Does Wool Shrink?
Wool itself is composed of protein scales, which, when exposed to heat and moisture can cause the scales open, causing the fibers to swell. Then when those fibers dry, they contract and the scales lock together, causing the wool fabric to shrink. Therefore, wool is most likely to shrink when it is exposed to hot water or if one puts wool fabric in the dryer.
To prevent wool from shrinking, follow these tips:
- Handwash in cold water. If you have to use a machine wash, use the gentle cycle
- Use a mild detergent
- Lay wool garments flat to dry instead of using the dryer
What if it's Already Shrunk?
If a wool product does shrink, you may be able to return it to its normal shape:
- Soak the garment in cool water, relaxing the fibers
- Gently stretch the garment, being careful not to overstretch
- Lay the garment flat to dry
If this doesn't work, you may find that a dry cleaner is able to unshrink the product for you.