How to Shrink Denim Jeans

How a pair of jeans fits makes the difference between feeling relaxed and comfortable or the irritating feeling of knowing they just do not look right. Every effort should be made to purchase jeans that fit properly, but when that bargain is too good to pass up or that perfect pair of jeans is just a bit too big, you may need to shrink the material for a proper fit. Although there is no guarantee that you can get the perfect fit from shrinking your jeans, there are a few things you can do to shrink denim.

How to Shrink Denim Jeans

Things You'll Need

  • New jeans

  • Washer

  • Stockpot

  • Dryer

Step 1

How to Shrink Denim Jeans

Wash new jeans in hot soapy water. Set your washing machine to the hottest setting and allow it to fill. Add the jeans and agitate for 2 minutes. Turn the machine off and allow the jeans to soak in the hot water for a half-hour. Complete the washing cycle as usual.

Step 2

How to Shrink Denim Jeans

Consider washing the jeans in boiling water in large stockpot on the stove if higher temperatures are needed. Once the water boils, turn off the heat and allow the jeans to soak until the water is cooled. Place in the washer and run through the rinse and spin cycles.

Step 3

How to Shrink Denim Jeans

Remove the jeans and place in the dryer on the highest heat setting. Dry the jeans completely. Check the jeans for shrinkage. If they are still too big, place them back in the dryer and run on high heat for 10 minutes. Repeat until jeans have reached the degree of shrinkage you require.


Results vary. Many jeans are already preshrunk and may produce minimal shrinkage.


Monitor the jeans carefully while drying. Stop the dryer and allow them to cool for several minutes before drying for longer periods.