This Simple Hack Will Help You Unshrink Your Favorite Clothes

Is there anything more frustrating than accidentally shrinking your favorite clothes? While the early 2000s may have seen a small uptick in undersized tees, overall, no one wants to put on an item and feel like they've outgrown it overnight. For some people, it used to be that once clothing shrank in the wash, those garments were destined for the giveaway pile.

Of course, hang drying is still always an option, but maybe you misread the laundry codes on the tag. According to The Laundry Basket, wool, cotton, and linen all have a tendency to shrink in the washer (or dry cycle), which means many of your pieces could be at risk. Maybe the design or make wasn't as solid as it seemed and your favorite top is now easily confused for a child's size. Or, something got tangled up and thrown in the washer by mistake.

Either way, don't toss anything just yet. Instead, try this savvy hack that will revive these treasured pieces and ensure you can wear them again and again.

Try conditioner

To salvage your clothes, one of the most popular hacks involves using conditioner. That's right — hair conditioner. CNET recommends popping a tablespoon of this creamy substance into warm water. To get started, fill your kitchen or bathroom sink before adding in the conditioner. Give it a few minutes to settle before including any garments. Next, place a piece of clothing in the mixture and leave it to soak for half an hour.

From there, let all the water drain before attempting to ring out your clothes. This will give the garment even more time to absorb the conditioner. Thoroughly squeeze out any water, then place the item on a towel (preferably on a flat surface). Once it's free of excess moisture, gently stretch every inch of the fabric in different directions. 

Take your time to pull corners, middle sections, and sleeves or ends, focusing on each portion for a few seconds. Once you're satisfied, lay the clothing flat on a towel to allow it to dry properly. If the piece originally shrank in the dryer and not due to the washing machine, it can safely be washed again and air-dried after wear. Otherwise, avoid wash cycles that might cause the fibers to shrink again.

Why conditioner works

The reason conditioner helps to unshrink clothes is because it can lubricate and relax the fibers, according to HuffPost. Conditioner has long been a staple of hair care because the ingredients revive dry or brittle strands. The same idea can be applied to natural fibers, like cotton, linen, and wool, allowing any pieces that have shrunk to stretch back out.

Once you've completed this step, drying each piece on a flat surface is the best way to allow the moisture to dissipate from the fibers. Instead of hang-drying the clothes you used in this experiment, keeping them flat will help to avoid bumps or lumps from forming, which could show up if the clothing has uneven weight pulling in some areas and not others.

You can also repeat this hack, as needed, to try and get any clothing or outfits back to the exact fit you're seeking.