How to Shrink Jeans: The Ultimate Guide

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How to Shrink Jeans: The Ultimate Guide

Finding the perfect pair of jeans takes a bit too long. And even after getting the right size, it is disappointing to find that the waistband doesn't feel as form-fitting as it used to or that the knee area is baggy. But there's a way to get rid of this bagginess. 

This article comprises more than three ways to understand how to shrink jeans. So, whether you bought the wrong size or underwent a fitness transformation and lost a few pounds, here's the ultimate denim guide for how to shrink jeans. Keep reading to find out.


Shrink Your Jeans by Washing

The fastest way to shrink jeans is to wash and dry them at the hottest temperatures possible. But do jeans shrink in the dryer? 

Most people avoid washing their favorite garments and drying them because they will shrink. However, if your goal is to shrink, then it is as simple as it sounds. The following steps will guide you on how to shrink stretchy jeans.

  1. Throw all the stretched-out jeans into the washer at the hottest temperature.
  2. Use the warm and permanent press or heavy-duty cycles to roughen the fibers. 
  3. After the wash cycle, put the jeans into the dryer on high heat.
  4. Make sure they are dried thoroughly before putting them on.

Shrink Your Jeans by Boiling

A similar technique to washing for how to shrink denim is a pot of boiling water on the stove, followed by a run through the dryer. This is slightly more effective than the washer and does not affect the color. So, here's how to shrink jeans by boiling them.

  1. Boil a big pot of water.
  2. Carefully put the jeans into the boiling water, and avoid splashing.
  3. Submerge the jeans into the water and "cook" them for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Turn off the stove and safely take out the jeans using a tong or any other utensil/tool.
  5. Put the jeans into the dryer, and dry them thoroughly.

If you want to know how to shrink jeans legs, dip only the leg part into the boiling water. The same goes for the waist part.

Shrink Your Jeans by Ironing

Doesn't have time to do laundry or boil water? No problem. There's another alternative for shrinking the jeans. It's simply by ironing them.

This method targets 'spot shrinking'. So if you are looking for how to shrink the waist of jeans or the legs, this hack is a perfect choice. 

  1. Spray on the loose/ stretched area, e.g., the jeans' waistband, knee, or thigh area, with hot water. Make sure it is entirely damped and not soaked. 
  2. Keep the iron on the 'cotton' setting, and iron over the damp area. Make sure not to pause in any area for too long.
  3. Once completely dried, try them on.

Use Replacement Buttons

Another quickest and easiest method is to use replacement/ adjustable jeans buttons, especially if you are looking for how to shrink the waist of jeans. It requires no sewing or cutting; just use No-sew-button Pins to make the jean's waist smaller.

  1. Simply pull the bottom base of the button to open them.
  2. Based on how small the jean waist is needed, press the button pin into the fabric.
  3. Secure the button pin.
  4. Now put on the jeans as you usually do.

Leave Them to the Pros

Though ironing, washing, and boiling shrink the jeans, they aren't a permanent solution. And the jeans are bound to get stretched again. 

Besides, the hacks mentioned above are suitable for shrinking the jeans down to one size. But if the jeans are a little too big to handle at home, or the person needs a more precise and permanent solution, then it's better to leave them to the professionals. 

A tailor knows how to shrink jeans permanently. A visit to a tailor's shop is the quickest way to turn a pair of jeans into your favorite pair of jeans. In addition, they can easily repair or further customize your denim without any hassle.

How to Shrink the Waist of Jeans

Often people buy jeans that fit all the areas and spots except for the waist. And doing a full laundry or boiling them might take a while. Therefore, ironing might be the only option, right? Not necessarily. Here's a little-known hack to shrink the waist of the jeans. 

  1. Mix 3/4 cup of hot water and 1/4 cup of fabric softener in a spray bottle. 
  2. Dampen the waist area of the jeans.
  3. Once damped, throw them into the dryer.
  4. Once dried thoroughly, put them on.

How to Shrink Jeans Legs

Similar to the waist situation, oftentimes, certain jeans are a little loose on the legs, knee area to be precise. And the easiest way to shrink a pair of jeans is by washing them in the hottest setting. This will make the fibers in your jeans contract and shrink.

When to Shrink Your Jeans at Home and When to Get Alterations

How much you can shrink and how long they will stay 'shrank' depends on the jeans' original size and the fabric's denim content. A 100% denim will shrink better than the stretchy one. Because if the jeans are stretchy, they will likely get stretched out again.

Moreover, the home DIYs that can shrink a particular spot can be challenging. Besides, as mentioned before, hacks are suitable for shrinking jeans down to one size. So shrinking them further may require professional services. 

Final Words

Knowing all the DIYs for how to shrink jeans is beneficial. However, if even after all the laundering, boiling, and ironing, the jeans seemed loose, consider paying a visit to a tailor. Also, check the safety tag to prevent damaging the fabric or its color.


1. Can you shrink jeans down a size?

The quickest and easiest way to shrink jeans is to wash and dry them at the highest temperatures possible, much like how you try to avoid washing and drying your favorite sweater because it will shrink.

2. How do I make my jeans tighter?

Simply put your jeans in a regular wash cycle and set the temperature to the hottest setting if they have become a little stretched out.

3. How much can you shrink jeans by?

In general, boiling your jeans for 20 to 30 minutes, drying them in a hot drier, and then putting them in the washer will cause them to shrink more quickly and slightly more effectively than washing them.

4. Can I boil my jeans to shrink them?

In general, boiling your jeans for 20 to 30 minutes, drying them in a hot drier, and then putting them in the washer will cause them to shrink more quickly and slightly more effectively than washing them.