5 Quick Tips. How to Shrink Clothes?

Useful tips and lifehacks are waiting for you

Written by Olivia Paxton. Updated on How to Shrink Clothes

People usually do their best and take all possible and impossible effort to avoid shrinking their garments. But! Sometimes we may need to do completely the opposite! Yes, you got it right, we’re gonna talk about how to shrink clothes.

Useful tips and lifehacks are waiting for you!

Shrinking Clothes. Why On Earth Are You Doing It?! 

Sounds crazy? Perhaps, but in certain situations, we do need to shrink clothes. 

For instance, our favorite sweater is being worn for too long already but it is still usable and looks nice. The only thing that leaves a bad taste on your mouth is that it became twice as big since it was bought.

Throwing it away? By no means!

In such cases, knowing how to purposely shrink clothes will keep an item wearable and extend its lifespan a little bit more.

How to Shrink Clothing. Methods And Means

The method of shrinking hangs greatly upon the type of fabric we are going to make smaller.

An approach that is fine for cotton may be destructive for wool and what is good for wool will be unacceptable for silk.

However, there are several basic shrinking methods used all the time.

  • Shrinking clothes in a dryer

Heat normally shrinks most of the fabrics more or less equally. Just run the items through the drying cycle on a high heat setting. Be careful to follow the precautious instructions even though this is the simplest way how to shrink clothes in a dryer.

  • Wash-shrinking
How to Shrink Clothes : Great Fashion TipsHow to Shrink Clothes : Great Fashion Tips

If you don’t know how to shrink clothes in the wash, remember the same simple rule: heats does the best. Launder the item or items on the hottest regime possible for the type of fabric that is going to be shortened. And remember to pay attention to the specifics of each fabric, of course!

Shrinking Clothes
Photo by Lauren Fleischmann on Unsplash

These are the two methods of how to shrink clothes that are too big that work the best for almost any type of fabric.

How to Shrink Clothing
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Now let’s take a closer look at how to make clothes smaller t home.

How to Shrink Your Cotton Clothes. Fabric’s Shrinkage Specifics

Shrinking clothes in a dryer
Photo by Zoe van Poetsprins.nl on Unsplash

We use cotton apparel very often and of course, one day we realize that our favorite item requires some refreshment. Respectively, knowing how to shrink cotton will be useful for anyone. So if you ever asked yourself how to shrink a cotton dress or, maybe, how to shrink a cotton shirt, the following information will be right in time to memorize!

To shrink cotton garments, follow the next steps:

  • Set the laundry machine to the hot wash regime
  • Launder on the longest cycle that is available
  • Remove to the dryer instantly

This approach works if you need to know how to shrink cotton shorts or any other type of apparel. Besides, to shrink 100% cotton, it is also an excellent method that will always give a positive result.

How to Shrink Different Types Of Fabric 

how to shrink clothes in a dryer
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What about the other fabrics, someone may ask? We wear not only cotton but also wool and different sorts of synthetic.

Let’s figure out how to deal with all of them one by one.

  • How to get synthetic clothes to shrink

The most commonly used synthetic is polyester today. To make it smaller, wash the apparel on a hot regime, and set the machine to the longest cycle possible for this sort of fabric.

Afterward, instantly remove it to the tumble dryer.

how to make clothes smaller
Photo by Tamara Bellis on Unsplash
  • How to shrink wool

Wool is far more sensitive compared to other fabrics so it will need different settings.

Launder woolen apparel in a delicate setting choosing a short cycle.

Since wool is very sensitive to heat and movement, treating it long is not necessary.

Dry it on a low-heat regime.

  • Shrinking silk specifics

For silken garments, use a mesh bag for laundering since this fabric tends to ruin easily while being washed.

Launder on a delicate and short cycle with a mild laundry product.

How to Make Clothes Shrink Safely. Precautions

Different types of fabric require specific care conditions. To be sure that you won’t ruin your favorite apparel, remember several handy lifehacks.

  • For more durable fabrics (e.g. cotton, polyester), always use the hottest and the longest cycle possible that this fabric can stand.
  • Jeans and denim must be laundered in cold water only unless the care tag says “dry clean only”.
  • Sensitive fabrics like wool and silk must be laundered on a short and delicate cycle, sometimes with the use of protective items (e.g. mesh bags for silk).
  • Always supervise the woolen apparel while drying to avoid an excess shrinking.
  • Never wring out the silk apparel since it will damage the fibers.
  • Tumble-drying is prohibited for silk. Instead, use air-drying previously wrapping an item in a towel to delete the excess liquid.

Frequently Asked Questions

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How to shrink denim shorts?

Like any denim item, shorts must be laundered in cold water and dried on a warm (not hot!) cycle.

How to shrink clothes without a dryer?

Certain fabrics are OK to shrink only by laundering and airdrying them. However, pay attention to the fact that, for instance, denim must only be laundered in cold water whereas others may need a warmer regime.

girl with red hair

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

How to shrink a hoodie?

Start with pre-soaking it in hot water. To make it 1 size smaller, 10 min will be enough, for more shrinking, leave the item soaking until the water is cool.

Then launder on a hot regime and tumble dry.

How to shrink clothes fast?

The fastest way is to wash and dry them according to the required conditions.

100% cotton
Photo by Lena Kudryavtseva on Unsplash

How to shrink clothes a lot?

Pre-soaking in hot water before the main laundry may help.

How to shrink a sweater?

It hangs upon what it’s made of. If it’s of any natural fabric, use the gentle and short cycle. For synthetic and more durable apparel, the hot wash will be fine.

Now you are knowledgeable about how to make your clothes shrink and how to do it correctly without causing any damage to the garments.

Written by
Olivia shares all she knows about the hotels, houses, and home cleaning with Beezzly readers. And she knows a lot! 15 years of work experience as a Manager in a former Four Season Service gave Olivia an exceptional base of professional knowledge and practical experience.
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Here's why clothes shrink in the wash — and how to prevent itHere's why clothes shrink in the wash — and how to prevent it