Can You Unshrink Clothes?

A person pulls a shirt from a laundry basket.

Are your clothes shrinking in the wash? Since that shirt fit last week, it’s safe to say the heat used in the washer or dryer probably shriveled your garment a bit. So, now what?

Before you throw that shirt in the donation bin, reach for your hair conditioner—because that may be the miracle product needed to unshrink your clothes in a pinch.

To unshrink your clothes using a hair conditioner, fill your kitchen or bathroom sink with warm water. Then, mix a few tablespoons of hair conditioner into it. After giving the water time to settle, add the garment, and let it sit for 30 minutes.

Drain the water, pull out the garment, ring out any water, and place it on a towel on the counter.

This is the important part: gently pull the corners of the garment — the middle section, the sleeves, and the ends, until you are satisfied with the shape. Let it dry on a flat surface to prevent lumps and bumps from forming.

Why does hair conditioner work to unshrink clothes? Because it lubricates and relaxes the fibers, making them soft and easier to pull back into place. But it’s important to note that this hack works best for slightly shrunken clothing, not ones that are now two sizes smaller.

Want to prevent shrinking moving forward? Check out these expert laundry tips.

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