How to Shrink a Knit Sweater the Right Way

If you’ve ever accidentally shrunk a knit sweater in the wash, you know how frustrating it can be. Follow these simple tips and you’ll never have to deal with that problem again!

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As the weather gets colder, we start to bring out our warmer clothes from storage. But sometimes, our favorite knit sweaters end up being too big after being stored away all season. Or, we might accidentally shrink a sweater in the wash.

Here are some tips on how to shrink a knit sweater the right way, so you can enjoy wearing your favorite sweaters all season long!

What you’ll need

If your knit sweater is too big, don’t despair — it’s easy to shrink it down to the right size. All you need is a sink, some shampoo, and a towel.

First, fill your sink with lukewarm water. Add a dash of shampoo and swish the water around to create suds.

Next, carefully place your sweater in the soapy water. Use your hands to gently work the material around, making sure that every part of the sweater is saturated.

Let the sweater soak for about five minutes, then drain the sink and rinse the sweater thoroughly with lukewarm water.

Finally, wrap the sweater in a clean towel and squeeze out any excess water. Place the damp sweater on a hanger and allow it to air dry completely. Once it’s dry, try it on — it should have shrunk down to a more flattering fit!

Preparing your sweater

Before you start, make sure your sweater is clean and free of any dirt or debris. This will help the shrinking process go more smoothly and ensure that your sweater comes out looking its best.

Next, wet your sweater in cool water. You can do this by submerging it in a sink or bowl, or by running it under the faucet. Once your sweater is wet, gently wring it out so that it’s damp but not dripping wet.

Shrinking your sweater

Shrinking your sweater is a great way to give new life to an old piece of clothing, or to simply make a sweater fit better. There are a few things you should keep in mind when shrinking your sweater, however, in order to ensure that you don’t damage the garment.

First, you’ll want to make sure that your sweater is made of 100% wool. wool is the only fabric that will shrink when exposed to hot water. Synthetic fabrics such as polyester or nylon will not shrink, and may even stretch if exposed to hot water.

Next, you’ll need to soak your sweater in hot water. You can do this in a sink or bathtub, making sure that the entire sweater is submerged. Allow the sweater to soak for at least 10 minutes, or longer if it is a large garment.

After the soaking time is up, remove your sweater from the water and gently wring it out. Do not twist or wring the garment too harshly, as this can damage the fabric. Instead, gently squeeze out any excess water.

Next, place your garment on a flat surface such as a towel or drying rack. Use your hands to gently stretch and reshape the wet fabric into its original form. Once you have reshaped the sweater, allow it to air dry completely before wearing.

Drying your sweater

Knitwear is often associated with cold weather, but that doesn’t mean you have to pack away your sweaters come summer. If you find yourself wanting to wear a cozy knit sweater on a hot day, don’t worry — there’s a simple way to shrink a knit sweater so that it will be cooler and more comfortable to wear.

The key to shrinking a knit sweater is to use the right method. Machine washing and drying is the easiest way to shrink a sweater, but it can also damage delicate fibers. If you want to shrink your sweater without damaging it, hand washing is the best way to go.

Here’s how to shrink a knit sweater the right way:

###What you’ll need:
-A sink or basin
– Lukewarm water
-Gentle woolen detergent or baby shampoo
-A towel
-A sharpie or other permanent marker
-A handful of uncooked rice

Finishing touches

After you’ve finished felting your sweater, give it a good rinse in cool water to remove any soap residue. Gently squeeze out the excess water (don’t wring it out) and lay it flat on a towel to dry. Once it’s dry, give it a good shake or two to help restore its shape, then try it on again. If it still needs more shrinkage, repeat the process.

Tips and tricks

If you’ve accidentally shrunk your favorite sweater in the wash, all is not lost. You can often fix the problem with a little bit of knowledge and elbow grease. Here are some tips and tricks for how to shrink a knit sweater the right way.

First, start by soaking your sweater in lukewarm water and a gentle wool detergent. Let it soak for about 15 minutes, then rinse well in cool water.

Next, gently squeeze out the excess water (do not wring or twist), and lay your sweater flat on a clean towel. Roll up the towel with the sweater inside, and gently press to remove more water.

Once your sweater is no longer dripping wet, it’s time to start shrinking it. The best way to do this is by hand, using a method called “wet blocking.” To wet block your sweater, first wet it again with lukewarm water (you can use a spray bottle for this). Then, using sharp scissors, trim away any loose or frayed threads.

Next, pin your sweater onto a blocking board or clean towels, stretching it back into shape as you go. Once it’s pinned in place, leave your sweater to dry thoroughly (this could take several hours or even overnight).

Once it’s dry, give your now-shrunken sweater a quick steam ironing (on the wool setting) to smooth out any remaining wrinkles or creases. And that’s it! With a little bit of care and patience, you can shrink most knit sweaters back to their original size.


Q:How do I know if my sweater is a good candidate for shrinking?
A:It is generally best to only shrink wool or wool blend sweaters. With other fibers, such as cotton or acrylic, you run the risk of damaging the sweater beyond repair. To test if your sweater is made of a fiber that can be shrunk, wet a small concealed area of the sweater and then dry it with an iron set on low heat. If the area shrinks, then your sweater is a good candidate for shrinking.

Q:Can I shrink my sweater in the washing machine?
A:Yes, you can shrink your sweater in the washing machine, but it is generally best to hand wash it to avoid damaging the garment. To Hand shrink your sweater, first fill a sink or basin with very hot water and add a small amount of mild soap. Submerge your sweater in the water and gently agitate it for a few minutes to allow the fibers to relax. Drain the sink and refill it with cool water. Rinse your sweater in the cool water until all of the soap has been removed. Gently squeeze excess water from your sweater and then lay it flat on a towel to dry. Once it is just damp, you can begin stretching it back into shape.

Q:Can I shrink my sweater in the dryer?
A:Yes, you can shrink your sweater in the dryer, but again, it is generally best to hand wash it first to avoid damaging the garment. To hand shrink your sweater, follow the instructions above. Once your sweater is just damp, put it in the dryer on low heat along with a few old towels or jeans. Every 10 minutes or so, remove everything from the dryer and stretch your sweater back into shape. Once it is Dry, remove from heat and allow to cool completely before wearing.

Further reading

If you’re looking for more information on how to shrink a knit sweater, we’ve got you covered. Check out our article on the best way to shrink a knit sweater.


So, there you have it: everything you need to know about how to shrink a knit sweater the right way! We hope this guide was helpful, and that you now feel confident in tackling this task yourself. Remember to always test a small area first, and to never use hot water or harsh chemicals — both of these can damage your sweater irreparably. With a little care and attention, you can keep your knitwear looking its best for years to come.

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