How To Shrink A Sweater

How To Shrink A Sweater?

How To Shrink A Sweater?

Do you have a favorite knit sweater that no longer fits quite right? Or maybe you found a beautiful second-hand sweater but it’s just too big? Nothing beats the feeling of pulling out your favorite sweater for those cold winter months until you find that it’s just a little too big!

Rather than tossing aside your beloved garment and trading it up for a new one, would you believe there is something that can be done about it? Don’t worry – there are ways how to shrink a sweater, so they fit perfectly again!

Yes – with these simple steps you could shrink any of your sweaters quickly and easily. Shrinking a sweater might seem like an intimidating task, but with the right material and know-how, anyone can do it.

In this blog post, we will go over the tips and techniques necessary for doing this successfully at home. Whether you’ve knitted or bought your clothing, these helpful hints will transform any oversized garment into one that’s just perfect for you.

So if you’re ready to learn to shrink a sweater safely without damaging it, keep reading.

How To Shrink A Sweater

What Is A Sweater?

A sweater is a knitted garment made from wool, cotton, or synthetic fibers. It typically covers the upper half of the body and may have long sleeves, a round neckline, or front closures such as buttons or zippers.

Sweaters are often worn over shirts or blouses to keep warm in cooler temperatures. They can also be used for fashion purposes and layered with other clothing items for a more fashionable look. 

Sweaters come in various styles such as cardigans, vests, pullovers, turtlenecks, and crew necks. Each style has its unique look and can be worn with different types of outfits.

No matter what style you choose, a sweater is always a great addition to any wardrobe. Not only do they keep you warm and cozy but they also provide a fashionable way to express yourself.

What Is Shrinking?

Shrinking is the process of making a fabric, garment, or other item smaller or tighter in size. It is commonly used to pre-treat natural fibers such as wool before it goes into production and also after a garment has been made.

Shrinking can be done by either applying heat or using chemicals to reduce the size of the fabric. Excessive shrinking can cause issues with fit and comfort so when laundering items at home it’s important to follow any care instructions carefully to prevent shrinkage.

Clothing that has been shrunken too much may not be able to be returned or exchanged. So it’s important to know what you’re doing when treating your garments for shrinkage. 

Why Is It Important To Know To Shrink A Sweater?

It is important to know how to shrink a sweater to avoid ruining your garment. Sweaters are made of fabrics that can be easily damaged by heat or chemicals. If you want to shrink a sweater, it’s important to ensure that you are not over-shrinking the fabric as this can cause it to become misshapen and possibly tear.

Additionally, knowing how to properly shrink a sweater will help keep its shape intact for years after purchase. When shrinking a sweater at home, take extra care and ensure that the process is done correctly to preserve the garment in its original condition.

Finally, knowing how to shrink sweaters can help you achieve the perfect fit for your body shape. Shrinking garments can be used to tailor clothing to better flatter your figure or make it easier to layer with other items of clothing for a fashionable look.

With all that said, you now know the importance of knowing how to properly shrink a sweater. Now it’s time to try it out for yourself. Experiment with different techniques and methods until you find the one that works best for you.

How To Shrink A Sweater?

In fact, there are a lot of different ways to shrink a sweater people use. Here, we mention some of the most common and effective methods for people to follow when wanting to shrink a sweater.

Method 1: Shrinking a sweater with a washer and dryer

First and foremost, it’s important to know what exactly a washer is and a dryer is.

A washer is a device used to clean and rinse clothes and other materials by agitating them in hot or cold water. A dryer, on the other hand, is an appliance used to remove moisture from items such as clothing.

To shrink a sweater using this method, wash it in warm or hot water with a mild detergent. This is because the agitation in warm or hot water helps to break down the fabric fibers and help them shrink.

After you have washed it, dry your sweater on a low-heat setting or air-dry it.

Method 2: Shrinking a sweater with boiling water

The second method of shrinking a sweater involves boiling water and a pot.

To begin, fill a large pot with enough water to cover the entire sweater. Place the sweater in the pot and turn on medium-high heat.

When the water begins to steam, reduce the heat and simmer for up to 10 minutes until you notice that it has become smaller. Once done, remove from heat and rinse in cold water before drying as usual on a low-temperature setting or air-drying.

Method 3: Shrinking a sweater with an iron

Iron is a small electrical appliance used to press clothes and other fabrics. It consists of a heating element, an insulated handle, and a flat base that glides over the fabric.

To use this method to shrink your sweater, start by laying it flat on an ironing board or any other surface that can withstand heat.

Place a damp cloth over the area you are going to be shrinking and begin pressing with an iron set on low-medium heat.

Move the iron around in circles for about 10 minutes until you notice it has become smaller.

After that, turn off the heat and allow the sweater to cool before wearing or washing as usual.

Method 4: Shrinking a sweater by tailoring it to make it smaller 

The last method for shrinking a sweater is by tailoring it. This involves taking the sweater to a tailor who can make adjustments to the fabric and cut it down in size.

Tailors have all of the necessary tools and experience to do this job correctly without ruining the garment, so it’s always best to go this route if you want your sweater to fit perfectly.

  • To shrink a sweater by tailoring it, the first step is to find a tailor.
  • Then, decide what adjustments you want for the garment and discuss them with the tailor.
  • Finally, have the tailor make the necessary alterations to shrink it to your desired size.

However, if you are confident, you can make a sweater smaller by tailoring by yourself. Because of the delicacy of fabrics, it is best to leave this task to a professional.

Now that you’ve read up on how to shrink a sweater, you’ll be able to preserve any clothes in their original condition for years to come.

Remember these methods when attempting to shrink any type of fabric and always follow the care instructions provided on each item before shrinking or altering its size.

Other Ways To Shrink A Sweater

Aside from using a washer and dryer, boiling water, an iron, or tailoring to make it smaller, there are other ways to shrink sweaters. For example, you can use a hairdryer on the low heat setting or place the garment in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer overnight.

Using a hairdryer:

Using a hairdryer to shrink a sweater is similar to using an iron.

  • Begin by laying the garment flat on a surface and placing a damp cloth over the area you are going to be shrinking.
  • Then, turn on your hairdryer’s low heat setting and hover it over the fabric for 10 minutes or until you notice it has become smaller.
  • Finally, remove it from heat and allow it to cool before wearing or washing it as usual.

Placing it in a plastic bag:

Another way to shrink a sweater is by placing it in a plastic bag overnight.

  • To do this, simply put the entire garment in a ziplock bag and seal it tightly.
  • Place the bag in the freezer overnight for up to 24 hours until you notice that it has become smaller.
  • Once done, remove the sweater from the bag and allow it to thaw before wearing or washing as usual.

When attempting to shrink a sweater, always remember to take care when using any of these methods. Excessive heat or harsh chemicals can cause damage to the fabric so be sure to read all instructions carefully before beginning.

Also, make sure you are following the care instructions on each item before attempting to shrink or alter its size in any way. You can also try stretching the sweater as you wear it as this method helps relax the fibers and cause them to shrink.

Lastly, avoid washing sweaters too often as repeated washings can cause them to stretch out over time. To prevent shrinking altogether, opt for hand washing instead of machine washing. 

By following these steps, you can preserve any clothing in its original condition for years to come.

Types Of Sweater Fabrics You Should Shrink

When shrinking a sweater, it is important to consider the type of fabric that it is made from. Different fabrics will require different methods for shrinking them as some materials can be more delicate than others.

Natural fibers such as wool and cashmere will shrink more easily and should only be exposed to warm or hot water when necessary.

Synthetic fabrics such as polyester, nylon, or acrylic are not as prone to shrinking and can usually handle being washed in cold water without any issues.

Polyester: Polyester is a synthetic fabric that is not as prone to shrinking as other fabrics. To shrink polyester safely, use the lowest heat setting on your dryer and take it out of the cycle before it ends.

Nylon: Nylon is also a synthetic fabric that can handle being washed in cold water without any issues. To shrink nylon sweaters, place them in the dryer on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until they have shrunk to the desired size.

Wool & Cashmere: Wool and cashmere are natural fibers that will shrink more easily than synthetic materials so extra care should be taken when washing these garments.

To minimize shrinkage, hand wash wool and cashmere items with cool water and air-dry them instead of using the dryer. In terms of cotton, it is best to use cold water and the lowest heat setting on your dryer. 

Factors To Consider When Shrinking A Sweater

You’ve known how to shrink a sweater, so what about some factors affecting the process of shrinking a sweater? These are some of the common factors we should consider when shrinking a sweater.

  • Know the materials of sweaters

First of all, it is important to know the material of your sweater as some fabrics are more delicate than others and may require different methods for shrinking safely. Natural fibers such as wool and cashmere will shrink more easily than synthetic fabrics such as polyester or nylon.

  • Read the care labels

Secondly, it is important to read the care labels on any item before attempting to shrink or alter its size in any way. Care instructions often provide helpful information about how best to clean and care for the fabric to preserve its condition long-term.

  • Control the heat level

Thirdly, remember to observe and control the heat level when shrinking a sweater. Excessive heat or harsh chemicals can cause damage to the fabric, so make sure you are only using the lowest heat setting on your dryer and removing it from the cycle before it ends.

Finally, try stretching the garment as you wear it to help relax the fibers and cause them to shrink back into their original shape when taken off.

By following all these recommendations you can easily shrink a sweater without any issues.

How Much Does A Sweater Shrink?

The type of fabric used to make a sweater will determine how much shrinkage it experiences since some materials are more likely to shrink than others.

Natural fabrics, like wool and cashmere, typically shrink by up to 10% when subjected to hot water or high heat in the dryer.

With exposure to cold water and low heat in the dryer, synthetic fabrics such as polyester or nylon may not shrink at all or may only shrink a little.


What should I do if my sweater is already shrunken?

If your sweater has already been shrunken, there are several things you can do to restore its size. The first thing to try is gently stretching out the fabric by hand while still wet after washing.

You can also try using a steamer on the fabric to help it relax and regain its original shape. If neither of these methods work, you may need to re-knit or sew back together any sections of the garment that have been affected by the shrinking process.

How long does it take to get a sweater shrunk?

The length of time it takes to shrink a sweater will depend on the fabric type and the method used.

For natural fabrics such as wool or cashmere, it may take up to 15 minutes in a dryer set on low heat for the garment to shrink.

Synthetic materials like polyester or nylon may require less time in the dryer but could potentially not shrink at all if washed with cold water.

The best way to know how long it will take to shrink your particular sweater is by reading and following the care instructions included in the item. 

Can a sweater be shrunk without being ruined?

If done properly, shrinking a sweater is possible without causing damage. Before performing any kind of shrinking technique, it’s crucial to read the care instructions on the garment to avoid damaging it.

When shrinking wool and cashmere textiles, stay away from applying extreme heat or harsh chemicals as they might result in permanent damage.

What causes wool sweaters to shrink?

Wool sweaters shrink due to the natural felting process that occurs when exposed to heat or friction. The fibers tighten and become matted together which causes the garment to shrink in size.

Additionally, washing a wool sweater with hot water can also cause it to shrink faster as this accelerates the felting process. To prevent this from occurring, always wash your wool sweaters with cold water and use the lowest heat setting on the dryer if necessary.

Can I use the dryer to shrink a sweater?

Yes, you can use the dryer to shrink a sweater as long as it is done properly. Make sure to only use the lowest heat setting on your dryer and remove it from the cycle before it ends to prevent any damage from occurring.

Additionally, read the care instructions included on the item beforehand as this will provide helpful information about what temperature is best for shrinking that particular fabric type.


In conclusion, now you know how to shrink a sweater. Remember that not all fabrics react the same to heat, so always read and follow the care instructions on the item before attempting any type of shrinkage process.

As mentioned above, shrinking sweaters can be quite a challenging process, so make sure you take your time and use the right tools to avoid any irreversible damage.

We hope this information has been helpful and that you can now confidently shrink your sweaters without any issues. 


4 Ways to Shrink a Sweater – wikiHow


Harvard athletes receive their varsity letter sweaters

Sweaters and Other Comforts – PMC

Similar Posts


  1. Thanks for this great post. The information in this article is very useful to me. Thanks a lot for sharing. Keep blogging!

  2. Hi Cinda Saunders,

    Thank you for providing such an informative blog post on how to shrink a sweater. Your step-by-step instructions and helpful tips make the process to shrink a sweater easy to understand and execute. I am grateful for your effort in creating such a detailed guide.


    Goodwin Mendoza

  3. Wow, it’s a fantastic post. Your tips on using appropriate care techniques to avoid ruining the fabric were especially helpful. I’m wondering, do you have any advice on how to fix a shrunken sweater?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *