Do Jeans Shrink in the Dryer?

Jeans are made of denim which is a tough, thick, and durable material. So, can jeans really shrink in the dryer? Read our article to find out.

Do Jeans Shrink in the Dryer

Tighten Jeans

Using the tumble dry high setting to dry jeans will cause shrinkage. Denim is made from 100% cotton which means drying them on high heat will make them shrink. When drying jeans, be sure to use the air dry or tumble dry low heat settings. 

This is Do Jeans Shrink in the Dryer.

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 jeans in the dryer on the tumble dry high setting, they will come out having shrunk significantly. 

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. 

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

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. 

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. If you do not wish to shrink your jeans in the dryer then use the air dry or tumble dry low settings. 

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.

Do Jeans Shrink in the Dryer FAQ

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.

Tall Paul
Tall Paul
I am 6'7 (203cm) / 235lb (106 kg) model and ex-athlete. Since I was a teen I had trouble finding clothes. I was too tall for off the rack and was too lean for Big & Tall.

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