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How to Un-Shrink Clothes

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I'm the oldest of 14 kids and, needless to say, I know how to do laundry!

Unfortunately, my husband, an only child, does not.

One day, I bought the most adorable pair of "comfy" pants I had ever seen. After I washed them, I left. While I can't be mad (it's the thought that counts!) my husband put my new pants into the dryer without a second thought. When I went to finish the laundry, I saw my pants inside. Call it laundry intuition if you will, but I knew my comfy pants were comfy no more. I tried them on in disbelief, but, alas, they were five inches too short. If I couldn't save these pants, there was only one person that could: My mom. I called her to see what I could do to salvage them, and lucky for me, she pulled through.

How to un-shrink clothes

Gather these supplies:

  • Lukewarm water
  • 1 cap full of baby shampoo or conditioner
  • 1 towel
  • 2 clothes pins
  • 1 clothes hanger


  • Fill the sink with the lukewarm water and place clothes inside
  • Add 1 capful of shampoo/conditioner
  • Let the clothing soak up the water mixture
  • While the clothing is soaking, lay out one beach towel on a flat surface
  • Pick up the garment and carefully squeeze the water out (don't rinse)
  • Lay it out flat on the towel
  • Starting from the bottom, roll the towel and garment up like a burrito
  • Let the towel soak up the moisture for about 10 minutes (it should be damp, not wet)
  • Unroll your clothing from the first towel
  • Add your clothes pins in the direction you want the clothing to stretch (I was stretching pants, so I put the clothes pins on the bottom of the legs)
  • Attach the item with the clothes pins to a hanger and air dry (I hung my pants upside down)

After your clothes dry, you can wear them like you normally would! Just be sure that the next time, you don’t dry them in the dryer!

I know this might sound like a lot of work, but believe me, if you've thrown out half as many clothes as my family has due to shrinking, it's worth it! I know the money that I save from not replacing clothes is almost enough to pay for laundry lessons for my husband…almost.

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