The fluffy fibers of cotton yarn will shrink and stiffen after a few washes and wearings, but you can soften stiff sweaters and make them wearable again. Drying sweaters on a clothesline or washing them incorrectly will stiffen cotton garments quickly. Even preshrunk cotton sweaters can stiffen over time. Soften up an uncomfortable cotton pullover or cardigan with special washing and drying techniques. For the best results, wash your cotton sweaters after every three wearings.
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Machine-wash the cotton sweater in cold or warm water using the gentle cycle. Place the sweater in a lingerie bag to protect buttons, zippers and embellishments.
Remove the sweater from the washing machine after the wash cycle is completed. Squeeze out any excess water.
Fill a plastic bucket or tub with lukewarm water and three tablespoons of conditioner.
Press the sweater into the water and allow it to sit for 30 minutes.
Rinse the sweater out in clean, cool water. Squeeze the water from the sweater with your hands, then roll the sweater in a fluffy towel.
Spread the sweater out over a fresh, dry towel to dry. Smooth out the wrinkles with your hands.