How to Shrink Jeans

Is it possible to shrink jeans? Yes, it is! We’ll show you in this guide how to get it done. It’s possible to get certain fabrics to shrink.

It has to be done under the right conditions (washing and drying wise). You could be shrinking your jeans wash after wash and not even notice. What if you want to shrink them permanently? This guide will cover all the details that you’ll need to know. You can even shrink your jeans with or without a dryer. You’ll learn how to do this coming right up.

For now, let’s dive right in and show you how possible it is to shrink jeans in the following ways.

With the Dryer

If you plan on shrinking your jeans using your dryer, follow these steps. Sure, high heat on a washing machine and dryer may not be the smart thing to do. However, it’s the only way you’re going to get this method to work.

First, set the washing machine water temperature to the highest temperature possible. You can add a bit of fabric softener if you like. After it goes through the wash, you’ll want to put the jeans into the dryer.

Make sure it’s a hot tumble dry. You’ll want it at the highest temperature you can. This will take at least a couple of hours. If you need to shrink it down to a much more desirable size, you can repeat this process. 

Boiling Method

At this point, you’re probably raising your eyebrows at the idea. One thing to keep in mind when using this method is that your jeans may lose a bit of color if you boil them for too long.

Take a large pot of boiled water, place your jeans into it while they are inside out, and submerge them in the water. Make sure all of the denim is completely soaked. Have it simmer in the pot for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Stir the jeans periodically. After the time is up, you’ll want to drain the pot of water. Transfer the jeans to your washer and dry them on high heat.

Bath Method

The bath method will be a little easier if the boil method isn’t your cup of tea (no pun intended). This is probably one of the simplest methods that you can use to shrink your jeans. 

Fill your bathtub with hot water (without soap). Now, the next part is going to be really strange. But go with it here. You’re going to want to get in the tub with those jeans on.

You’ll want to soak them completely in the tub until the water cools. After you step out of the tub, shake off the excess water. Your next step will depend on the weather conditions.

If it’s a nice, sunny day outside, then you can walk around with these soaked jeans on. If the jeans feel a bit tight, make sure to do some squats or lunges to get them a bit looser.

If there’s cold weather outside, you’ll want to hang them outside to dry. Or you can remove them and use a hairdryer. You do not want to stand outside in the cold weather while wearing these jeans as you’ll catch a cold (or worse, pneumonia).

While it is the simplest method, it is actually the most time-consuming too. So if you have plenty of time throughout the day, this could be a good one to use.

Using An Iron

If you want to do some precise shrinking (such as shrinking jeans at the calves), use an iron. To do this, you want to dampen the part of the jeans you want shrunken. A wet washcloth will work wonders here instead of just completely dampening them.

Then, turn on the iron with the cotton settings in place and iron over the damp spots. Once dry, try them on and see how it feels.


This method can take a bit of skill. If you have some basic tailoring or sewing skills, you can actually pull this off. Not to mention, it saves you time and money that could be spent on professional alteration.

Otherwise, send them to a tailor or someone who can alter jeans to where they can shrink. Find out who in your local area can be able to do this. You may have to provide specific information on how it can be done. 

Moneywise, it shouldn’t be too expensive. It may be about $30 at best, but the price may vary from one tailor or alteration service to another.

Why Shrink Your Jeans?

There may be some reasons as to why you want to shrink your jeans. Maybe you’ve lost weight and don’t want to give up your favorite pair. Or maybe the size isn’t too far off the mark, but not perfect.

Whatever the reason, shrinking your jeans is possible. Besides, it’s actually a lot better than spending time and money finding a perfect pair that will actually fit you. These methods listed above are trial and error, so it’s worth doing it with a pair of jeans that you don’t mind experimenting with.

Choose a pair of jeans that you’ll want to shrink and use one of the processes above. If the method you like works best for you, stick with it and do the same with your other jeans.

Final Thoughts

We hope this guide on how to shrink your jeans was helpful. Use one of the top five methods listed above and see which one works best for you. Some of them may just sound weird and ridiculous. Yet, they just might work to your advantage. 

You can get this done with or without a dryer. It all depends on what you want. Try it with a pair of loose-fit jeans or a pair you haven’t worn in a while and don’t mind experimenting with. Once you find that perfect fit, you should be satisfied.