How to shrink wool gloves

Whether you’re coming home from a weekend of skiing or a 14-hour shift, your gloves are going to smell.

To stop the stink and kill bacteria, there are quick and easy tips for cleaning leather, wool, cotton and Thinsulate™ winter gloves at home.

This post looks at simple steps that you can take to clean winter gloves.

How to shrink wool gloves

Why Do My Gloves Smell?

What you may not realize is the material that keeps your hands warm and toasty in chilly weather also provides a nice incubator for all kinds of germs and bacteria.

This is why it is important to keep your gloves clean and smelling fresh. But how you clean insulated gloves often depends on the type of glove you wear.

Cleaning Leather & Faux Leather Gloves:

To preserve the naturally-waterproof surface on leather or faux leather gloves, don’t throw them in the washing machine like you would fabric gloves.

Instead, follow these easy instructions for washing and cleaning by hand:

  • Rub a small amount of an oil-based soap, like saddle soap, on a clean, soft cloth.
  • Gently clean the entire surface of the glove by rubbing the cloth in a small, circular motion. For stains or spots, scoop up some of the soap bubbles and rub for a few minutes longer.
  • Let the gloves dry thoroughly.
  • Polish the surface with a microfiber cloth.
  • After drying and polishing, sprinkle a bit of baking soda and cornstarch on the inside to eliminate odors and soak up oils.
  • Disinfect the inside by lightly spraying the inside with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.

Cleaning Cotton, Suede & Waterproof Gloves:

Cotton Gloves:

You can wash cotton gloves in the washing machine in cold water. Air-dry them though to prevent them from shrinking. Use regular spot cleaner or color-safe bleach and a brush, if needed, to remove stains before you put them in the washer.

Suede Gloves:

Treat suede gloves with protective suede spray before you wear them. You should clean suede professionally at a specialty dry cleaner.

Waterproof Gloves:

Spray the outside with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide and let sit for about five minutes to disinfect them.

Wipe off the excess.

Sprinkle baking soda and cornstarch on the inside, close the wrist opening and shake the powder around to absorb smells and oils.

Shake out the excess into the sink.

Cleaning Wool Gloves:

Wool is a natural fiber that, when washed and dried properly, won’t shrink or lose its shape.

Wool can be hand washed or machine washed on a gentle cycle.

Clean Gloves With Thinsulate™ Components or Linings:

Thinsulate™ is a high density, cold-weather insulation fabric that tends to keep in warmth and block out cold air.

It also allows sweat and moisture to escape without compromising the insulation functions.

How To Clean Your Thinsulate™ Gloves:

  • Fill the sink with cool water and add a few drops of baby shampoo to generate bubbles and suds.
  • Put the gloves in the water and gently knead the gloves for about five minutes in the water, so that the soapy water flows through the fibers.
  • If they still appear dirty, continue soaking and washing them for about five more minutes.
  • Drain the soapy water and refill the sink with fresh rinse-water. Follow the same process of soaking, kneading and draining the water.
  • Don’t twist or wring the gloves. Remove them from the sink after draining the water, place them on a bath towel and roll up the towel to absorb the excess water.
  • Then, place the gloves on a sweater drying rack away from direct heat and sunlight.

Clean winter gloves will not only make your hands feel better but will also reduce bacteria growth to keep you healthy.

Along with that, you’ll also extend the life of your gloves for many winter seasons to come.

How To Shrink Leather Gloves

  1. Heat a pot of water on the stove until it starts to boil.
  2. Dip the gloves in the hot water until they are fully submerged.
  3. Plug the hair dryer in and go over the gloves with it on the hottest setting.
  4. Try the gloves on to see if they are now the right size.

Subsequently, question is, can you shrink nitrile gloves? They are easy to wash and mildew resistant. Although they are made tough and resistant to shrinking, there is a way to get them to shrink by using a heat method.

Considering this, how can I make my latex gloves fit better?

An easy way to do this is first put the nitrile or latex glove on your dominant hand, while touching it as little as possible. Then, put the other glove on your non dominant hand, using your gloved dominant hand to pull it on. Once both gloves are on your hands you can adjust your fingers and the fit of the glove.

Can you shrink leather gloves to fit?

Leather gloves are expensive, so it makes sense to get as much wear out of them as you can. But wearing gloves that are too big can be uncomfortable. If you have an old pair that you‘ve been willing to fit you, you can shrink them to size them down a bit. Dip the gloves in the hot water until they are fully submerged.

Wondering how to shrink wool or how to fix a shrunken wool sweater? Whether you’re shrinking or unshrinking wool, follow our simple guide.

Updated 9 February 2021

By Cleanipedia Team


Wool’s a great material. It’s cosy, it’s comforting, it’ll keep you warm in the autumn and winter. It’s also prone to shrinking, which is great if you want to know how to shrink wool, but not so great when you’re frantically Googling ‘how to un-shrink merino wool sweater’. Here’s our guide to both how to shrink and how to un-shrink a wool jumper or any other woollies that are giving you trouble.

If you want to know how to shrink or how to unshrink wool:

To shrink, agitate the wool in a warm environment, either by hand or in a tumble dryer.

To unshrink, relax the fibres with fabric conditioner so you can stretch the wool out by hand.

When you’re shrinking wool, always stop a bit earlier than you think you need to. You might be able to salvage things if you follow our advice, but it’s always best to avoid going too far in the first place!

How to shrink wool sweater by hand

Be careful when you’re shrinking wool. It’s easy to make it a little too small or felt it by accident. You might prefer to do your shrinking by hand, so you can keep an eye on the process.

Use a wool-friendly detergent.

Put a few drops of a wool-friendly detergent into a basin of warm water.

Use a basin.

Put the item you’re hoping to shrink in the basin.

Gently swish the item round.

Every two minutes, gently swish the item around in the water for a few seconds, then check to see how it’s looking.

Use a towel.

When you think it’s shrunk enough, take the item out and press the excess water out of it with a towel.

Leave it flat.

Lay the item on a fresh towel, keeping its shape, and leave it flat to dry. Keep it away from radiators and direct sunlight, or it might shrink more than you wanted!

How to shrink a wool jumper in the tumble dryer

A lot of wool items have the ‘do not tumble dry’ symbol on their care label. There’s a reason for that: being spun around in the heat makes wool shrink, and the care label assumes that’s not your goal. If you want to know how to shrink wool, of course, it’s good news.

To machine-shrink wool:

Dampen the item.

Make sure it’s equally damp all over if you want it to shrink evenly.

Use a tumble dryer.

Put it in the tumble dryer and set the heat to medium.

Keep your eyes on it.

Every four or five minutes, take a look to see how it’s doing.

Act quickly.

Take it out as soon as it looks like it’s shrunk enough.

How to un-shrink a wool sweater

What if your shrinking efforts go awry, or a regular wash has unwanted results? Can you unshrink a wool jumper?

Unshrinking clothes is never guaranteed to go perfectly, but it’s worth a shot. If the item has already shrunk, there’s no harm in seeing if you can salvage it. Here’s a method for how to fix a shrunken wool sweater or any other item made of wool.

Use fabric conditioner.

Mix some fabric conditioner, such as Comfort Intense Fresh Sky into warm water. Use a container that’ll fit your jumper (or whatever other woollen items you’re hoping to unshrink). About two tablespoons are enough for a regular sink.

Soak it!

Soak the item in the solution for 15 minutes.

Use a towel.

Gently press excess water out of the wool with a towel.

Stretch it.

Lay the item flat on a dry towel. Stretch it carefully into the shape and size you want.

Leave the item as it dries.

Leave the item as it dries. Every hour or so, check on it and stretch it out again if it’s drawing back into itself.

How concerned are you about disinfecting while cleaning?

This can even be used as a method for how to unshrink merino wool. Now that you know how to shrink and how to un-shrink wool, you might be wondering how to deal with other materials. Never fear! We have more general guides on how to shrink clothes and how to un-shrink clothes , for all your sartorial sizing adjustments!

I have a pair of wool gloves from Columbia.

They are the kind without the fingertips, I like them a lot except for two things:

1. They are too large for me, L/XL

2. The knit is fairly loose, not tight like some of my other wool stuff.

So, just as an experiment, I’m wondering if I can shrink these a bit so they both fit better, and make them warmer (tighter knit).

I have done this is the past with a wool shirt by accidentally tossing it it the dryer. The shirt shrank of course, and more closely resembled wool felt than the comfortable shirt it had been.

I know you can boil wool, and I know what a dryer does to wool. So I’m wondering if there is a controllable process I can use to reduce the size of these gloves? And if anyone can tell me how to do it?

Years ago my wife shrunk my favorite fishing sweater in the dryer. Our 5 yr old wears it now. I must admit that in its shrunken state it is a much denser weave.

I read that back in the day (1800s) weavers would pre-shrink their wool cloth to make really warm, practically warerproof clothes.

I’d try the boiling water trick. Drying them on high with your bath towels is a good second choice. As far as controling the process I’d say using the dryer and checking them periodically might work best.

Let us know how it goes!

I have an 85% wool sweater which I intentionally tried to shrink. It’s a tall size rather than regular. The sweater shrunk a little, but nothing like pure wool. I think with the nylon in the farbic the amount you can shrink is limited. The weave does seem a bit tighter. I just threw mine in the washing machine on hot with some detergent and then on high in the dryer.

Thanks guys, I’m gonna go for it and I’ll let you know how it turns out. I agree that the nylon will limit the results.

I think that I would try hitting them with hot water and wear till dri or at least as close as I could get them to dry. If sweat from your hands keeps them from drying completely I would take them off for a while and put them back on.

I know they were cotton but I sure liked the results girls got with there 501’s useing this method. A whole new meaning to “shrink to fit”.

I once unintentually shrunk a Woolrich wool shirt. I washed it, but then left it in the drier too long. Like someone above said it became a tighter weave afterwards. But I also remember it seemed to wear out faster afterwards, mainly at the elbows.

Check the O.J. Simpson website; IIRC, he has the recipe for shrinking gloves.

So, how did it work out, Trout?

Well I gave it a go last weekend by washing them in hot water and drying them in the dryer, but not on high heat. They shrank very little if any, so this weekend I’m gonna go for the hot cycle on the dryer after washing them.

I’ll let you know. They aren’t 100% wool so it may be a waste of time, but they didn’t cost much and they aren’t much use to me as is.

Hambly Screen Prints may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

Polyester is one of the most durable (durable than wool and cotton) fabrics used for making clothes.

Does polyester shrink? The resilient synthetic fiber doesn’t easily shrink…and when it does, it must be in extremely high heat conditions of up to 155 – 178°F (68 – 81°C).

If you recently bought a garment or wish to reuse a not-so-used cloth and it doesn’t fit you well, you can try shrinking it to resize it and make it fit you well.

How can you shrink polyester?

Well, in the post below, we’ll share with you the two most effective methods for shrinking polyester—the wash and dryer and electronic iron methods.

Let’s get into more details…

Table of Contents

Method 1: Wash and Dryer Method

NOTE: this method involves high heat, so we advise you to first turn your cloth inside out before placing it in the machine to prevent the colors from feeding. However, avoid placing multiple clothes together to prevent the color bleeding effects which are likely to occur at high temperatures.

Follow these directions to shrink your polyester cloth:

1. Put the garment to be shrunk in your machine and set it to the hottest water setting plus the longest wash cycle. You don’t have to use it any detergent in the shrinking process, unless you want to wash your cloth as well.

If you’ll need to rinse the cloth afterward, use hot rinse as it contributes to the shrinking process.

2. immediately after the washing is complete, transfer your garment to the dryer and set it to the hottest and longest heating and drying cycles respectively. The extreme heat in your dryer will do most of the shrinking.

3. when done drying, pull the garment out of the dryer and give it time to cool to room temperatures. You can then try it out to see if the shrinking is perfect. In case it didn’t shrinking to your satisfaction, you can repeat the whole process again as outlined above.

However, DON’T attempt this process on your cloth too many times; doing this will make the garment loose its color (fade), newness, and overall durability.

Method 2: Electronic Iron For Shrinking Polyester

Like the wash and dryer method, the iron method also involves use of high heat to shrink your polyester cloth. However, the amount of heat used here isn’t as high as in the previous method.

Here’s how to shrink a polyester garment using iron:

1. Start by washing your garment in hot water—set your machine to the hottest water cycle as well as the longest wash cycle. Be sure to use hot rinse as well. Remember to put your cloth in inside out manner to prevent fading.

2. After you’re done cleaning the garment, pull it out of the machine immediately and transfer it to the ironing board while still in the inside out form.

3. Cover your cloth completely with a pressing cloth before ironing it to help prevent the ion from damaging it.

4. Now grab your iron and set it to low or medium heat. This is the ideal heat setting to prevent your polyester fabric from getting too stiff. Pass the iron over your clothing and continue ironing until your garment becomes completely dry.

There’s no need to use the steam setting since you only require a dry iron to dry ion to dry out your fabric.

5. finally, examine your clothing to see if you’ve successfully shrunk it. If you followed the above steps carefully, you should end up with a smaller fabric that will fit you better than before. You can also fit the garment to ensure it fits you well; if you’re not satisfied with the process, feel free to repeat the process.

Just like the previous method, avoid taking your polyester cloth through the iron shrinking methods more often to avoid ruining its appearance and durability.

Final Verdict

Shrinking polyester clothes might seem impossible due to the incredible durability associated with this material. However, you can get around it by exposing the fabric to extremely high temperatures of around 155 – 178°F (68 – 81°C).

The two methods we’ve just outlined for you above involves using high heat to shrink polyester garments and make them fit you well. If you follow them as explained, we guarantee you of great results.

One Response

I’ve tried this three times already and it did shrink some but not as much as I wanted. I got the pants on clearance for 1.00 dollar so it wasn’t a loss really because they’re originally 15.00 dollars, but they only had a large size and I wear a medium mostly sometimes a small but depends on the fabric. These polyester pants are big on me but not nearly as big as they were before I washed it and dried it.

How to shrink wool gloves

How to shrink wool gloves

How to Shrink a Wool Hat

When it comes to advice on how to shrink a wool hat, things seem to get a little woolly. Some say wetting a wool hat is never a good idea while others tell you to go for it. Much like wool sweaters, wool caps are often labeled for cold washing or dry cleaning since soaking in warm water can cause considerable shrinking.

But if you have a too-large hat that you actually want to shrink, there are several options depending on the type of wool hat you have. It’s important to note that no matter which method you use or what kind of hat you’re shrinking, there is no way to determine the exact hat size or precise amount of shrinkage.

Here are the most tried-and-true methods for shrinking a wool hat.

Proceed With Caution

  • Read the label to confirm that your hat is 100% wool before following these steps.
  • Dark hats could bleed, meaning the dye could run. Refer to our hat-cleaning guide for how to do a spot test first.
  • Manage your expectations. There is always a risk of damaging the hat when submerging it in water.

How to shrink wool gloves

Shrinking a Wool Hat in the Washing Machine

Good for: fitted wool baseball hats, tightly knit wool caps, wool beanies.

Set the washing machine to the gentle cycle and small load

If the agitation is stronger than gentle, it will most likely ruin the hat. Setting the machine to the small load setting will minimize wasting water. If you plan to wash the hat as well as shrink it, add a teaspoon of non-bleach detergent such as Woolite.

Set the water temperature to warm

When it comes to shrinking delicate wool hats in the washing machine, warm water is best to play it safe. If you set the temperature to cold water, the hat might not shrink enough. If you set it for a hot wash, it might shrink too much or possibly ruin the hat by fading and fraying. You can always repeat this process using hot water if the warm water doesn’t shrink it enough the first time.

Put the hat in the dryer on low heat

Once the hat has gone through its wash cycle, dry it on low heat (or the warm dryer setting). If you dry it on high heat, it could ruin the hat or shrink it too much. Keep checking on the hat every five minutes and try it on until the desired hat fit is achieved. Once the hat has shrunk to the size you want, finish drying it by placing it in a well-ventilated area to air dry and avoid further shrinkage. В В В В В В В

How to shrink wool gloves

Shrinking a Wool Hat in a Pot

Good for: fitted wool baseball caps, tightly knit wool caps, wool beanies.

Heat a large pot of water

On your stove, fill a pot with water and set it to medium heat. The pot should be big enough to hold the cap that you’re trying to shrink without spilling any water.

Heat the water until it starts to steam

The water should be heated but not boiling. If the water is too hot it could ruin the hat’s shape and structure.

Use tongs to submerge the hat

If you have a vintage baseball cap or you simply are not sure of the bill material, do not wet the bill. Use the tongs and place only the crown of the hat in the water until it’s completely soaked. If you have a wool beanie or 100% wool hat, go ahead and dunk the whole thing in water. Some wool blend hats can also be shrunk this way, just make sure to read the label first.

Soak the hat for about five to 10 minutes

Allow the effects of the hot water to work its magic. The cotton fibers of the hat will begin to constrict and become denser. Wear gloves and gently massage the areas that need to be shrunk — this mild form of agitation will help in the shrinking process.

Put the hat in the dryer on low heat or wear it as it dries

Remove the wet hat from the pot of water and place it on a drying rack or towel. Gently squeeze and dab it to remove any excess water. Put it in the dryer on low heat and check on it every five minutes or so, trying it on until the fit is just right. If you don’t want to use the dryer, you could wear the hat while it’s still damp. As the hat air dries, it will conform to fit your head.

How to shrink wool gloves

Shrinking a Wool Hat in the Shower

Good for: fitted wool baseball caps, tightly knit wool caps, wool beanies.

Put on your hat and take a warm water or hot shower

Yes, it’s true. You can try shrinking your wool hat by wearing it in the shower. The water temperature should be warm or comfortably hot — not only does this spare you from getting scalded, but it also protects the hat from potential structural damage.

Allow three to five minutes to soak

As the shower water flows above your head, the rigidity of the hat will break down, causing it to shrink. You can massage the hat a bit to create some agitation. Make sure the entire hat gets wet unless you have a baseball cap and are not sure of the bill’s material. In that case, let most of the water fall on the crown to avoid any potential damage to the bill.

Don’t get any soap on the hat

Be careful not to get any soap or shampoo on the hat. Refer to our guide on how to hand wash your hat separately beforehand if necessary.

Wear the hat as it dries or use a hairdryer

Gently towel dry or lightly shake the hat in the shower so that it’s not dripping with any excess water. Put it on and let the hat dry as you wear it. This method typically takes a day and ensures the fitted hat will dry in the right shape. If you want to speed up the process, try blow-drying the hat with a hairdryer on high heat while wearing the hat. As it dries it will shrink to fit your head.

How to shrink wool gloves

Think Shrink

When it comes to shrinking a wool hat, the key is to start carefully. Even if you want the hat to shrink a lot, it’s better to achieve this by repeating steps than by overdoing it on the first attempt. It can be trial and error, but with these helpful tips you will know how to shrink your wool hat for a better fit that you can enjoy for years to come.

Caring for your leather gloves shouldn’t be hard – if the quality is there in the first place you should have little to do at your end. A good leather glove, like ours, should retain its shape and definition for decades and very easily repay the initial cost. Nevertheless, we have seen first hand how ‘well-loved’ a pair of gloves can end up. With gloves that last this long, they are bound to need a little TLC.

But there are so many questions! Can you wash leather gloves? How do you clean the lining of leather gloves? Will leather gloves shrink when they’re wet!? Don’t panic. we’re here to help with all your glove related woes.

From how to waterproof gloves to how to prevent them stretching – we have put together our complete guide to caring for your leather gloves so that you can continue to enjoy them for as long as possible. you can thank us later.

How to waterproof leather gloves

Let’s start at the very beginning. When your new leather gloves arrive is there anything you can do to waterproof them and protect them from the elements?

It’s worth remembering that leather is a ‘skin’ so has a natural resistance to the elements. As long as you don’t go for a spontaneous dip in the ocean. your gloves should be fine.

Nevertheless, there are a number of high-street brands making products that will enhance the natural resistance of your leather gloves against the rain. Nikwax is the most famous of these. While these are useful, however, they may compromise the appearance of your gloves -particularly if your gloves are light in colour.

How to shrink wool gloves

The MOST important thing to remember is that, protection or not, if your gloves do happen to get very wet, NEVER TO DRY THEM WITH EXTERNAL HEAT i.e a radiator, a fire or a tumble dryer. Your gloves should be left to dry in their own time to prevent them from cracking and drying out. Leave them be. they know what they’re doing.

Once your gloves are dry, we would suggest rubbing in some neutral leather creme so keep them soft. Leather cremes are available to buy in most of your local department stores.

How to clean leather gloves

Like most things with high quality leather, cleaning or washing your leather gloves should be done with the upmost care and only if absolutely necessary.

The colours are always delicate because the skins are “full blossom” – tanning and dying additives are natural and so fixing the colour is fine but washing with inappropriate chemical additives will damage the gloves.

However, if your gloves have been lightly marked and you do wish to clean them, the following steps may work.

  • Prepare a lukewarm solution using pure soap flakes – such as ‘Lux’.
  • Gently wipe down your leather glove, using a cloth rather than a sponge that will crumble.
  • Never wash them in a washing machine or fully submerge them in water.
  • Allow them to dry naturally & as they are drying put them on the hands of the glove wearer a couple of times to allow the gloves to stretch and to restore to the appropriate fit.

How to prevent stretch with leather gloves

Over the years we’ve had many people ask, ‘how do I prevent my leather gloves from stretching?’ and we have a simple answer to this. ‘you shouldn’t have to’.

Leather is nature’s gift to the glove maker. It’s natural elasticity and recovery allows the hand to pass through the narrow part of the glove and then for the glove to reform around the hand and wrist.

It is the glove cutter’s skill in selecting the right piece of leather for each different part of the glove and then preparing the leather so that it retains exactly the right amount of elasticity that makes for a perfect leather glove.

So our advice to you would be – make the investment for in a high quality pair of gloves that will last a lifetime, and make sure to pick the correct size glove for your hand. Do this and you should never have to worry about your gloves stretching out of shape.

How to clean the lining of leather gloves

At Cornelia James, our gloves are lined with either silk, wool or cashmere for extra comfort and warmth. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the leather, they should not be fully submerged in water and therefore it is rather tricky to clean the lining.

We would advise against attempting to clean the lining of your gloves, as you are quite likely to damage them. Should you feel that you need to clean them, we would suggest taking them to a specialist dry cleaners.

High quality leather gloves should last a lifetime. For us, only the best will do. Our leather comes from Pittards, the doyen of gloving leather, and some natural tanneries in Italy, where there is a centuries long tradition of tanning. They truly are, the best of the best. But. don’t just take our word for it – why not see for yourself?

  1. How to Avoid Stretching out Acrylic Sweaters
  2. Care Instructions for Voile Fabric
  3. How to Get Acrylic Off of Cuticles
  4. How to Shrink 100 Percent Cotton Brief Underwear
  5. How to Get the Stiffness Out of Corduroy Pants

How to shrink wool gloves

Clothing made from acrylic is a common fashion staple, particularly throughout the colder months. Acrylic garments are often oversize or bulky in order to provide warmth and a more universal fit than other fashion options. However, acrylic clothing can sometimes prove to be a bit too bulky, but it can be sized down for a more form-fitting look through the process of machine washing and drying.

Check the fabric content on the garment’s tag. If the garment is 100 percent acrylic, it can be washed for longer. If it is blended with wool or other fabrics, it will not require as much time to shrink.

Place the garment in a washing machine alone or with a maximum of three additional items.

Adjust the water temperature to “hot” and place the cycle on “heavy” for pure acrylic or “quick” for blended fabrics. Laundry detergent can be added if desired but is not necessary.

Place the washed garment in the dryer. Turn off any “shrink guard” or “soft heat” options, and time the dryer for 50 to 60 minutes.

Remove the garment from the dryer and try it on. If the garment does not reach the desired size, repeat the process.