Help I’ve shrunk a woollen jumper

Help I’ve shrunk a woollen jumper? I hear you call!

Well lets face it we’ve all been there at some point and your first washing accident always feels horrendous.

You were either in a hurry, pressed the wrong button, and washed a garment too hot. Or forgot that it was in there when you bundled the jeans and other coloured cotton items in and pressed a setting for colour fast cotton instead of hand wash wool! If it makes you feel better laundry professionals up and down the country will all confess to their own errors of judgement from time to time in their personal lives – its called being human.

So what can you do if you have shrunk a woollen jumper or something, by washing it too hot? Help ‘I’ve shrunk a woollen jumper.’

So to answer that – I’ll ask you a question back. How much has it shrunk?  If the answer is a little, and you’ve lost an inch or so then there are a few things we can help with, you can breathe out again and smile. Is your garment already wet and straight from the machine?  If the answer is yes proceed to gently start stretching evenly across the length of the garment.  You need to do this slowly and carefully or you’ll end up with a garment that looks wonky along the hem.

If the answer is no try soaking in luke warm water with a few capfuls of white vinegar.  This will relax the wool amino acid fibre bonds and make the wool more pliable.  If you don’t like the thought of the vinegar scent and needing to re wash the garment then this is the only occasion that any old softener in water will also do the trick.

However if the answer to our initial question was no the shrinking damage to your jumper is such, that it now looks like it will fit an action man, then you have pretty much damaged it beyond repair. Wool makes a great insulator so if you don’t like the idea of the bin-  loft insulation is always an option.

Hot wash errors invariably cannot be fixed!….a shrunk woollen jumper has gone through a permanent change. Do you remember conducting science experiments in the chemical labs at school?   Heat induces a permanent transformation to the structure of the wool threads causing the amino acid  bonds to shrink closer together.

Just a tip…routinely Washing cool will avoid all that!

If you get into the habit of using a formula like ours and washing on cool then you’ll not be at risk of a shrunk sweater, or boiled and set stains, and no damage to other delicate fabrics like silk or specialist sports kit.

Just a point to note Biological formulas are not recommended by fabric professionals for use on untreated wools. So, thats hand knits or woollen hand me downs that you want to keep for a few generations. If you want a wool blanket/jumper that has been hand made to last a few hundred years then please look for a hand wash wool solution that doesn’t contain enzymes or bleach etc such as woolite and literally hand wash your garments every time.

If however, like us, you are too lazy to hand wash woollen and cashmere blends, are likely to put them in the washing machine with other mixed fibre garments and feel more than prepared to throw an item away after 5 years use, then please still use Distinctive or your normal formula sparingly, but wash as usual. Contact with enzymes is so minimal that it would literally take 1,000’s of washes for the enzymes to have a detrimental effect, (compared to the one wash with heat that causes shrinkage)

Plus, you should be aware the sheer agitation of the washing machine will be doing more damage to the amino acid wool bonds than a bio formula anyway.

Laundry common sense prevails…if you’ve spent a fortune on a woollen garment then hand wash it please.

For more laundry hints and tips why not chat to us online or at Distinctivewash on any of the social channels. We will always do our best to help! You should still wash cleaning cloths or empty clean machine programme on the hottest setting once in a while to flush out bacteria.  If you’ve noticed problems with a smelly washing machine and want more help please click here, we have some really great ways to help you fix it.