How to Stretch Cotton Clothing

Written by samantha burton
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It's not uncommon for cotton clothing to shrink over time, especially if a garment accidently ends up in the dryer. Luckily, it's quite easy to stretch cotton back to its original shape and size.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cotton clothing
  • Water
  • Sink or bucket
  • Baby shampoo or hair conditioner
  • Flat surface
  • Heavy objects (such as paperweights or canned goods)

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  1. 1

    Fill a sink or bucket with warm water, and add 1 tablespoon of baby shampoo or hair conditioner.

  2. 2

    Completely immerse the article of clothing in the water. Allow it to soak for about five minutes to relax the fibres.

  3. 3

    Remove the garment from the water and gently wring it out to remove excess liquid.

  4. 4

    Lay the damp article of clothing on a flat surface, such as a table. Smooth the fabric so that it is completely wrinkle-free.

  5. 5

    Pull gently at the garment in the direction(s) you would like it to stretch. If it needs to be stretched significantly, you can also use an iron on a low to medium setting to push the fabric in the direction(s) you would like it to stretch.

  6. 6

    Place heavy objects (such as paper weights or canned goods) on the edges of the stretched article of clothing to keep it in position as it dries.

Tips and warnings

  • To prevent your garment from shrinking back to its original size, continue to wash it by hand and lay it flat to dry.
  • If your garment does shrink again, you can simply repeat the stretching process.
  • Do not use an iron on any graphics or beading.
  • Do not hang your garment on a hanger when wet or damp, as this may cause it to stretch out of shape.

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