How to Shrink Jeans: 5 Best and Simple Ways to Do It at Home

Are you looking for DIY hacks on how to shrink jeans at home? Scroll down to navigate effortless tactics to bring your old loose-fitting jeans back on track.

Aastha Pahadia
Written by Aastha Pahadia , Certified Relationship Coach
Updated on Nov 15, 2023 | 11:21 AM IST | 1M
 How To Shrink Jeans
How To Shrink Jeans

Have you noticed a sudden change in the fit of your favorite pair of jeans? Does your much-loved denim don't fit as well as they used to? Maybe they've gotten a little loose after weekly washes or have gained crinkles from the knee area due to prolonged sitting. There could be several reasons that can turn stretchable denim jeans baggy and slouchy. However, the good news is that you can easily size it down in the comfort of your home. But if you don’t know how to shrink jeans and snap them back to their original shape and size, we bring you a super easy guide to fix the shaggy fitting of your beloved pieces of denim. These techniques require minimal effort and will fix loose waistlines while providing a better and tighter fit.

So, without any further ado, scroll down to find out the best ways to shrink your jeans and turn down their size.

1. Wash And Dry in Hot Water

 How To Shrink Jeans

This is the best way to shrink jeans with absolutely no hassles and chaos. Usually, we don't wash our clothes in hot water because we fear that they will get smaller. But when it comes to shrinking denim, soaking and drying it in hot water can actually be helpful. All you have to do is put your denim into the washing machine, soak it in warm water (temperature can lie between 60 degrees or above), and then let it run in the washer for one or two rounds. When you wash your jeans in hot water and put them through a lot of spinning, the fibers in the jeans will shrink in the wash. Once done, put your jeans in the dryer until the water is soaked.



To shrink denim, you can use your regular laundry detergent and liquid fabric softener to make your jeans smaller. The detergent won't affect the shrinking process, and the fabric softener will help keep up with the jean's quality, making them soft and cosy instead of stiff.

How Much Will Jeans Shrink in Hot Water?

Washing your jeans in hot water can effectively make them one size smaller. This easy solution can shrink the size by 1/2 to 1 inch. However, this way will only provide temporary results other than the change in the length. If your jeans are already short in length, the hot water technique might not be the very best solution to shrink your denim.

2. Take a Hot Bath to Shrink Denim

 How To Shrink Jeans

Take a hot bath wearing the jeans you want to shrink. This method might sound bizarre, but it will give you a perfect and comfortable fit. The fiber of the denim will shrink perfectly around your thighs and hips, creating a snuggly fit. You can go for this technique on the day you want to wear your jeans. But if you are unable to do that on the same day due to cold weather or a short time frame, then you can also plan to shrink your jeans beforehand. Once the wet jeans start drying up, remove them gently and allow them to dry at a hot temperature. You can also run the jeans in the dryer for additional shrinkage. But ensure that you don’t wash it, as this could settle down the fiber while taking it back to its original position.

3. The Boiling Technique

 How To Shrink Jeans

Boiling the jeans in hot water is yet another effective solution to the question of how to shrink jeans in the wash. This way, you get quick and effective results as the boiling warm temperature of the water causes the cotton fibers in the denim to shrink. However, don’t perform the process in a hurry, or you won’t get any significant outcome. This is a time-consuming process wherein less boiling means less reduction in the size of the pants. It's difficult to predict how much your pants will shrink in a certain amount of time. 

For the boiling process, turn your denim inside out, soak it in a pot of sweltering water, and let it aside for 20 to 30 minutes. Use a big ladle or spoon to keep dipping the jeans into the water. You can also dilute some fabric softener into the vessel for added suppleness. After that, toss it into the dryer to get the best shrink results. Use the warmest setting to tighten the fiber at its best. Also, never let your pants air dry after the boiling procedure, as you won’t get any effective results.


4. The Freezing Way

 How To Shrink Jeans

One of the best answers to how to shrink jeans is to put them into the refrigerator. You can plan this procedure one or two nights before the day you want to wear your pants. For this, all you have to do is leave your denim in the freezer overnight or more than a day or two if you want more shrinkage. Then, you can simply take it out and wear it. You will undoubtedly feel a tightened waistline and better fitting after this tactic. However, it does not provide long-lasting results and can only be used when you want decent results in just one day. Never let your cotton pants freeze, as this method can hamper the quality of the cotton fiber, making it stiff, rough, and uncomfortable. If you are in a cold climate, you can simply throw your jeans on the terrace overnight to make your jeans body-hugging.

Another way to tighten your loose denim jeans is using dry ice. Take a clean plastic bag and put your jeans in it. Wrap another plastic baby g around the first and place it between the chunks of dry ice. Ensure that the whole bag is adequately covered with the pieces of ice. You can now leave it alone to shrink it better. After a few hours, take your jeans out and try it. If you need more modification in the size, then repeat the process all over again.

5. Ironing

 How To Shrink Jeans

Start by either washing your loose denim in warm water, just like your regular clothes, or soaking it in a tub or container filled with boiling water. Although both techniques are equally effective, the former is time-saving, flexible, and quicker. If you only want to decrease the size of certain portions, then only immerse those parts of denim in the water. Say, if you want to reduce the waistband, then use a tong to keep it submerged in the boiling water. Both ways require the warmest temperature of the water.

Now, once you are done soaking or washing your denim, put them into the dryer and set the heat setting to the extremes. Make sure that you need to damp the jeans properly. When you remove it from the dryer, it should still be wet, but no water should be dripping.


Once done, remove it from the dryer and moderately heat the iron. Lay your wet jeans on a flat surface and start ironing them until your jeans are all dry. This is not the best way to shrink jeans. However, it will certainly make a slight adjustment to the overall size.


So, now that you know how to shrink jeans in your abode, why not grab your baggy jeans and run them through these DIYs for a great fit? However, before you get started, bear in mind that every method will work differently on different fabrics. Cotton material can get rough and inflexible, while jeans with mixed fabric might reap the best benefits from these techniques as they have great probabilities of shrinking. Moreover, these ways are only ideal for short-term temporary effects. If you are unable to achieve the desired results despite these techniques, then customising it from a tailor might be the best option, as overdoing these will only hamper the material quality. Try the procedures mentioned above to get temporary shrinkage in your pieces of denim and give a decent fitting to your shapeless jeans. To see the effectiveness, you can first try these ways on cheap or super old jeans that you are planning to throw out.



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How to shrink jeans permanently?
No, it’s not possible to shrink the jeans by using home DIYs. Washing, soaking, and drying in hot water might be your best bet to shrink and see the best results. However, with time and regular usage, the fabric will come back to its original size. Altering it with the assistance of a tailor is the only way to decrease its size permanently.

How much can you shrink jeans?
Generally, you can expect your jeans to shrink by 3-4%. The width does not shrink much because less pressure is put in that direction when the fabric is made. But the length of the fabric can decrease by 1-1.25 inches. If you have a pair of jeans that is already shorter in length, then home DIYs might not be the optimum way to shrink jeans.

Do jeans shrink permanently in the dryer?
Unfortunately, jeans can’t be shrunk permanently through the process of drying. It obviously provides good results at the moment when you try this procedure, but the effects won’t be lasting.

Will jeans shrink in hot water?
Washing the jeans in hot water best way to shrink jeans. It can easily shrink the size and length of the jeans. If you don’t want to contract the length of the fabric, then soak the ends in cold water. Also, for more effective results, don’t forget to dry your jeans in the warmest dryer settings. Air drying won’t provide any results, so make sure to tumble dry your material.

Does shrinking jeans ruin them?
Fabrics made mostly of natural fibers like cotton will shrink when exposed to heat. However, synthetic fabrics like polyester and Lyrcra will not shrink but instead, become damaged. Mixed fabric or material made of natural fiber will shrink when it comes under heat contact. But remember that if they keep in touch with warm temperatures for a long time, then even the mixed fabrics can get damaged.

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About The Author
Aastha Pahadia
Aastha Pahadia
Certified Relationship Coach

Aastha is a certified Relationship coach and she strives to help those who seek expert advice on relationships.



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