9 Simple Steps to Shrink Pants Update 06/2022

After losing a lot of weight, it’s exciting to find old jeans that used to fit you but are now too big around your waist, but how do you get those pants to fit you again? One of the simplest ways to reduce the size of jeans that are too big is to just cut them. There are numerous simple methods for shrinking pants, one of them is to put them in your washing machine and dryer!

Most pants shrink one to three sizes when they are heated in a hot dryer, boiled water, or ironing procedure to shrink the fabric fibers. Wet sheets, soaking in water, and commercial treatments are just a few other options for shrinking. When shrinking some fabrics, such as wool and polyester, care must be taken.

You’ll discover nine straightforward methods for shrinking pants in this post. You’ll learn what causes different types of fabric to shrink, and how to prevent it. There are also instructions for shrinking specific types of pants, such as chinos and wool trousers, in the final section.

How To Shrink Pants

How to Shrink Pants That Are Too Big

You can use heat and/or moisture to shrink pants that are overly big in a variety of ways. When a garment is exposed to heat and moisture, the fibers in the fabric will contract, reducing the overall size of the garment.

However, different varieties of cloth react to heat and moisture in different ways. When cotton is subjected to heat, such as in a clothes dryer, it shrinks dramatically. Although you can shrink wool in the dryer, it can compress too much when washed.

As a result, before attempting to shrink your jeans or trousers, learn what kind of fabric they are composed of. Reading the label embroidered inside the clothing, generally at the back of the waist, will provide you with the information you need. 100% cotton, 100% polyester, or some other fabric type will be listed here as an option.

Later in this post, you’ll learn how to shrink pants made of various materials.

You can also evaluate how much smaller you want your pants to be before making a decision. The shrinking process can’t be precisely controlled in most approaches. It’s possible that if you put your jeans in the dryer, one leg may shrink more than the other!

If you’re only interested in shrinking the waistband of your trousers, you’ll want to choose an ironing approach or a wet sheet method that allows for more exact shrinking.

Finally, is it possible to decrease your jeans to a size that will actually suit you? About one size can be reduced by most approaches. As an example, if you soak your pants in boiling water, they may shrink up to three sizes, but you’re unlikely to get them any smaller!

If you want a pair of pants several sizes smaller, you’ll either have to have them tailored or buy new ones.

Conversely, if you’ve recently realized that your favorite jeans are a tad too large in the waist, you can quickly shrink them down to a perfect fit!

How to Shrink Pants: 9 Methods

How to shrink pants in the wash

It is possible to shrink your jeans in a variety of ways, depending on your time constraints and how much smaller you desire. Whatever your washing machine and ironing situation, you’ll be able to discover a simple solution here.

1. Washing

Washing your jeans is the quickest and easiest way to shrink them. It is possible for many garments to shrink a small amount if the water temperature is set to the maximum. The dryer approach might further reduce your jeans or trousers, but the strong heat in the dryer may reduce your items more than you desire!

You may shrink most cotton clothing by using hot water in your washing machine. It’s probably not a good idea to use this procedure on clothing made of wool or with a lot of elastic. Synthetic textiles, such as polyester, will not be as effective as natural fibers.

For washing machine shrinkage of trousers:

  1. Prior to starting any project, measure the waist and leg length of your jeans or trousers. Using this method, you may quickly determine if the downsizing process worked.
  2. Put your pants and any other items that can handle hot water into the washing machine. Avoid using cotton sheets or other goods that can shrink in the dryer! The standard amount of washing detergent should be used.
  3. Set the temperature of the machine to the highest setting available. Adding a pre-wash soak can extend the time your pants spend in hot water, which can help you shrink them by a full size or more.
  4. Complete the wash cycle in the washer, and you’re done.
  5. After taking the wet pants out of the washing machine, re-measure them to see if they have shrunk. They may have become wet, so hang them up to dry out. You may wish to try drying the pants if the first procedure did not yield the results you were hoping for.

2. In the Dryer

Drying your pants is yet another simple method for reducing their size. Cloth fibers can shrink in size by constricting under the pressure of heat and friction during a tumble dry cycle. Clothing can shrink significantly if exposed to enough heat and motion.

Using a hot water cycle in the washing machine is the best way to reduce the size of your pants. After that, put them in a hot drier for at least 30 minutes.

In order to reduce the size of your jeans or trousers, you can either put them in the dryer for 30 minutes, or wash them in cold water and then dry them.

Using the dryer method is a great way to shrink clothing, but be aware that it can get out of hand quickly!

3. Without Washing/Wearing

To avoid having to wash your jeans, you can shrink them while they’re still wet on your skin! You’ll need to set aside a peaceful evening at home before trying the shrink-while-wearing procedure.

Denim jeans respond particularly well to this method.

This approach is the most enjoyable, in my opinion. While shrinking your pants, you may even set up a TV show or a bottle of wine.

  1. Put on your oversized jeans first. Be sure to remove any watches or jewelry that could be damaged by water before starting this project, as you will be getting wet.
  2. Put some hot water in your bathtub. Hotter than your skin can handle is ideal for this purpose.
  3. Once you’ve gotten into the water, sit down in your jeans and relax. Bring a book or phone to keep yourself occupied while you’re in the tub for a couple of hours!
  4. Turn up the heat and drain some of the water if it starts to chill. Then refill the tub with the hotter water.
  5. Drain the tub after a few hours and stand up to allow some of the water to drip off of your pants before drying them off. Gently press out the residual moisture with a towel.
  6. Finally, it is recommended that you keep the jeans on until they are completely dry. As the jeans begin to dry to your shape, they will shrink in size, so don’t worry if they seem moist and sticky at this point.

4. Without Dryer/Iron

In the event that you don’t want to put your pants in the dryer, you can use an iron on the steam setting to shrink specific areas of the garments instead. This method works best if you only want to shorten the waist or the leg opening of your pants, as it allows you greater control over the process.

  1. Using an ironing board, iron the excess fabric from your pants or jeans. Prepare your iron for steaming by filling it with water.
  2. Turn on your iron’s steam setting to its highest level.
  3. The iron should be held just above the fabric, not touching it at all. Allow the steam to wet the fabric in each of your target regions for a brief moment.
  4. Let the jeans or trousers cool on the ironing board till dry after you’ve turned off the iron and turned off the heat.

5. Warm Water Soak

In this article, the warm water soak method is the most time-consuming, but it performs an excellent job of evenly shrinking the pants. You won’t have to worry about one leg of your pants being longer than the other anymore thanks to this trick!

  1. In order to do this, you’ll need an adequate-sized bathtub, or a large sink with an attached drain plug. To begin, add boiling water until the container is roughly two-thirds full. Don’t worry about the water getting too hot or too chilly!
  2. Take the pants out of the water and place them in the warm water.
  3. Soak the pants in water for at least one night. It’s going to take some time!
  4. Remove the pants from the tub of water in the morning, and do it with care. Instead of wringing them out, let them soak in the tub for a few minutes to avoid stretching the fibers you just shrunk.
  5. To dry the jeans, spread them out on a large bath towel. When the jeans are no longer wet, they can be hung up to dry naturally.

6. Boiling

Boiling a pair of jeans can shrink them significantly. In order to successfully lose a whole size of pants, you should only attempt this strategy.

If you don’t have a lot of room on your stovetop, this method isn’t for you. You must also use extreme caution in order to prevent getting burned by hot water.

  1. Fill a large, clean pot two-thirds of the way with water. You’ll want to leave a little extra room for your jeans, too.
  2. Set the stove to a high temperature and place the pot on it. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When the water reaches this point, you will observe bubbles frothing on the surface.
  3. Turn off the stove’s heat and lift the pot off of it.
  4. The pants should be lowered into the boiling water with care. As long as you want to shrink them, soak them for anything from 5 to 25 minutes.
  5. Slowly empty the pot into the sink when you’ve finished using the pot.
  6. Carefully remove the hot pants from the saucepan using tongs. Put the pants back in the pot after you’ve drained the leftover water to make transportation easier.
  7. You have the option of letting the pants air dry or using the dryer to reduce their size even further.

7. Hair Dryer

Use a hairdryer to shrink your pants when you’re on the road and don’t have access to a washing machine, dryer, or stovetop. Even while you can use this procedure to shrink just the waistband of your trousers, it’s impractical to do it on the entire thing.

  1. Spray the area you want to dampen using a water bottle. A cold-water washing cycle in your washing machine can also be used to dampen the jeans or pants before using this procedure.
  2. A huge bath towel works well for this. Your hairdryer’s cable should be able to quickly reach your desk if you’re working near a power outlet.
  3. It’s time to crank up the heat on your hairdryer. If you wish to reduce the size of a section, simply sweep it back and forth over the fabric.
  4. Keep going until you can no longer feel the dampness in the fabric!

8. Wet Sheet

The quickest technique to shrink pants is to iron over a wet sheet. It works like magic!

  1. As opposed to wetting your pants, soak a clean sheet in warm water, then squeeze out as much moisture as possible.
  2. Use a bath towel or ironing board to lay out your clothes.
  3. Apply the damp sheet to the top and smooth it out.
  4. Repeatedly iron the damp sheet until it feels dry, going back and forth until the sheet is completely dry.
  5. Try on your jeans once they’ve cooled down to see whether they fit any smaller!

9. Commercial Products

In some circumstances, it may be more convenient to utilize a commercial product to reduce the size of your jeans. It is possible to shrink garments using commercial solutions like Woolite or RNK Sew Shrink, which induce the fibers of particular materials to contract.

Commercial shrinking agents only work with a limited number of fabrics, so you’ll need to study product descriptions carefully.

In addition, you may want to consider hiring a professional tailor to make the necessary adjustments to your pants. A experienced tailor can easily reduce the size of your garments to a perfect fit.

How to Shrink 8 Different Kinds of Pants

How to Shrink Cotton Pants

There are many different ways to shrink pants, and each one has its own unique properties when it comes to shrinking. When it comes to denim jeans vs polyester pants, for example, you can utilize the exact same method.

1. Cotton Pants

To shrink cotton pants, all you have to do is put them in the dryer. Because cotton absorbs moisture so readily, it has a remarkable ability to expand and contract. Because of this, you’ll be able to receive excellent results with whichever approach you choose.

To avoid having capris instead of full-length pant legs, be careful not to overshrink your cotton clothes when shrinking it.

Cotton can be safely ironed or dried on a high heat setting. No need to worry about it melting or charring. As long as you keep an eye on it and measure the waist occasionally, you should have no problem with overshrinking your pants.

2. Wool Pants

Wool pants can be easily shrunk using a dryer and careful monitoring. When lowering the size of a wool garment, more care must be used because it can condense significantly or convert into felt if mistreated. A “dry clean only” label is found on the inside of most wool garments, which is a good thing!

Wool has small scales all over it that can lock together when the fibers stretch and rub against each other because of heat or friction. Using hot water to wash a wool sweater can cause it to shrink from an extra-large to a small size! Use a mesh laundry bag to protect the wool fibers if you wash your wool trousers in the machine.

As it dries, you can gently bend the wool into a smaller shape using the warm water soak. Wool pants can be washed in the dryer for about five minutes at a time, which is the most convenient alternative. Keep a close eye on them to determine if they’ve shrunk enough.

3. Linen Pants

Linen pants can be easily shrunk by soaking them in warm water for a few hours. Linen, like cotton, has a great absorption capacity for moisture, making shrinkage and stretching simple tasks.

Once the linen pants have been soaked in warm water, they can be dried in the dryer on a low setting or laid out flat on a towel to finish drying.

In order to avoid damaging the delicate fabric, you should avoid wringing out the linen while it is damp.

4. Yoga Pants

You can use either the washing machine approach or the hairdryer method to shrink your yoga pants back to their original size.

Yoga pants made of cotton can be washed in a hot cycle in the washing machine. In most cases, this results in a size reduction of half to a full size.

The pants may shrink even more if you put them in the dryer as well. Check on them after about twenty minutes in the dryer to make sure they don’t shrink too much.

You should avoid using hot water or a hot dryer if you have tight legging-style yoga trousers that contain spandex. If you’re willing to take the risk, this method will shrink them. Heat, on the other hand, will weaken and destroy the elastic fibers, causing them to lose their elasticity much earlier than normal.

Try using a hairdryer instead. Apply a hairdryer to the waistband of the yoga pants to shrink the fabric.

5. Jeans

Since cotton is the primary component of denim, shrinking jeans is a snap utilizing any of the methods presented here! The wear-and-soak approach is one of the greatest ways to get a custom-fit pair of jeans. Yes, you must wear wet denim for a few hours, but it actually works!

To shrink only a certain section of your jeans, try ironing them through a wet sheet in essential locations.

Nonetheless, a large number of jeans now contain a significant amount of elastic fibers. You should avoid using any procedure that involves a lot of heat if you’re wearing tight-fitting pants. They will lose their elasticity over time if they are exposed to too much heat.

6. Leather Pants

Leather pants can be securely shrunk in your dryer! Putting the jeans on for five minutes is all you need.

First, you will want to soak your leather pants in a bucket of cool water for about ten minutes. Then, using a towel, gently remove any remaining moisture from the pants and set them in the dryer.

7. Polyester Pants

After soaking your leather pants for around 10 minutes in a pail of cool water, you’ll want to dry them off. Press out any remaining damp with a towel, then set the pants in the dryer.

Due to the fact that polyester is a synthetic fabric created from a type of plastic, shrinking is difficult to do.

The conundrum here is that polyester can be melted or scorched by the incorrect kind of heat. Polyester pants are not suitable for ironing. Even if your iron has a particular polyester setting, you still run the risk of ruining your pants due to the high temperature.

8. Chinos

Cotton-based khaki chinos are the most common form of chinos. In hot water or in the dryer, these pants are prone to shrinkage. Chinos, on the other hand, shrink the most the first time they are washed and less each subsequent time.

One of the dangers of shrinking chinos in really hot water is that they could lose their sleek appearance and look dull and worn. You may want to target specific areas to shrink, such as the waist. You can then use the ironing method or the hairdryer approach to heat only those areas that need it.

How to Shrink Pants to Make Them Shorter

How to Shrink Jeans and Pants Waist

One of the dangers of shrinking chinos in really hot water is that they could lose their sleek appearance and look dull and worn. You may want to target specific areas to shrink, such as the waist. You can then use the ironing method or the hairdryer approach to heat only those areas that need it.

  1. As a result of shrinking chinos in extremely hot water, they may lose their smooth aspect and appear worn and dull. In order to slim down, you may want to focus on a specific area, like your waist. That way, you can only heat up those specific areas with an iron or a hair dryer.
  2. Clean a towel with a mild detergent and wring out the pants.
  3. Spray a spray bottle with one-quarter cup of fabric softener and three-quarters of a cup of hot water.
  4. If you wish to reduce the size of the legs, spritz the knees or the opening of the legs with the solution.
  5. Rinse and dry the pants by placing them in a washing machine.

Any cotton pants, including jeans, should work with this procedure.

How to Shrink Pants By One Size

To shrink your jeans by one size, there isn’t an ideal method. However, you can use any of the procedures outlined in this article to shrink a piece of clothing.

Before you begin, take a measurement of your pants. The waist measurement, the thigh measurement, and the length of the pant legs should all be noted down for future reference.

As you try to reduce the size of the pants, you might take another measurement. That way, you won’t have to worry about your pants shrinking too much in the dryer or iron.

How to Shrink Jeans and Pants Waist

You can decrease the waist of your jeans or pants in a variety of ways, including using the boiling method or the wet sheet or hairdryer procedures.

Just the waist of your jeans should be lowered into the kettle of hot water when using this approach. For the hot water to do its job, you’ll need to hold the pants in that position for five to ten minutes! If you’d like them completely dry, you can throw them in the dryer for around twenty minutes.

This procedure can also be used to target just the waistband of your jeans or pants, if you want. Your waist will shrink, but your jeans will not shrink at all if you don’t use a hair dryer or an iron on them!

Can You Permanently Shrink Jeans?

Sadly, at-home shrinking of jeans isn’t possible. If you use any of the ways in this article, you may simply shrink your jeans, but the results will only endure for a short time. As a result, denim will ultimately return to its original size.

When it comes to keeping your jeans in the right size, there are a few things you can do.

When it comes to washing your jeans, you should only do it if it is really required. They will be able to maintain their original shape rather than expanding.

To further prevent your jeans from sagging at the waist or knees, you can use a hairdryer to shrink only that portion of the garment that is showing signs of sagging. So you can go back to business right away and get the problem resolved.

Finally, think about having your jeans cleaned at a dry cleaning. It is possible that in rare situations, professional dryers can permanently shrink your jeans.


Basic laundry products can be used to shrink pants and jeans at home. The dryer is the most convenient method for shrinking most types of pants! Alternatively, you can use a pot of boiling water, hot water in the washing machine, or a heated overnight soak to shrink your pants. Using a hairdryer or an iron through a damp sheet can help you shrink a specific section of your pants.

When it comes to shrinkage, some fabrics are more susceptible than others. Unlike wool, which must be treated gently, cotton and cotton-based fabrics like denim are notoriously prone to shrinkage, polyester is impervious to shrinkage. Any leggings or stretch denim that contain elastic fibers must be handled with care when shrinking.

Do you know how to shrink pants? How did you go about it? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

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