Shrinking a wool throw or a garment is often a case when too warm temperatures are used while washing them or in the dryer.
How to unshrink a sweater or wool throw?
It is still may be possible to restore the original size of your merino wool throw or a garment. As the possibility to restore the wool throw depends on a variety of factors, it is probable to increase your throw or sweater by as much as a size and a half using this process (can work for other wool knit objects as well, for that matter).
So, what to do? Follow these steps and be gentle with your wool throws, blankets or piece of clothing.
- Fill a bath tub with lukewarm water – there should be enough water to cover the item you wish to unshrink.
- Now a little trick. Take your hair conditioner and add a generous amount of it to the water. If you also want to freshen the wool throw, and some mild detergent. The secret is that the hair conditioner will relax the wool yarns and loosen them, and this will allow you to re-size the blanket or knit item without deteriorating its shape. Agitate the water well with your hands to dissolve and mix the detergent and hair conditioner.
- Bring your merino wool throw or garment, submerge it to the water and gently keep kneading it for some time. Once you’ve worked the conditioner and detergent mixture into the fibers, drain the water from the bath tub.
- Gently press the throw against the bottom and sides of the tub to remove the excess water, then take the item out from the tub.
- Lay the throw flat on a large bath sheet or linen throw (or any large piece of fabric) and place another piece of fabric on top of the throw. Press down on the top fabric and continue to squeeze water out of the throw until both the upper and lower pieces of fabric have absorbed most of the moisture. If necessary, repeat this with dry pieces of cloth.
- Now the important part – lay the wool throw on a flat soft surface (e.g. a rug) and gently pull it back into the desired shape and size. Stretch it very gently in all directions, try make the edges straight and symmetrical. If this is a wool sweater or cardigan you are unshrinking, concentrate your efforts on the sleeves, bottom edges and neckline – or any areas you think have shrunk the most. Allow the item to lay flat for some time and repeat the stretching one or two more times before it dries completely.
To end the procedure, wash the throw in cold water by hand or using a gentle machine cycle on low temperatures to remove the leftovers of hair conditioner. Reshape it again and lay flat to dry before using.