You come home from a long day and your partner surprises you with dinner on the table, the kids are bathed and ready for bed, oh and they did the laundry! Amazing right? It all sounds great, until your panic sets in when you see your FAVORITE cashmere sweater got thrown into the washing machine along with his gym shorts. Grrreeeaaat. 

Its happened before, and it will happen again. Most would consider it ruined forever - maybe it will fit your 5 year old now or perhaps the dog? Turn it into a cleaning rag? What are your options when you’ve completely shrunken a cashmere sweater? Can you even fix a shrunken cashmere sweater that’s accidentally been thrown into the washing machine?

Good news or bad news first? Ok. We don’t have the magic anecdote, and there has been a lot of damage to your knitwear, but depending on the situation - not all hope is lost. Being honest, if it was on the hottest sterilize-type cleaning setting, you’re probably screwed. Sorry. However - if it looks somewhat salvagable, we’re here to help.

Step 1: First things first, you want to put the item BACK into water. Fill up a tub, sink, or basin with room temperature clean water and let it SOAK. At least 2 hours. You can add a splash of a super gentle fabric softener if you wish. This will help the fibers get back to a point where they might be adaptable (might, being the key word here)

Step 2: Take the sweater out of the water, but don’t rinse it. Squeeze the extra moisture out of the sweater gently without wringing the cloth. 

Step 3: Lay the cashmere flat on a clean towel over a foam board and gently stretch it out as far as you can. Ensure to do the neck area, the sleeves (both the length and width) and throughout the body. Pin the item into the foam board in its stretched state and be careful not to rip any seams or pull the cashmere too far.

 Step 4: After an hour, stretch the sweater juuuust a little more and re-pin. Repeat these steps until the cashmere cannot be stretched further and it looks about the same size as the original garment.

 Step 5: Lay your sweater out until it is fully dry. Try it on and see if its wearable at this point. We’d recommend wearing it around for a bit, even if it seems mis-shapen, wearing the garment can help it get back to its original shape. Finally, wash it according to its proper care instructions.

Best of luck!!! If all else fails, we’re sure your partner will buy you a new one for the mistake (and they’ll never make that mistake again… or do the laundry!)

April 19, 2022 — Kimberly Conrad