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Aside from keeping it soft, it smoothes wool fibers so you can block to size easier.
And if you've shrunk something by mistake, soaking with conditioner & blocking without rinsing can often get it back to size.
 

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When I had long hair I used fabric softener in my hair in the winter to help control static. I used it like I would use conditioner.
 

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dialfred said:
Aside from keeping it soft, it smoothes wool fibers so you can block to size easier.
And if you've shrunk something by mistake, soaking with conditioner & blocking without rinsing can often get it back to size.
I wouldn't say it "often" gets it back to size - a lot would depend on how badly shrunk it is. It can help with mild shrinkage.

Mostly, I use a crappy shampoo with conditioner in it that I once bought but didn't like on my hair for all my handwash woolens. I figured, rather than just throw it out, I would try it. After all, hair is hair... (not totally true, but still....)

I've always like the way the conditioner helps to soften the wool. And the shampoo gets even the handwash socks clean again! :)
 

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My worst case that I was able to get back to original size was an all wool crocheted afghan someone washed in the washer & put through a dryer, trying to be helpful. It was pretty bad, short about a foot. Soaked it a long time & gently pulled, and pulled, and pulled, while in the tub. Seemed like an hour. But it did get the size back. I was surprised, as it doesn't always work, as you say. Maybe I was just fortunate.
 

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MaggieBelize said:
Hair conditioner? Why, what does that do for the knitting?
a friend of mine raises alpaca. When I asked her what I should use to wash wool, she looked at me like I was nuts and said, "It's just hair. What do you use to wash hair?" She also said she used the cheap stuff: Suave.

I figure she does this for a living, so she must know something, right?
 
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