How to Shrink Pants to Get the Perfect Fit

When we wear our pants a couple of times, they tend to slack and become unfit. Shrinking your pants is an easy and quick way to get them back to what they used to be.

How to Shrink Different Pants Materials

All pants have different fabrics used to make them, and it is important to know that you have to shrink these fabrics based on their type. Here are ways to shrink different materials of pants.

How to Shrink Wool Pants 

Wool Pants

Generally, wool is a natural fiber, and because it is soft, warm, and easy to clean, it also makes it easier to shrink. Here are steps to shrinking your wool pants.

  • Turn your pants inside out and place them in a washer. Set the washer to warm water and wash for about 20 minutes. You could add detergent if your pants were initially dirty.
  • After washing, bring the pants from the washer and place them in the dryer. Set your dryer to a regular heat setting and allow them to dry. The heat will allow them to shrink better.
  • After you’re done, put the pants on a hanger and allow them to dry. 
  • You might need to repeat this process about two to three times. This is because, with wool, you can’t just turn on the heat to a very high temperature, unlike cotton. You have to shrink the pants slowly and at a steady temperature until you get your desired result.

How to Shrink Cotton Pants 

Cotton Pants

The steps to shrink cotton pants are as follows:

  • Turn your pants inside out and place them in a washer. Cotton can survive even at a hot temperature, so you can set your washer to a hot water setting. Wash for about 20 minutes. 
  • After washing, take them out of the washer and place them in a dryer. Set your dryer to the hottest setting and dry for about 30 minutes.
  • After they’re dry, spread the pants flat on a hanger and allow them to dry. Then try them on to see if they fit.
  • If you are not satisfied with the result after you’re done with this process, you can repeat it.

How to Shrink Denim Pants 

Denim Pants

Unlike cotton and wool fabric, denim is difficult to shrink because of its thick texture. You can shrink them by either washing them in a washing machine or putting them on to shrink.

Shrink Washing

The steps to shrink your denim pants by washing them are as follows:

  • Place your pants in your washer and wash them at the hottest temperature.
  • Put them in the dryer after washing and set your dryer to its hottest temperature to shrink properly.
  • Spread them flat on the hanger after they’re dry. You can repeat as much as you want if you’re unsatisfied with the result.

Shrinking by Wearing

The steps to shrink your denim shorts or pants while wearing them are as follows:

  • First, put on the jeans you want to shrink
  • Fill a bathtub with hot, not burning water. Ensure the water temperature is comfortable enough for you to soak yourself in. 
  • Go into the bathtub with the jeans on you, and ensure they’re fully submerged.
  • Stay in the bathtub for a few hours before getting up from it. Also, try to keep the water hot by draining it when it’s getting cool and replacing it with a hotter one.
  • Make sure you can feel the pants mold to your body before getting up from the tub.
  • After a few hours, get up from the tub, put off the pants, and dry them. You can use a dryer to dry it, to make it shrink better.

How to Shrink Linen Pants 

Linen Pants

The steps to shrink linen pants are as follows:

  • Put your pants in the washer, and wash with hot, but not boiling water. 
  • After washing, place it in the dryer and tumble-dry at a high temperature. Pure linen shrinks about 4-10%. It’s best to check the instructions on the fabric before washing too.

Tailoring your Pants 

Another way to make your pants look fitted is if you take them to a seamstress/tailor to help you tailor them to your desired size. The tailor will take your measurements and sew the pants to your taste.

Factors to Consider Before Shrinking your Pants

Some factors to consider before shrinking your pants include the following: 

Shrinking Has Limits 

It’s normal to think you can shrink your pants to the perfect size you want; however, there’s a limit to which your pants will shrink. Extra-large pants will not shrink to a small size, and you might need to take them to the tailor.


Before shrinking your fabric, you must know the kind of material you want to shrink and how to go about it before attempting to shrink. Moreover, some fabrics are more heat tolerant, so you should shrink your fabric based on the preferred method.

Care Tag 

All pants come with a tag on the back trousers that gives instructions on how to use and wash them. Some tags will instruct on whether you should also wash with high or low heat.

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