How to Shrink a Jumper

Written by Marc | 26/10/2017




Whether you’ve bought your jumper a size up, stretched it in the wash or lost a couple of pounds, shrinking a jumper in the wash may be a solution. However, this is not an exact science and definitely needs to be played by ear.

Wool, cotton and polyester can all be shrunk but with slightly different methods.

Most jumpers tend to have a woollen blend which is very responsive to heat and can easily be re-shaped. However, due to how easily it stretches, the task can be a slow and difficult one.

A man in a shrunk jumper stands in front of a yellow door

How To Shrink Knitwear

Firstly, put the jumper in the wash at a high temperature and on a short cycle, then in the dryer at a medium heat. It is recommended you check the size of the jumper every few minutes to make sure it doesn’t shrink too much or get misshapen. This method is best for an extreme change in size.

If you only need a little shrinkage, after washing you can shape the jumper to the size you want, maybe even wear it, and let air dry. Alternatively, just spray it with water and put it in the dryer. The lack of heat in the drying process will minimise the shrinking.

To minimise damage to the fabric, wash in a pillowcase.

A man in knitwear sits in front of a tree

How To Shrink A Cotton Jumper

Cotton is also a common fabric for jumpers and can be shrunk in a similar way to wool. You will need to wash and dry the garment at a high temperature. If it is the first time you are washing the jumper or it is not a pre-shrunk garment, it is important that you check the progress of the shrinking.

When it is at the size you require, carry on drying at a lower temperature.

Polyester, as a synthetic material, is a lot less responsive to heat so will need to be washed and dried at the highest temperature possible. You may also need to repeat the wash and dry process a few times over until your garment becomes the size you require.

You can also try boiling the jumper before drying it if you’re desperate.

It is important that heat is applied in all cases as it is that which pulls the fibres together in the fabric, so you may even end up with a more insulating jumper if done correctly.

Written by Lottie King

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