How To Shrink Your Jeans

Whether you’ve lost weight or your favorite jeans have expanded in all the wrong places, learning how to shrink your jeans can turn a so-so pair into your favorite pair. Jeans will shrink width-wise before they shrink length-wise because of the way the fabric is woven, making it safe to shrink your jeans without fear of making them too short. And there are tricks you can use to shrink your jeans into a perfect fit that custom fits your special curves. Here’s everything you need to know about how to shrink your jeans for a perfect fit.

Here’s what you’ll need to shrink your jeans:

  • Washing machine or basin
  • Hot water
  • Wooden cooking spoon
  • Rubber gloves
  • Clothes dryer or pants hanger
  • Shrink-to-Fit Jeans (optional)
  1. Shrink your jeans with a washing machine.  Place your jeans in the washing machine on the smallest cycle and fill with hot water. Stop the cycle before the water drains, and allow the jeans to soak in the hot water for 10 minutes. Repeat this step again with fresh hot water to keep the temperature high.
  2. Shrink your jeans by hand. Fill a basin or your bathtub with 8 inches of boiling water and be careful to avoid splashing. Press the jeans in with a wooden spoon and stir gently to submerge the jeans completely. Allow to soak for 10 minutes, then repeat this step with fresh boiling water to sustain a high temperature.
  3. Shrink your jeans with a clothes dryer. Place the wet jeans in your clothes dryer and select the hottest setting to optimize shrinkage. Even after the jeans are dry, turn the dryer on again for another 15 minutes to increase the heat and shrink your jeans further.
  4. Shrink your jeans naturally. Hang your wet jeans with a pants hanger to dry in the sun or a warm bathroom. After several hours, when the jeans are only moist, put them on and wear them to mold the jeans to your curves. Avoid sitting on white surfaces that your moist jeans might stain.
  5. Keep shrinking your jeans. With wear, even jeans that you shrink will begin to expand again. Wash your jeans regularly in hot water to keep the fibers taut and repeat the shrinking steps above every few weeks.
  6. Shrink-to-Fit Jeans. For jeans that were designed to be shrunk, choose Shrink-to-Fit jeans. These come with the manufacturers recommendations for shrinking the jeans to fit your figure. After washing the jeans in hot water, drip dry them over your bathtub. After 1 hour, wear the jeans for 30 minutes to shape the fibers, then allow the jeans to dry until moist. Finally, wear the jeans again, allowing them to dry fully on your body to lock in the shape of your figure into the fibers of your shrunk jeans.


  • When you shrink your jeans at high temperatures the zipper, buttons and any other metal accessories will become scolding hot. Be careful not to touch your hot jeans with your bare hands. Use thick rubber gloves for insulation.
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