5 Home Remedies to Unshrink Clothes

15 January, 2020
To avoid shrinking your clothes, but it's important that you check the labels on your clothes to see how you should wash them.

Did you just accidentally shrink your clothes? It’s easy to damage knits if you don’t wash them properly. As a consequence, they might come out shrunken or misshapen.

The problem is that most people ignore the washing instructions that come on clothing labels and almost always put all their clothes on a normal wash cycle without thinking about the consequences.

If you’ve ever shrunk your clothes, you’ve probably tried to find a solution to get them back to their normal size. While there are many tricks that supposedly do just that, it’s technically impossible to “unshrink” your clothing.

The most they can do is relax the fibers a little bit so that you can stretch them back out again. There are quite a few methods you can try at home, so today we’ll share with you some of the most popular.

1. Hair conditioner to unshrink clothes

Someone squeezing the water out of a piece of clothing

Hair conditioner is a good solution to unshrink clothes made out of wool. This remedy treats clothes in a similar way than normal fabric softener, but can also help get your clothes back to their original size.


  • ¼ a cup of hair conditioner (62 ml)
  • ¼ a cup of white vinegar (62 ml, optional)
  • Warm water (as much as you need)


  • Pour the hair conditioner into a bucket of warm water and soak the piece of clothing in it for 20 minutes.
  • After this, stretch the item of clothing out with your hands until it recovers its original size.
  • Let it dry without wringing it out and wait until it dries completely.
  • If the garment is a sweater, we recommend adding white vinegar to the mixture for better results.

Also read:

Use Aspirin to Whiten Clothes and Remove Stains

2. Fabric softener

Although the chemical compounds contained in fabric softener aren’t recommended for daily use, applying fabric softener to shrunken clothes can help revert them to their normal size.


  • 1 cup of fabric softener (250 ml)
  • 4 cups of water (1 liter)


  • Pour the fabric softener in the warm water and then soak the shrunken item of clothing in this mixture.
  • Leave it to soak for 24 hours and then rinse it.
  • Leave the piece of clothing in the sun without wringing it out and wait for it to dry to see if it has returned to its original size.

3. Baking soda and vinegar

A bottle of vinegar and baking soda to unshrink clothes

Baking soda and white vinegar have multiple uses in everyday household cleaning.

People say that they act as a natural fabric softener and can protect clothes and make sure they stay the same size.


  • 2 tablespoons of baking soda (20 g)
  • 2 liters of hot water
  • 1 cup of white vinegar (250 ml)


  • Pour the baking soda in a liter of hot water and let it dissolve. After this, dip the piece of clothing you want to unshrink in the mixture.
  • Stretch the garment out gently and let it soak for an hour.
  • After this, combine the white vinegar with the other liter of water and use it as a rinse.

4. Baby shampoo

Baby shampoo is a good alternative for pants and clothes with thicker fabrics.

We recommend combining it with a little bit of hair conditioner in order to get better results.


  • ¼ a cup of baby shampoo (62 ml)
  • 3 tablespoons of hair conditioner (30 g)
  • Hot water (the necessary amount)


  • Fill a quarter of a bucket with warm water and then add the baby shampoo and natural conditioner to it.
  • Soak the clothing for 12 hours and then carefully stretch them out.
  • If you’re not sure about what size they should be, grab a pair of pants that fit you and use them as a comparison.
  • Squeeze out the excess liquid from the piece of clothing and then let it dry.
  • If your pants are too stiff, use an iron on the steam setting to soften them.

5. White vinegar and hair cream

Someone washing clothes with white vinegar

White vinegar is a classic popular alternative to chemical fabric softener. Furthermore, it cleans stains, removes dirt and leaves a cool sensation.

To unshrink some types of clothes, you can combine white vinegar with a bit of hair cream.


  • ½ a cup of white vinegar (125 ml)
  • ¼ a cup of hair cream(62 ml)
  • Hot water (the necessary amount)


  • Dissolve the two ingredients in a bucket of hot water and soak the garments.
  • Wait half an hour for the products to take effect.
  • After this, stretch the items of clothing out little by little with your hands.
  • Leave them to soak again for an hour and wash them like you normally would.

Bear in mind that the effectiveness of these home remedies may vary depending on the type of garment and fabric. For instance, sometimes it’s impossible to unshrink clothes when the fabric changes texture completely.

To avoid this, you should check the clothing labels and read how you should wash the item of clothing.

  • Dragani R. How To: Unshrink Clothes. (n.d.) Bob Vila – Home Improvement.
    Available in https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-unshrink-clothes/
  • Laundry hack: How to un-shrink clothes using baby shampoo. (n.d.). HerFamily.ie. Available in https://www.herfamily.ie/parenthood/the-genius-way-to-unshrink-clothes-using-baby-shampoo-219080
  • Honey, I Shrunk The Clothes! – A guide to unshrink anything. (2017). Washlava. Available in https://washlava.com/how-to_unshrink_clothes/