Tall Mens Fashion Advice

How to Shrink a Dress Shirt: Essential Guide

Learn how to shrink a dress shirt

How to shrink a dress shirt

Dress Shirt Sizing

Before your shrink your dress shirt you need to ask yourself if going to a tailor to get it taken in might be a smarter option. Once you decide you want to shrink it then be sure to use a lot of heat from either water, air or both.

This is How to Shrink a Dress Shirt: Essential Guide.

Hey guys, follow one of the two steps below to shrink your dress shirt. However, I would advise getting your shirt tailored instead of shrinking it at home.

A dress shirt is made from multiple pieces of fabric sewn together, unlike a t-shirt or hoodie. A tailor or seamstress can specifically alter these pieces, so you only change the exact area needed. 

Shrinking your dress shirt will make every single aspect of the dress shirt smaller.

How to shrink a dress shirt

Shrink a Dress Shirt in Boiling Water

1. Pour water into a big pot

Pour water into a clean pot big enough to hold the shirt. Fill the pot about 2/3 full with water to submerge the dress shirt. Be sure to choose an old pot that you don’t want to use for cooking anymore.

2. Bring the water to a boil

Set the pot on a burner and turn the stove on high heat. Let the water come to a boil. Once boiling, take the pot off the heat.

3. Add the dress shirt 

Put the shirt in the water to soak. Use a spoon or tongs to push any part of the shirt that you want to shrink beneath the water – for example, the cuffs, the collar, or the entire thing. Leave it in the water for at least 5 minutes.

5. Put the dress shirt in dryer 

Put the shirt in the dryer to finish the process. The dryer will help shrink the shirt more. Once it’s dry, check to make sure it’s shrunk enough by trying it on.

Shrink Dress Shirt in Boiling Water: Tips
  • Boiling your dress shirt could cause it to bleed, so don’t try it on a dress shirt you’re very attached to. You can take steps to prevent it from bleeding, like adding a dye fixative to the hot water before you add the shirt.
  • If you want to shrink part of your dress shirt, just put that part in the water and leave the rest out. You could even put the rest in cooler water to prevent the heat from transferring to other areas.
  • Leave it in for up to 20 minutes if you want it to shrink significantly.

Shrink Dress Shirt in Washer & Dryer

1. Wash the dress shirt 

Wash the dress shirt on the hottest setting. Select “high heat” or whatever setting your washer uses for the most heat. Use detergent as you usually would.

2. Put same colors 

Put similar colors together if you are washing other clothing to be shrunk. In water this hot, the fabrics will bleed.

3. Put dress shirt in dryer 

Put the dress shirt in the dryer on the hottest setting. Add dryer balls to help with the agitation process, and put the dryer on the hottest setting (usually tumble dry high) before turning it on.

4. Try on the dress shirt 

Once the dress shirt is dry, let it cool off for a few minutes. Put it on to see if it’s now the size you want. If it’s not, repeat starting at step 1.

Shrink Dress Shirt in Washer & Dryer: Tips

  • If your washer has that option, it may help to add the extra rinse cycle. This will give your shirt more exposure to hot water, which will help the shrinking process.
  • Agitation – or vigorous motion – will help your dress shirt shrink. Agitation may help some fabrics shrink more than just the heat itself. 


You can make your dress shirt tight by tailoring it or shrinking it. I suggest you tailor your dress shirt to get the best fitting and looking outcome.

Yes, dress shirts do shrink in the dryer. If you do not wish to shrink your dress shirt, hang it dry.

Yes, you can make a dress shirt smaller. The best way to make your dress shirt smaller is to get it tailored, not shrink it.

Written and reviewed by
Tall Paul
Tall Paul
Paul Marlow, standing at an impressive 6'7 (201cm) and weighing 225lb (102kg), is a mental health speaker, fashion expert, and ex-athlete who excels at helping tall men find well-fitting clothing and teaching them how to style it effectively. As a model in the fashion and film industries, Paul shares his expertise in tall men's fashion, offering valuable advice on measurements, tailoring, and alterations. In addition, he founded Never Alone, an organization that provides mental health and therapy inspiration, and started the Mental Growth Newsletter to support those facing mental health challenges, drawing from his own experiences.

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