What do you do when your pants shrink in the wash?
Today I'm going to be trying to help a reader who sent me an email.
He put his wool trousers into the dryer and they shrank. It could be cotton and so what I'm going to say can still be in a way applied to cotton. But cotton, doesn't normally shrink because of their higher quality unless you have a really hot dryer.
How should you care for and treat wool trousers or any type of high-end dress slacks or dress clothing:
1. Read the label
I know it's too late for the gentleman who sent me the question but always look at the label and follow what it says. If it says dry cleaning, you can do some spot cleaning. I know it's a little bit harder for a lot of people especially when you don't have access.
Oftentimes we'll send things and we'll wash them almost too much. Again, do a little bit of spot cleaning if you can't get it to a dry cleaner. And if you're really confident in doing this – you can do some at-home cleaning yourself.
But then again, you need to be careful and know what you're doing especially with sweaters. Perhaps you know someone who has explained to you how to do some of this stuff.
2. Reverse process
It has shrunk in the waist and maybe a little bit tighter in the seat area. So what can you do? You can try to reverse the process.
Why did this shrink? If this is wool, then basically the fibers have come in closer together. If it was exposed to high heat to the point wherein we could even see the actual nature of the hair and of the proteins that make up that hair, then that could've been de-natured.
So if that happened, basically that's like frying an egg. You can't go back to the state it was at before.
In that case, there is very little we can do if you've actually really heated it up and really damaged that fabric but mostly it's not that state I've described. It sounded like you could get them on almost, but they were just too tight and they weren't where they were before.
In this case, he may have a chance to be able to help separate the yarns and be able to spread out the fabric and give it the feel it had before. What he's going to want to do is take those trousers and first visit a professional. If you have money and you don't have time for this, go to a professional cleaner. They often have ways of trying to stretch those back out.
But that's basically what you're going to be doing by hand if you don't have access to a professional or you don't want to spend the money and you want to try to do it yourself.
Two Easy DIY Steps:
1. Put the wool trousers into cool water which you've mixed hopefully with something like Woolite. If you don't have any access to Woolite, use a hair conditioner. Why does it have to be cool water and nothing else? Because the heat (even warm water) will cause wool to shrink.
2. Soften up the fibers by stretching the trousers back out.
The purpose of this is to apply pressure by trying to stretch out the trousers.
This can take a little bit longer. Then after a couple minutes, you can put them out to dry. Once they've dried, try them on. You can repeat the process until achieve your desired results. If it's not even close, then consider taking them to a professional.
You may be asking, “Why can't I just open up the trousers and let out some material instead?” You can do that but the problem is that if these did shrink, the distance between the seams where it was sewn, that could've been altered as well.
You may have actually marks in the clothing, so when you open it up, you may have little marks on there, but that's better than having to throw these trousers away.
It's not the perfect solution.
It is something that's a bit time-intensive. It doesn't work if the trousers are really damaged. However, if this is just a small shrinkage, you can get back to that.
As for jeans, you can actually wear them a little bit tighter and they stretch out over time. I would suggest just putting cotton on and trying to stretch them out a bit. You have to be careful because if the seams aren't really tight there, you could just tear open the trousers.
It's better to tear them open at the beginning than at the end, but with cotton, it's going to be better to probably try to just wear it and to just stretch them out that way.
Here's a little interesting fact. Wool actually loses 30% of its strength in cool water while cotton gains strength in water.
So if you wet the cotton and tried to follow that procedure, it's actually going to be tougher than if you've left it dry. Hopefully that helps you out. There are some other things out there.
Again, visit a professional. They deal with this stuff day in and day out and there are lots of other little tricks which I'm not going to get into because I haven't tested them yet.
I am trying to get back to people in the Real Men Real Style YouTube comments but YouTube comments are broken.
I'll answer the best questions in a video.
See you guys in the next post!