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A How-To Guide to Unshrinking Your Clothes

As explained in our previous blog, many a time, exactly how you go about unshrinking your clothes depends greatly on the material it’s made up of. It’s important to look at the garment’s care labels to find out whether the fabric is cotton, wool, polyester or perhaps a blend of different fabrics. In the latter case, for instance, 80% one material, 20% another, the best way to tackle it is by washing the item as though it’s made completely from the 80% material.

How to stretch out a cotton shirt

If your favourite cotton shirt shrunk, we have some good news for you: it’s actually very easy to manipulate this back into shape in only a few steps.

Fill your sink with room lukewarm water, and add a couple of tablespoons of hair conditioner or baby shampoo. Soak the item in the water for about 30 minutes, working it into the fabric. Drain the water and wring it out of your shirt without rinsing. Try to get it as dry as possible.

Lay your article of clothing out flat on a towel and roll it up, removing as much excess water as possible. You want it to be still damp, but almost dry. Unroll the towel and lay your garment flat. Gently stretch out your clothing and pin down the edges with heavy objects. Leave it to air dry, either flat or hung up. Drying should return your clothing to its regular size.

How to unshrink jeans

In general, denim resists shrinking, but certain blends might still shrink in the wrong conditions. You can use the above instructions to unshrink your jeans. Alternatively, you can use this method:

If you can still wear your jeans, fill your bathtub with warm water. Funny as this might be: put the jeans on and fasten them – if possible. Sit in the bath for a little while until the fabric is sufficiently soaked. Fasten them while in the bathtub, if you can.

Drain the tub and squeeze as much water out of the jeans as possible. Then wear the damp jeans for about an hour, moving, lunging and squatting to stretch out the denim. After an hour, take the jeans off and hang to dry, letting gravity stretch them further.

Note: if you’re unable to fasten them at any time during the stretching process, they may not be able to return to their former size.

How to unshrink animal fibres

This method is similar to cotton but with different materials. Fill your sink with lukewarm water but add vinegar (1-2 tablespoons per quart of water). Soak your garment in the water, working it into the fabric, stretching it while soaked. Squeeze as much liquid out of the fabric as possible, but don’t rinse.

Instead of rolling the garment in towels, use them to stuff it inside until it’s close to original size. Make sure the silhouette is as smooth as possible. With the towels inside, shake and stretch the garment as much as possible. Hang to dry.

How to unshrink synthetic fibres

Now onto synthetic fibres, like polyester. Again, the steps to un-shrinking these are similar to the process of un-shrinking cotton. Add 1 tablespoon of shampoo/conditioner (per one quart of water) in your sink/bowl with lukewarm water.

Synthetic fibres only need 15-20 minutes of soaking. Due to the sensitivity of the material, make sure you don’t wring dry. While it’s still wet, begin the (gentle) stretching process. If you’re finding that the material’s still too stiff, use steam (i.e. a steamer, or the steam from an iron) to help soften and relax the fibres. Again, use heavy objects to weigh down the garment while it’s air drying.

To avoid shrinking your clothes, the best way is to simply take good care of them and read the care labels to know their necessary care. Better yet, why not book your next laundry session with Portughes Dry Cleaning?

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