How To: Unshrink A Wool Blanket

Have you ever done laundry and put a wool jumper or wool blanket in a hot wash by mistake, and it shrunk? Well there is a way of fixing it…

So! I made a bit of a blunder today…

I am coming to end of my laundry, you know, when you get to the bottom of the laundry basket, and there’s some odd bits you’ve been putting off…  I had two bath mats and a wool blanket from the car sitting there, and thought, “right – they can go in together

…so because of the bath mats I threw it all together in a hot wash, to get rid of the icky stuff on the mats, and it didn’t even occur to me that wool + hot wash  = disaster!

When the laundry finished, I took it all out of the washing machine, and put it on the airer outside, and looking at it, I immediately saw that there was a problem

before shrunken wool blanket

look at it! It’s supposed to be a picnic blanket and it is all wrinkly and small!

My mind raced back to a few years ago when I accidentally shrunk a wool jumper, and remembered, there is a way of “un-shrinking” wool, and it is strange, but it works…

Here is how to “un-shrink” a wool blanket

You’ll need a large basin, or (preferably) as I used, a bathtub:

fill it with lukewarm water, just a few inches, enough to cover the blanket

  • not cold, or the fibres won’t stretch (plus you don’t want dunk your hands in cold water!)
  • not hot, this is what caused the problem in the first place! (again, you don’t want scalded hands!)
dunk shrunken wool blanket into lukewarm water in the bath

go ahead and dunk the blanket!

Next step is to grab some hair conditioner, (doesn’t have to be fancy, but I only had one type available),  and pour it onto the blanket – you don’t need to use loads, just enough to “lubricate” the fibres.

pour conditioner onto shrunken wool blanket into lukewarm water in the bath
not exactly what i was intending this conditioner for but oh well!

now comes the “fun” part…

Get your hands in the water, and start to ‘stretch  / stroke’ the blanket, in each direction, (vertically / horizontally), on both sides, all the while, keeping the blanket within the water.  You should be able to hydrate the fibres, which will loosen them up, so you can ‘stretch’ it back out to (nearly) its original size.

afterwards the wool blanket will be slightly larger
after stretching

you may not be able to tell from this photo, but it is now definitely bigger!

Because it is wool, it will take on A LOT of water – my bathroom is upstairs, so I had to make sure I wrung it out before taking it downstairs, (or it would be dripping all over the place)…  but again be carefull, you don’t want to over-stretch it while wringing it out.

I took it down back out into the garden, put it on my airer (it was still dripping a lot, see the water on the ground?), but you can tell that it is now much bigger than it was! (and less bumpy)

after un shrunk! wool blanket

I am unsure if I got these results because I “rescued” it straightaway,  – perhaps if I had left it a while, it might need a bit more soaking and stretching, but for something that took less than 10 minutes to do, I am happy with the results.

Have you ever shrunk a garment while washing it? Have you tried to rescue it or did you just chuck it away? Let me know!

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  1. Ana Duarte

    June 7, 2017 at 18:04

    I have had a garment shrink and I have to admit that I threw it away! Wish I would have known I could have saved it!!
    Ana |

    1. Jenny

      June 7, 2017 at 18:44

      Aw that’s a shame! However next time you’ll be prepared!

  2. Regina Garson

    June 17, 2017 at 22:29

    I don’t even know how many things I have thrown away over the years because of shrinking wool. Never again. How did I miss this one? I have never even heard there was a possibility of saving shrunken wool. What incredibly useful information.

  3. asnippetoflife

    June 18, 2017 at 19:21

    This is so cool definitely gonna try this the next time I have a shrunken jumper or so. Thanks for sharing this.
    lea, xx

    1. Jenny

      June 19, 2017 at 09:32

      You’re welcome !

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