“Honey, I Shrunk the Wool” & What You Can Do About It ~Plus~ Eucalan #Giveaway (12/5)

The winter months are prime time for wool. We bring out our wool sweaters and coats, blankets, scarves, and even though we know wool can be great during the warmer months of the year as diaper covers, we seem to use our longies just a little more. This year I started to get my beautiful wool longies out and smiled at their cheerful colors only for that smile to turn into a frown as I was reminded of what happened last year.

It is a wonderful thing when our children start to become more independent and help around the house. It is a also relief when husbands help with the laundry to lighten the load. We will never quite know what happened, but I imagine my little girl was being helpful by putting her clothes in the hamper and I simply did not think that there could be a pair of longies in the pile of clothes and put them in the washing machine. She still points the finger at her father, but I do not know if he was even involved in the laundry that day. Speculation aside, we were all a little crushed when I pulled that pair of soft longies out of the dryer. She had been thrilled that they still stretched to fit her as capris and that she could wear a pair along with her brother, but now they would have to wait to be worn by another baby.

The picture above shows our three pairs of sloomb longies at a slight angle, but you can see the size small on top, medium in the middle and what was once a medium/long size on the bottom. The felted pair on the bottom will definitely offer significant leak protection for naptime and overnight, but I still liked having the three different sizes so I started to explore the possibility of restoring it to its original size. Especially since these longies take a substantial length of time to dry and the felted pair would probably take even longer, so I was pretty determined to try something.

To have a general idea of my starting point I compared the felted pair of longies with the size small and as you can see it had basically shrunk down to that size. The waist was a little wider and less stretchy than the blue pair, but other than that the measurements were nearly identical. I remember glancing over an article online once a number of months ago on using conditioner to try and restore shrunken wool and although I could not find the original source, I explored different tips and advice online to try and salvage my adored longies.

Hair conditioner seemed to be the most commonly used ingredient in “wool stretching” or blocking, although I saw some sites recommend washing soda and vinegar or mild soap. Skeptical about using soap and not confident about using the washing soda and vinegar, I decided to give conditioner a try. I got some lukewarm water in a small bucket (you can also use a sink), tried my best to dissolve the conditioner in the water and work it into the wool fibers of the longies. It is important to use warm water rather than hot or extremely cold water. After gently massaging the conditioner in and kneading the wool as if I was literally loosening things up, I gently pressed excess water out and laid the pants on a flat towel.

Next, I rolled the towel and the longies together to try and gently squeeze out additional water and began my stretching. I slowly worked on the waist and hips stretching them out and up and gradually worked my way down each of the pant legs. I continued this for a number of minutes trying to gently stretch the longies back to their original size and shape. This step deliberately breaks the wool care rules, since you typically handle wool garments as little as possible so they do not lose their shape, in an effort to stretch them out to their original shape. When I felt I had worked the pants long enough for one sitting, I soaked them in some Eucalan to try and rinse the conditioner out of the fibers and freshen them up, rolled them with the towel again to get more water out and laid them flat to dry. This would also be a good time to lanolize the longies if needed.

From one session of wool stretching I was able to get the pair of longies to a similar size as our medium longies. I was pretty excited to see some improvement and may try a second round to see if I can get them a notch wider and longer to be closer to their original medium-long size. Perhaps I will be brave and try the washing soda and vinegar or see if just the Eucalan wash and warm water are sufficient. Have you ever tried to re-stretch shrunken wool? I’d love to hear your stories or other products that may be effective in saving previous wool pieces.

Whether you aim to save a pair of wool covers or just need to freshen them up for the season, Eucalan has a brand new scent called Wrapture by Kristin Omdahl on the market. It is a lovely Jasmine scent and you have a chance to will a bottle below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Some sample pods were provided by Eucalan which I referenced in the article, but no compensation or full products were received. The views, opinions and wool stretching experiment are my own

{If you enjoyed reading “Honey, I Shrunk the Wool” & What You Can Do About It ~Plus~ Eucalan #Giveaway (12/5) I would be tickled pink if you left a comment. To read more about my green(er) parenting aspirations, advice and adventures be sure to subscribe to my RSS feed or get updates via email.}


By Emi Stapler. I am a cloth diaper advocate, green parenting blogger, mother of three and a military wife who enjoys sharing my motherhood adventures and advice. Follow me at The Cloth Diaper Report on Facebook, Twitter @TheCDReport , Google +, Pinterest and Instagram.

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  1. I have yet to accidentally felt any of my woolies but you never know what might happen. My hubby’s gotten pretty good about helping with the cloth diapers but he doesn’t pay much attention to anything other than his favorite pockets or hybrids. I also have a very helpful 14 yr old daughter who does diaper changes so again, you never know when something might accidentally get put in the wash.

    I have had a bad shrink on a wool sweater I was trying attempting to make into an old school butt sweater years ago. It was horribly stiff and scratchy so I just threw it away. I may have been able to save it if I’d know about this. Then again it was scratchy so I couldn’t imagine my son being comfortable wearing it even if I had been able to stretch it back out. Plus, it was no where near as nice as your beautiful woolies. I think I would’ve cried if I’d shrunk those.

    I have a cute little baby blue cashmere blend sweater I bought at a thrift store for $1.50 that I’m going to try to make into a pair of longies. They’re so soft I’d be sad if I went to the trouble then shrunk them.

  2. Melissa Conn says:

    WOW. Way to go! Can’t wait to see comparison pictures after your next round of stretching.


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