Cotton and wool are the best materials used by companies to make sweaters. These two materials keep you comfortable in the winter months. Sweaters of different designs, colors, and fabric material give a unique and modern touch to your wardrobe. The human body changes from time to time.

For example, you bought a large size sweater last year but within one year, you have lost weight. Now, you need to shrink your sweater. Knowing the shrinking methods allows you to avoid frustrating situations. It also saves you money since you don’t have to buy a new sweater. We will give different methods to shrink different types of sweaters. Read on!

How to shrink a sweater?

The purpose of shrinking your sweater is to make it fit for winter use. The shrinking method you use depends on the type of fabric of the sweater. For instance, the most popular fabric is cotton, which requires you to apply specific treatment to make it according to your size. If you take care of this fabric, it will remain comfortable.

How to shrink cotton sweaters?

In this section, we will tell you how to shrink sweaters made of cotton. Like angora and wool, cotton is also a natural fiber. However, it responds differently to heat and water than other types of fabrics.

Wash and dry the cotton sweater

Suppose you have bought a new sweater, which is unwashed cotton. You can expose it to heat or wash it in the dry cycle to shrink the sweater down according to your size. Repeated or uncontrolled washing in warm water can lead to too much shrinkage.

However, when you carefully use the washer and dryer, it allows you to shrink the sweater accurately and make it wearable. It is important to wash the new cotton sweater inside-out using the washing machine.

Don’t forget to set the machine on the hot water cycle. You can use a detergent. We recommend using bleach-free detergent. This is important when it comes to keeping the colors of the sweater bright. Otherwise, the bleach will make it look dull and old.

Boil Cotton Sweaters

  • Another method to shrink your cotton sweater is by boiling it. The method involves heating the sweater in the same manner as you used the washing machine. However, this method is a bit difficult. Boiling water, in general, restores the cotton fibers and make them stretchable. The boiling-water method is a great way to shrink your sweater and make it clean from stains.
  • To do this, first, you need a large metal pot. Put some cold water in it. Then place the pot on the stovetop. Leave it there for some time and you will see that the water is boiling. Next, put your sweater in the large pot that contains the boiling water. Let the sweater soak the water for a few minutes.
  • Once done, you need to remove the sweater carefully with the tongs. Make sure you have all the protective gear on to avoid burning.
  • After taking out the sweater, place it in the dryer or allow it to get dry in the natural sunlight. If you are using a dryer, make sure you set the dryer on high heat.

Use Iron to shrink your sweater

This method seems interesting. Although using the boiling-water method along with the dryer is a great way to shrink your shirt, sometimes, you want a perfect fit. You can do this by using the iron. Let us tell you how you can shape your sweater using the iron method.

Steam iron is not only convenient but also a portable application to shrink your sweater. You can use it to manage the drying process. Also, if you don’t have an iron available, you can use the hairdryer to get the job done.

Although this is a safe method, we recommend you wear long pants, gloves, and a long-sleeved shirt. Next, drop your sweater in the boiling water and leave it there for a few minutes. Use tongs to remove the sweater from the boiling water container. Now, wring the sweater over the sink so that you remove all the excess water.

After doing this, you need to turn “on” the iron and set it on high heat. Make sure you turn “OFF” the steam. The next step is to place the sweater on the ironing board. You can use any flat surface. Use pillowcases or clean towels to prevent the sweater to have direct contact with your iron. Start ironing your sweater and continue until it is dry.

How to Shrink Wool sweater?

In this section, we will tell you the method that you can use to shrink your wool sweater. We will tell you the best methods that you can use to simply shrink your wool sweater and make it fit according to your size. Continue reading!

Hot Wash

  • The first method to shrink a wool sweater is “hot wash.” Sheep wool or any other similar fabric reacts to heat. Compared to cotton, the wool has a different response to the heating application.
  • Wool does not require a lot of heat for shrinkage. You can quickly burst it in the hot water cycle using your washing machine. Next, dry the wool sweater in a dryer that runs on a low-heat cycle. This allows you to control the process of shrinking.
  • Precautions are important. Using a washing machine is the best method to shrink your sweater and other types of clothing. So, first, you need to place the sweater in the pillowcase. This allows you to keep it from snagging.
  • The shrinkage of a wool sweater requires you to run a 10 minutes hot-water cycle. Once done, take out your sweater and put in in your dryer for about 20 minutes. Make sure the dryer is set on a low-heat cycle.
  • Check your sweater every few minutes and when it is according to your size, take it out from the dryer and air dry it. Otherwise, the dryer can cause too much shrinkage.

Reshape Wet Wool

The best thing about wool fabric is that you can easily manipulate it, especially when wool is wet. So much so, we wool can stretch and shrink – however, this depends on the type of treatment you apply.

So, you can use this characteristic of the amazing wool fabric and take advantage of it. For example, you can turn the shapeless yarn into a good fashion statement. To restore the sweater, it is important that you remain patient because there is no room for mistakes.

The method is simple and easy. You just need to get the sweater wet and reshape it. Fill your sink with cold water. Then, add a few drops of detergent. Next, soak your wool sweater for 10 minutes and then rinse it in cold water.

Avoid wringing the sweater because it can lead to uneven shrinkage. On the other hand, you can lay the wet wool sweater flat on the towel and then roll it to expel extra water. Again, you need to put protective gloves and work gently the wool to push the fabric together in the area, which you want to shrink. After completing this step, you need to let your wool sweater dry on a towel.

Another important thing you need to remember is that you can unshrink your wool sweater. This, in particular, comes in handy when there is too much shrinkage. You can’t lose your favorite wool sweater. Moreover, if the fibers are tightly woven together, then you can’t do anything about it. You can either throw your sweater in a trash bin or donate it.


Wrapping up, the most popular sweater materials are cotton and wool. Both are stylish and warmer when it comes to fashion in winter and protecting yourself from cold respectively. When you have an effective method for how to shrink your sweater, you will have peace of mind.

In this article, we have shown you effective methods to shrink a cotton and wool sweater and resize them according to your size. Although there are various methods we have mentioned the best ones because to get the best is key.

We have given you effective methods to shrink both cotton and wool sweaters. These methods are safe but still, we recommend you wear protective gear. It is because nothing is more important than your health and safety.

How do you make a sweater smaller?

Shrinking a Sweater in a Washer and Dryer. Wash your sweater on a hot cycle. This can work on wool, cashmere, angora, and mohair sweaters. You can also wash the sweater in hot water, but the cycle should be much shorter than a full cycle.

How do you shrink clothes that are too big?

How do you slightly shrink a wool sweater?

To machine-shrink wool:
  1. Dampen the item. Make sure it’s equally damp all over if you want it to shrink evenly.
  2. Use a tumble dryer. Put it in the tumble dryer and set the heat to medium.
  3. Keep your eyes on it. Every four or five minutes, take a look to see how it’s doing.
  4. Act quickly.

How do you fix a sweater that is too big?

How do you make an oversized sweater smaller?

Shrink the sweater in the dryer. To do this, you need to disregard the care instructions on the tag. Wash the sweater under high heat and then dry it under high heat. If the sweater is made of cotton or wool, it is guaranteed to shrink.

How do you shrink a stretched out sweater?

For more shrinking, completely soak the sweater prior to drying. For less shrinking, just gently mist the sweater using a spray bottle until its damp. Place the sweater in a dryer. If you want to shrink a whole sweater, you can use a machine dryer.

How do you shrink a stretched cotton sweater?

Using hot water will help shrink the cuff. Dampen the loose cuffs of your wool or cotton sweater with some hot water and then re-shape the cuff as needed. Dry the areas with a hair dryer—both the hot water and the dryer’s heat will cause shrinkage.

How do you shrink a lambswool sweater?

Wool or wool blends: Wash on high heat, ideally on a short cycle. Then, put in the dryer on low heat. Repeat as needed to achieve the desired size [source: The Idle Man]. You can also spot-shrink sweater cuffs that have stretched out of shape.

Can you shrink acrylic sweater?

Compared to any other sweater material, trying to shrink an acrylic sweater will be very challenging. This is because an acrylic sweater won’t shrink much. It is recommended to wash it in hot water for a long time either using a washing machine or by hand washing. Then, put it in the dryer on a very hot cycle.

Will a 100 acrylic sweater shrink?

Do Acrylic Sweaters Shrink? Yes, they can as acrylic is acrylic no matter what you do with it. But the good news is that they will not shrink when you wear it, get it wet or wash it in cool to warm water in your washer. Then the sweater may be chemically treated to resist shrinking.

How do you shrink an acrylic wool sweater?

If you need a sweater to shrink a lot, then throw it in the washing machine under a hot, hot water cycle. When it’s done, take it out and shape it to the size you want. It should dry to the size you need. If you only need the sweater to shrink a little, then spray it down with a water bottle and put it in the dryer.

How do you wash a 100% acrylic sweater?

Wash on a gentle cycle with warm or cool water. You can also hand-wash your acrylic clothing, if desired. Lay Flat to Dry—Though acrylic is relatively durable and resistant to abrasion, it may lose its shape or stretch if placed in the dryer. It could also be left with permanent wrinkles if not properly dried.

Can you machine wash 100 acrylic sweater?

Most acrylic clothes can be machinewashed. However, some labels may recommend dry cleaning because the trim or inner structure may not be washable. Delicate items and sweaters should be hand-washed and dried flat to prevent stretching.

Do acrylic sweaters last?

Acrylic knits do not wear well. They usually lose their shape quickly, pill, have an unattractive, artificial gleam, and are of poor quality. It’s best to go with natural fibers, e.g., wool, cashmere, cotton, etc. for the best wear and value.

Does acrylic shrink when washed?

Does acrylic shrink? The good news is that, unlike wool, acrylic maintains its shape and will not shrink.

How do you stretch an acrylic sweater?

The key is to start conservatively, so that there is no risk of overstretching or deforming them. Place the sweater on a table, spray it on both sides with water until moist, then stretch it with your hand and hold for a minute or two before releasing.

Does acrylic wash out of clothes?

You can wash acrylic paint off your clothes and table if you get to it right away-while it is still wet. Once it has dried, not so much. If you are painting clothing like a t-shirt, make sure you place a sheet of plastic or cardboard between the layers of fabric so the paint doesn’t bleed through.

How can you tell if something is wool or acrylic?

Attempt to light the end of the yarn on fire. If it doesn’t catch easily, smells like burning hair, and leaves a charred end, it is wool. If it smells like burning plastic and leaves a melted glob at the end, it is acrylic.