How to Shrink Clothes

How do you shrink clothes? The answer is that it depends on the fabric the clothes contain. 

There are different ways to do this. There is no one way to shrink clothes. In other words, if you can shrink one fabric a certain way, it won’t happen with another type of fabric.

Why do you want to shrink clothes? It can be because you want it to fit, and the size is a tad bit large. Not to worry, you’ll learn these tricks for yourself so that your piece of clothing is well-fitted.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to shrink certain types of clothing. So let’s cut to the chase and discuss how to shrink clothes based on the type of material they contain.

Shrinking with Cotton

If you have clothes made from 100 percent cotton, you want to shrink them using these steps:

  • Wash the clothes in hot water.
  • Place them inside the dryer and make sure the heat setting is on high.
  • Check on a periodic basis during the cycle to ensure that it doesn’t over shrink.
  • Once it’s at the desirable size, switch the heat level to low and dry it for the remaining time.

Shrinking with Synthetic Fabrics

These synthetic brands include but are not limited to polyester, rayon, nylon, and other fabrics. Let’s take a look at how to shrink these types of fabrics:

  • Wash in cold water. Hot water can cause damage to the seams.
  • Throw it in the dryer and set the heat to high.
  • Check on it periodically during the drying cycle.
  • If it reaches desirable size, set heat to low and let it run for the remaining time.

As you can see, the major difference in the method is the water temperature. Use hot water for cotton and cold water for synthetics.

What if the Clothing Doesn’t Shrink?

Sometimes, a piece of clothing won’t shrink after it’s run through the washer and dryer. This may be due to the fact that they are either old garments or designed to be pre-shrunk.

To mitigate this issue, you’ll want to do the following:

  • Boil water and pour it on the clothing you are trying to shrink. Make sure the entire article of clothing is soaked.
  • With protection, carefully transfer the article of clothing into the washer. Since the water is still hot, make sure you don’t burn yourself.
  • Run it through a hot wash cycle. Add a small amount of detergent.
  • Dry on high heat and check on the size periodically.


We hope this guide on how to shrink your clothes has helped you. It’s easy to do if you know what kind of fabrics you are using and if you are performing the process right. Once you know the fabric, you choose which water temperature to go with.

Nine times out of ten, the steps listed above will usually work. Try this on a piece of clothing to test it out and see how it goes.