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Shrunk your sweater? How hair conditioner will get it back in shape

Before you gift your miniature sweater to a 9-year-old, read this.
/ Source: TODAY

There's nothing like the cozy embrace of a fuzzy sweater — unless said sweater has shrunk in the wash and now has a distressingly tight grip on your torso and arms. So uncomfortable!

Fibers have tiny scales arranged like shingles on a roof. When they encounter heat (like from a dryer), the scales clump together and tighten the fibers. What does this mean? It means your 9-year-old niece is soon to inherit a $50 cashmere sweater, that's what!

We love this next trick to "unshrink" the sweater that accidentally made its way into the dryer. You'll be surprised that the antidote is sitting on your shower ledge: your conditioner. Hair conditioner not only tames your frizz, it also helps relax fibers in wool, cashmere and cotton sweaters enough for you to reshape them back to their original size.

What you'll need:

  • Hair conditioner
  • Bowl large enough for your sweater
  • Measuring spoon

What you'll do:

1. Fill a bowl large enough for your sweater with lukewarm water.

2. Squeeze out one tablespoon of hair conditioner. Any brand will do!

3. Stir conditioner into the warm water until it dissolves.

4. Allow your sweater to soak for 30 minutes. The conditioner will relax the fibers making them easier to reshape!

Sweater that shrunk in dryer
Allow your shrunken sweater to soak for 30 minutes before wringing it gently.Anna De Souza / TODAY

5. Wring the sweater out gently by hand.

6. Lay it flat on top of an absorbent towel and slowly, gently, stretch it. You'll stretch out the fibers with just a few tugs.

Stretch sweater
Stretch out your sweater two or three times as it dries for best results. Anna De Souza / TODAY

7. Allow it to air dry but swing by once or twice more to delicately pull the threads.

We can't stress how important it is to be gentle. Wiggle the fabric back and forth slowly as you tug and only take it as far as the threads naturally go.

We're happy to have pulled a few strings for you! Now go forth and enjoy that sweater weather.

This story was originally published Nov. 15, 2017.