Welcome to our article on the constantly searched topic “Do jeans shrink in the dryer?”

Below I am going to help you clarify some of the most asked questions around your favourite clothing garment.

  • Does denim shrink in the dryer?
  • Can you tumble dry jeans?
  • How much do jeans shrink?
  • Does air drying shrink jeans?

Perfectly fitting jeans are hard to come by, and when that perfect pair is finally found, the last thing you want to do is shrink them in the wash or while drying. 

Jeans are made from denim, and denim is made from 100% cotton. Cotton is prone to shrinkage if placed into environments with high temperature levels. 

This means that if you put tall jeans in the dryer on the tumble dry high setting, they will come out having shrunk significantly. 

"Dryers are the natural enemy of jeans. All that lint is your jeans breaking down. Instead, hang them up. Line-drying preserves the fit and helps you avoid possible shrinkage or fabric warping."

To maintain the size and fit of your jeans the best option is always to air dry them on an indoor drying rack. However, jeans can also be dried in the dryer, as long as the correct heat setting is used. 

Another option is to take the jeans to your local dry cleaners. These people are professionals who clean clothes for a living. Learn how much a dry cleaner costs and how long the dry cleaners take.

Will jeans shrink in the dryer?

Continue reading below to find out if jeans shrink in the dryer, and learn the proper method to use while drying your jeans. 

Table of Contents

Do Jeans Shrink In The Dryer?

Yes jeans will shrink in the dryer if they are dried using the high heat settings

Denim is made from 100% cotton fiber with a twill weave, which means your jeans will shrink if they are tumble dried on high heat (learn how hot does a dryer get.)

Cotton is one of the most shrinkable fabrics, so the tumble dry high setting should never be used with your jeans in the dryer, unless you are intentionally trying to shrink them (learn how to shrink your jeans in the wash.) If you do not wish to shrink your jeans in the dryer then use the air dry or tumble dry low settings.

And make sure you know how to use a dryer properly & how long does a dryer take.

this is a photo of tall paul putting his jeans into the dryer

How To Dry Jeans

To dry jeans there are two methods available for use. 

  1. Dryer
  2. Air Dry (how to dry clothes without a dryer)

If you are using the dryer to dry jeans, be sure the adjust the settings to air dry or tumble dry low. You may also want to turn the jeans inside out to protect the outer surface of the denim as it tumble dries. 

To air dry jeans, hang, line dry or lay flat to dry in a cool area that is not in direct contact with sunlight. The sunlight can cause the jeans to shrink and may also cause the color to fade away. . 

How To Shrink Jeans

The most effective way to shrink jeans is by putting them in the washing machine and dryer using the high heat settings. Washing your jeans in hot water and drying them on tumble dry high will lead to a significant amount of shrinkage around the knees, thighs, calves, and waist

Another way to shrink jeans is by placing them in a pot of boiling water (hot water always shrinks fabric.) After boiling the jeans, you may also put them in the dryer once again to achieve the maximum amount of shrinkage possible.

If shrinking isn’t the right fit you are looking for, there are other ways to make your jeans tighter. The smartest way is to take your jeans to a tailor.

How To Stretch Out Jeans

If your jeans are too tight there are a variety of different methods you can use in order to stretch them out

The easiest way to stretch out jeans is by adding moisture to the area you wish to stretch, and then using your hands to pull and stretch the denim. 

If your waistband is too tight the best option for stretching them would be to use a waistband stretcher. Follow these other options to stretch your jeans waist.

Use our step-by-step article, how to stretch out jeans, to loosen your jeans so that they fit more comfortably on your body. 

How To Wash Jeans

To wash jeans first turn them inside out before placing them into the washing machine. Be sure to sort your laundry and wash your jeans together with our garments of similar weight, color (whites with whites, darks with darks and colors with colors,) and fabric. Add a laundry detergent that is appropriate for washing jeans. Adjust the settings on the washing machine to a gentle or normal cycle, and wash your jeans with cold water.

Once washed and dried properly, iron your jeans then store them away properly.


Jeans have the ability to shrink around 3 to 4% in the dryer if tumble dried on the high heat setting. This means for a pair of jeans with a 32″ inseam, the shrinkage would amount to around 3 to 5cm. Different brands apply different treatments to their jeans during production, so the degree of shrinkage will vary from one brand of jeans to the other. 

To shrink the waistband of your jeans the best method would be to boil them in hot water. Using boiling water to shrink the waistband of your jeans can potentially shrink them down a size. 

Jeans only shrink if they are tumble dried on high heat. Use the tumble dry low setting or air dry your jeans on an indoor drying rack to avoid shrinkage.

Use the air dry or tumble dry low setting to dry jeans in the dryer in order to avoid shrinking them.