Garment and Laundry

A TikTok Hack Can Restore Machine-Shrunk Clothes to Their Old Size

  • Some fabrics like cotton, wool, or linen can shrink if you wash them at too high a temperature.
  • This can also happen in your dryer.
  • If your favorite tee has shrunk in the wash, you don’t need much to restore it to its original size.

It has happened to us all — you take out an item of clothing from your washing machine only to find it’s shrunk.

You now have a child-size sweater and your shirt looks like a crop-top. 

This phenomenon occurs when you exceed a garment’s recommended washing temperature. It can also happen when you run an item through the dryer. 

When clothes are washed, they absorb a lot of water and swell up, as explained by ZME Science. Subsequently, under the heat of the dryer, they dry and shrink to their normal size.

However, as they continue to dry, the fibers they’re comprised of begin to coil up, causing the garment to become smaller than it was.

Fabrics like wool, linen, or cotton are especially sensitive to this phenomenon.

There is, however, a way of reversing shrinkage to your favorite items of clothing and to restore them to their original size.

All you need is a bowl, a couple of towels, and some hair conditioner — and perhaps a little more time and effort than you’d usually put into your standard laundry routine.

How to return your shrunken clothes to their normal size 

The TikTok user Armen Adamjan explains, the first thing you need to do is mix together some warm water and conditioner, soap, or shampoo in a bowl. 

Adamjan recommends using a cup of soap but Life Hacker instead suggests half a cup.

You can then put the clothes in the solution and leave it to soak for around 30 minutes.

wool blanket

Wool items are particularly susceptible to shrinkage.

Getty Images


The effect of the water will cause the fibers to begin to start expanding again.

After then, you can remove your clothing but don’t dry it completely; gently release excess water and spread it out on a dry towel. 

Roll the towel so the clothing is facing inward, pressing the rolled-up towel to remove more water.

After this, the clothing should be damp but not soggy.

At this stage, you can put it on another dry towel and stretch the garment out until it recovers its original shape, then leaving it to air dry.