How To Shrink Jeans

You can wear a pair of jeans for decades. We’ll bet that somewhere along the line, you will need to shrink them. You’ve probably been there. Maybe you found the perfect pair in the perfect wash, but they were just a little too long. Perhaps your older sister, a close friend, or your mother (who used to be cool) will pass a pair down. You can pass a pair on to your big sister, a close friend, or even your mom (who was cool once?) You may have accidentally purchased a pair of jeans in the wrong size but did not feel like returning to the store. You may have worn the same jeans for five years, or you might be asking a friend to lend you a pair. The more you wear denim, the more it will stretch, especially in areas that are under stress, like your knees or waist.

You may be on a long and winding road, but with a little maintenance of your denim jeans you will always look great. You’ve found the right place if you want to know how to shrink jeans.

When to Shrink Jeans

The original fabric and size of your jeans will determine how much they can be shrunk, as well as for how long. If your jeans are already close to being the right size, you’ll have better success with shrinking them. Hallie Abrams is the founder and stylist of The Wardrobe Consultant. She says that if you want to shrink your denim to more than one size, tailoring will be a better solution. The shrinkage is most noticeable in the length. “The other areas are likely to stretch again due to friction, heat, tension and warmth.”

  1.   Toss them in the wash
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Do jeans shrink? Yes. Do jeans shrink when dried? Heck yeah! Most people — or their parents, or their partners, or their roommates — have stumbled upon this happy-accident-turned-consistent-lifehack. If you haven’t tried it, the process is simple. Just wash your jeans with hot water in the washer, then dry them until completely dry. The heat of the dryer will help shrink them.

Nevertheless, there are a few things to note: First, washing your jeans in the machine will damage them, causing them not to last as long or maintain their color. The drying process damages them more and uses a lot of electricity. Our opinion is that you should wash your jeans no more than 10 times. Some of our staff members go for months without washing their jeans. (Don’t worry, we don’t smell.) You may also want to consider hand washing as an alternative.

  1.   Dry Them in the Dryer
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Heat shrinks fabrics, so the fastest and easiest way to shrink jeans is to place them in the dryer and washer. Put the jeans that you want to shrink in the washer on the highest setting. Add detergent to the wash cycle so that they are also cleaned. It’s the dryer that is important. The key is to use the dryer at maximum heat. It is best to run it through a complete cycle, so that the heat can shrink and tighten the denim.

The washer and dryer trick is a great solution for stretchy jeans that are losing their shape each time you wear them. This is a quick and easy method to shrink denim.

  1.   Boil the Them
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Listen up: This isn’t even the quirkiest way to shrink jeans. It might also be the most enjoyable. We’ve already mentioned that machine washing denim can be a problem because it uses so much water. We’ve got an easy solution for you.

Find a pot that is large enough to accommodate your jeans. Grab the largest pot you can find. Fill it up with water and bring the water to a rolling boil. Save the salt for pasta. Drop your jeans in and let them sit for 30 minutes.

Once they’re dry, remove the pants from the pot with tongs, or a stick if you prefer, and throw them into your dryer. Once the pants are completely dry, you can style them and serve.

  1.   Bathe Them
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We were referring to this “quirky method”. It’s not just for fun.

You don’t need to wash your jeans often. When you do wash your jeans, make sure you use it wisely. These jeans are made from raw denim. This means that the denim has not been dyed. They are more durable because they have not been pre-shrunk during production. This does not mean that they will never shrink. They will shrink if you wash them. If you soak them in a tub, they will shrink and break-in just right.

If you are buying raw denim, be sure to buy jeans that fit your waist size, but two to three sizes larger in length. Fill the tub up with warm water and put on your jeans. You can bring a book or even your phone to read while you soak for about 30 minutes. Keep your jeans on while you wait for them to dry completely. This method is not recommended if you are in a hurry to leave the house. The denim will contour and soften around your body. You’ll have some of the most perfectly fitting jeans without needing to go to a tailor.

  1.   Iron Them
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We’ve also got a dirty and quick shrinking job. Many of us have probably discovered this trick accidentally, just like when we wash our jeans. This tactic can be used to “spot-reduce” the size of your bum, waistband and knees.

You can tighten your jeans by dampening the area with water and ironing it. This method is only recommended for small shrinkage patches. If you need more, use one of the other methods.

  1.   Bring Your Jeans to a Tailor
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A denim tailor can fix a specific problem with your jeans, such as a gaping waistband. She says that shrinking one part of an item in DIY can be difficult. “I wouldn’t recommend it,” she adds. The fabric content in your denim will also affect the outcome. If they have more than 1% or 2% elastane, then your jeans are more likely to stretch again. Abrams explains that the cotton is what will cause the jeans to shrink. “A denim made of 100 percent cotton will shrink and stay smaller for longer wears.”

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