How to Shrink Sweatpants at Home: 8 Easy Methods

Sweatpants are super comfortable and perfectly wearable for exercise, lounging around the house, or sleeping. But these loose-fitting pants can get too loose (big and baggy) over time, especially when you wear them a lot. Fortunately, there are several quick and easy ways to shrink your sweatpants back to their original fitting size.

Methods Of Shrinking Sweatpants

Green Sweatpants

Some simple methods to shrink your sweatpants are as follows:

Method 1 — Washing Machine

Running your sweatpant through the washing machine (set at a hot temperature) shrinks it effectively.

The steps to apply this method are as follows:

  • For a very effective outcome, pre-soak your sweatpant first in hot water, then set your washer on the hottest temperature.
  • Use a color-fast detergent to avoid your sweatpant fading color in hot water.
  • Do not miss the end of the washing circle. Remove your sweatpants from the washing machine immediately and place them in the dryer.
  • If you don’t want your sweatpants to be too shrunk, spread them on a clean towel to air dry.
  • You can repeat this method all the way through if the pants need to shrink more.

Note: Most clothes can only shrink by one size, as the fibers’ expansion and contraction are limited.

Method 2 — The Dryer

The dryer is one of the best ways to easily shrink clothes like cotton fleece sweatpants. It works by providing the cloth with heat and friction. The steps to shrink sweatpants using a dryer are as follows:

  • Spritz your sweatpants with a spray bottle of clean water, then run them through a dryer circle.
  • Set your dryer to the hottest temperature; the heat should shrink your sweatpants.

Method 3 — Boiling Water

Boiling water reaches a temperature of 212°f, which can cause almost any type of material to shrink. Overheating helps your fabric’s stretched fibers to relax, which causes it to shrink. This powerful method requires careful handling of very hot objects.

The steps to apply this method are as follows:

  • Find a large pot your sweatpant can easily fit in and fill it with around three-quarters of water. 
  • Place the pot on your stove and turn it on.
  • When your water reaches 212°f, use long wooden spoons to carefully lower your sweatpants into the water.
  • Use the wooden spoons to stir the sweatpants in the water, ensuring the pants are fully submerged. Then turn off the burner and remove the pot.
  • Leave your sweatpants to soak in hot water for about 5-10 minutes. For maximum results, let your sweatpant soak for about 20 minutes.
  • Consider putting a lid over the pot to trap the heat.
  • Use potholders to carry the pot to a sink and pour out its content. Leave sweatpants in the sink to cool for a few minutes before picking them up.
  • Once the sweatpants become cool, squeeze tightly to remove excess water. 
  • You can use the dryer method for maximum results or hang them to air dry if you do not want further shrinking.

Method 4 — Steam Iron

Steam Iron

Steam iron is effective for shrinking sweatpants, but you need to be cautious with this method; not all sweatpants can handle the heat. Follow the steps below to shrink your sweatpants using a steam iron:

  • Place your sweatpant on an ironing board. Use a regular table if you spread a bath towel padding on the surface.
  • Set your iron following the instructions on its package. Many Irons require distilled water in their steamer to avoid mineral buildup. Turn it on, set it to the hottest steam setting available, and wait until it indicates it is heated up.
  • Place iron on the sweatpants and run back and forth motion slowly but constantly. This will allow the steam to infiltrate the fabric.
  • Once you finish one side, turn the pants inside out and iron from the reverse side.
  • Let the sweatpants cool down, then try them on to see if they shrank enough, and if they don’t, repeat the ironing process.

Note: Do not try this method on polyester, nylon, or rayon sweatpants. You should also avoid ironing directly on any vinyl prints on your pants.

Method 5 — Blow Dry (Hair Dryer)

The steps to shrink your sweatpants with a hair dryer are as follows:

  • Wet your sweatpants with hot water. 
  • Ensure the water is evenly saturated in your sweatpants. Allow to cool down, then squeeze out the excess water.
  • Place the sweatpants on a flat, heat-protected surface with close access to an electrical outlet.
  • Plug your blow dryer and turn it on. Ensure it is on the hottest setting available.
  • Carefully take your time and focus on small sections, one at a time. Hold the hair dryer a few inches from your pants, ensuring that the hot air hits the pants directly.

Method 6 — Steamer

A handheld clothing steamer can produce targeted heat and moisture. It is perfect for causing small shrinkage at specific places on your sweatpants. The steps to use this method are as follows:

  • Set up your steamer according to the instructions on the package.
  • Turn on your steamer and select the hottest option.
  • Hang your sweatpants on a rod so you can easily access them.
  • Once the steam is visible, run the nozzle in a back-and-forth motion over the targeted area. Do this for several minutes.
  • Avoid touching fabric with the nozzle, but stay as close as possible to get the steam’s full impact.
  • Turn off the steamer, then allow your pants to air dry on a flat surface.

Method 7 — Fabric Softener

A fabric softener can help shrink your clothes by causing the fibers to relax, making them a little smaller. Combining this property with a heat source can cause a fair amount of shrinkage.

Steps to shrink sweatpants using fabric softener are as follows:

  • Mix a tablespoon of fabric softener in a spray bottle of warm water.
  • Spritz the mixture thoroughly over certain areas of your sweatpants, then dry using a hair dryer.
  • Alternatively, you can add your fabric-softened sweatpants into the dryer machine using the dryer method. This has the benefit of helping you prevent static buildup in your clothes during laundering.

Method 8 — Professional Tailor

Tailor Sewing Sweatpants

A professional tailor will reduce your sweatpants more accurately than other methods. The tailor will take your measurement, remove excess material, and join the seams at a point that makes the sweatpant more fitted.

Read More: How to Shrink a Sweater

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