Do Jeans Shrink? 12 Whys & What To Do Next

Jean has become the backbone of wearing culture. As per statistics, more than 635 million pairs of jeans approximately could have been consumed globally by 2020.

According to research data, about 61 to 64 % of the western population are habitual of jeans. From farmers to an entrepreneur, jean follows no classification.

Undoubtedly, this might be exactly why jeans have been a soaring market Industry of all times.

Jean, like most other outfits, has a limited span of life. The life of a pair of jeans depends on the quality of fabric and using & caring routine.

Also, the sustainability of the color and texture is based on best or bad fabric, and in some cases, the water temperature can be a reason.

But what really causes the jeans to shrink? Why really do jeans shrink? This may depend on various scientific reasons as well as buying decisions.

Do Jeans Shrink? What are the Factors?

Do jeans shrink
Image Source: Hellogiggles

Who likes the jeans getting shrunk in some couple of months from the purchasing date. Shrinking of jeans may later result in lessened size and further not fitting into the body.

Unlike us, jeans follow a life phase from the day of being manufactured to the final time when you give up on it.

The three phases are 1. From fibers to yarn. 2. From yarn to fabric.  3. Fabric to jeans

A step that has to be pre-taken by a manufacturing company to keep jeans from shrinking is to wash the fabric or work on the product to avoid any shrinkage while consuming it. Or else jeans might shrink from 1 to 2% or further in near future after multiple washes.

Now, why do jeans shrink actually?

Considering that you’re wearing it regularly, your jeans are getting washed and drying several times a week. The fabric tightens in the exposure to the warmth/heat of the sun when you dry it, hence it gets shrunk.

Major Effects!

The shrinking of jeans may vary from brand to brand, manufacturing style, fabric to other fabrics, and maybe person to person. However, some jeans are likely to shrink in a few months, while some will sustain their quality longer than most other complementary jeans.

In general, natural fabrics like silk or cotton are likely to shrink somehow, while others participate less in shrinking. Let’s witness the real effects of shrinkage in jeans.

Do jeans Shrink in Length?

Have your jeans shrunken with days and weeks and have still not ceased yet? Jeans tend to shrink by 3% every time you wash them as the fabric loosens up its fibers.

This results in jeans shrinking in length. Sometimes wearers expect a shrink either naturally or manually in size according to the body type with passing days. If you are one of them, make sure not all jeans can shrink in length.

Do Jeans Shrink Over Time?

Not always a jeans fit in the body of the wearer immediately after buying it. With time it may shrink tight or loosen up, not making it an appropriate body type of clothing. This is a practical concept of jeans getting shrinkage after a wash or two. However, shrinkage of jeans is also based on typical fabrics used like synthetic material shrink faster than any other man-made material.

Do Jeans Shrink if Not Worn?

The biggest myths about jeans are changes in their fitting aspects with time just being not used for a long time. Jeans shrinkage has nothing to do with keeping It unused under closed doors. Oftentimes jeans get stretched out wearing it multiple times. And there are ways to shrink it back to its original looks, however, the effects are temporary. Not using jeans may just lead to fading quality. If you’ve not been using your jeans for a long time, you may expect some sort of fitting issues with your body growth.

Caring Routine!

Who doesn’t own some pair of cool jeans? But your jeans need some kindness to keep them away from shrinkage or a short life span. Have your types of denim no more fitting you or it might have got stretched with time. Let’s try fitting it by shrinking it indoors.

Do Jeans Shrink in the Dryer?

Do jeans shrink in dryer

Jeans do shrink in the dryer. The heat produced by the dryer may tighten the fibers to get them shrunk and fit like before. In most cases, jeans are manually shrunk using an external heat component like a dryer temporarily. The best possible way to shrink a dryer is to wash it and get it dry to a very high temperature.  However, it depends on brand and fabric, whether it would sustain its quality after the process or not.

Do Jeans Expand or Shrink on Washing?

Do jeans shrink while washing
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Yes, you can shrink your jeans by washing them for sure. Synthetic cotton denim can easily be shrunk just by tossing it in a washing machine setting high temperature i.e. hot water and drying it. On the other hand, you can also use a pot of hot boiling water to shrink your jeans. Leave your denim for half an hour under it and get it dry under the sun. You won’t lose the color and quality of the jeans, it being a cotton product. This is the best way that can be done at home.

Do Jeans Shrink After First Wash?

Shrinkage of jeans just the first wash depends on the quality as well as the brand. Shrinkage is never applied to a certain quality of fabric like nonsynthetic jeans. Jeans may also not shrink in case their fibers might have gone through the shrinking process formerly. After the first wash, you may witness 2% of shrinkage in some jeans. You can simply avoid hot water to wash them for no shrinkage.

After How Many Washes does Jean Start to Shrink?

Jeans do shrink every number of times you wash them. If you own tight jeans, make sure it takes time and several washes to fit you best. Usually, jeans never shrink at a time or two but professional dry cleaners may do it for you. At every wash jeans go through, it gets upon 2 to 3% shrink. To get it a perfect fit, jeans may take at least 6 washes to shrink more. It depends on your body type and size.

If you are to shrink your denim, proceed only after making sure that your clothing was never shrunk during the manufacturing process.

Purchasing Decisions!

The effects of quality on clothing shrinkage after buying are based on specific factors like purchasing decisions, brand, fabric, the mechanical process, and so on. Shrinking clothes are sometimes wished for and sometimes annoying. Purchasing decisions play a major role in the life span of your clothing.

What Fabric Shrinks the Most?

Most of us find it not worth buying jeans that shrink up sooner. Hence, before buying it sounds much better to know if you’re wearing the right fibers and if it’s well manufactured.

Not all clothing material shrinks when washed and dried. Compared to man-made fibers, the natural ones shrink quite quickly such as cotton and linen shrink more than polyester or other fabric.

Do Cotton Jean Shrink?

Cotton blend jeans shrink no sooner than it’s washed for the first time. Cotton being a natural fiber constricts when put in hot temperature for a long time resulting in restriction in space of its molecular composition. Also, cotton types of denim never compromise with their color and quality. Furthermore, you find your jeans fun fitting domestically.

How to Shrink Jeans at Home?

It happens that our favorite pair of denim no longer fit our waist. Here manual shrinking can be a perfect solution. Mostly shrinking is temporary to make the jeans perfect fit, however, the easy process can bring your favorite denim back to life.

To shrink jeans purposely at home, you just need hot water and a dryer. Make sure your jeans were prepared with natural fibers as the man-made fibers can not stand shrinking.

Let’s have a look at easy steps to get started

  • Put your jeans into a hot pot or washing machine.
  • Leave the jeans for 20 to 30 minutes in the hot pot.
  • Get your cloth off the water, let it dry at the highest temperature possible
  • You are ready with hot-fitting almost new denim again.

You’ve to repeat the process for days for absolute shrinkage.

Effects of Temperature on Jeans!

Cold Vs Hot

The shrinking of clothes reacts exactly opposite to the temperatures. Since the molecules of the fibers tighten only at the hottest temperature, cold water is shrinkage resistant.

Manmade fibers like nylon, polyester, and others cannot stand hot water. They might lose their quality including colors. Coldwater has no effects on man-made fibers. But the natural fibers like cotton, silk, linen, and more create a pressure to tighten up in the hot water as a result of shrinking. Hence, the best washing recommendation for the clothes of man-made fibers is cold water.

How Much does Jean Shrink in Hot Water?

Firstly, jeans can only shrink in hot water.

In your very first time shrinking journey, you might get a result of 2-3% shrinkage only. Effects include the whole process from washing and drying.

Save your Jeans!

Can we Unshrink Jeans?

Is it anyway possible to undo the shrink effects of denim? Can we unshrink jeans again? Yes, it’s true and possible. Shrinkage is a proven theory of fitting a stretched jeans again but at times, it just happens without any need. What next? Just spread or spray some cold water with shampoo mixed in it. Hold on while it works. Dry it on a cool evening. There you go with undone shrinking.

How to Prevent Jeans from Shrinking?

Washing of jeans must follow the same washing routine given by the manufacturer in the jeans tag. If the tag says ‘pre-shrunk, one must avoid the process of shrinking anyway.

High temperature results in shrinkage in clothes. Hence to prevent jeans from shrinking, use cold water to firmly wash your denim. Also in the initial period of your jeans, do not use the washing machine. Wash it by hand.

Brand talks!

What does the Brand Say?

Shrinkage has been trouble for consumers. So what does the brand say about it? Let’s observe the quality and shrinking rate of respective brands closely.


Most of the Levi jeans are done with a pre-shrunk process and so it hardly shrinks after washing. The brand assures that even if it shrinks slightly, it won’t affect fitting for your size.


The classic brand, Zara, promises that their jeans have nothing to do with shrinking. As per brand guarantee about their material, the absolute cotton won’t shrink anyway.


AE jeans are mostly pre-shrunk but not always. Your cotton jeans might shrink if washed in the highest temperature water. Try to keep away AE from warmth.


Undoubtedly Hollister is the biggest brand of jeans, but they say ‘take care of your jeans and it won’t embarrass you. Simply avoid hot water for the cloth to end up shrinking.


Gap jeans are the coolest denim overall. The jeans are pre-shrunk but it’s wiser to check if it’s not. If you find your jeans are not pre-shrunk, never dry them for a long time. This way you can save your gap jeans

At Last!

So do jeans shrink? A study says that almost all the jeans from all the brands may get shrunk facing high heat from the dryer or hot wash.

If you’re not sure of whether your jeans are pre-shrunk or not, give up on the dryer. You can dry it naturally under the sun. Using cold water may resist shrinkage in the long run. Also if you are to shrink your jeans at home, shrinking jeans of man-made fibers is a bad idea.

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