Can you unshrink clothes?

Sometimes it is possible to reverse shrinkage. It all depends on the garment’s fabric. Some fabrics are much easier to unshrink than others, but with all garments, the goal is to ”relax” the fabric’s fibers. For dry clean only garments, applying steam is the most effective method to relax the fibers. In the dry cleaning industry the process is known as “blocking”. Blocking restores a garment to its desired shape by repeatedly steaming and stretching the garment until the desired shape is reached. Some fabrics, such as knits, are notorious for stretching out of shape. All knits distort with both wearing and cleaning and should be blocked by an experienced blocker after each cleaning. Most cleaners will measure a knit garment prior to cleaning it to ensure that when blocking they will return it to its original dimensions. For fabrics that can safely be washed in water, such as cotton, soaking the garment in white vinegar for an hour and then washing them in hot water will often do the trick. If that doesn’t work, try ”hand stretching” the wet fabric until it reaches the desired size, then allow it to dry flat using heavy objects to hold down the edges in place. Be careful when stretching your clothes! Just like a rubber band eventually breaks, if you stretch the fabric using too much force it will rip; usually along the seams. For answers to more frequently asked dry cleaning questions, visit: http://www.olddominioncleaners.com

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