wool contains an outer layer of scales. ‘Heat, moisture and mechanical action cause the wool fibre to shrink and the edges of the scales to interlock, preventing the fibre from returning to its original position.’ In other words, when you pop it in the wash or dryer it causes the fibre of the wool to shrink in a way that means the fibre won’t let it expand out again.
How to un-shrink wool:
Popped your fave wool jersey in the wash by mistake? Fear not, because you can return your favourite knit pieces back to their original condition, with just five easy steps, courtesy of HowCast:
Fill your sink with lukewarm water and 1/3 cup of hair conditioner.
Add the jersey and let it soak for about 10 minutes.
Let the water drain and when the sink is empty, press the jersey against the sides of the sink to rinse the jersey out, but do not wring it.
Lay the jersey flat on an absorbent towel and lay another towel on top and press gently to dry the jersey.
Stretch the jersey back into its original shape.
Layout on an airer to dry naturally.
Alternatively, watch this step-by-step video for a more visual demonstration:
How to prevent your knitwear from shrinking:
Whether it’s a mohair jumper, cashmere cardigan or your favourite wool dress, there’s really only one easy rule to follow when it comes to washing knitwear: don’t put it in the washing machine or the dryer!
The safest bet is to hand wash each piece separately in cold water with sunlight soap or soap flakes. If using flakes, make sure to dissolve the flakes in hot water first. Then, soak the jersey in cool room temperature water, rinse three times under cold water and make sure to get all the soap suds out. Next, very gently squeeze all of the water out of the jersey without wringing it out and lie the jumper flat on a towel (preferably in the sun) to dry. This process works like a charm every time and your jersey’s shape will stay intact.
So there you have it, folks, the dos and don’t of washing knitwear and how to successfully un-shrink your cosiest woolies.
This originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com