Jean shorts are a fun summer garment that usually fit short and tight, which means they are easily stretched after a few times wearing them. Thankfully, there are several different methods you can use to shrink your jean shorts so that you’ll always have the perfect fit.

Let us show you how to turn your jeans into shorts if your looking for cooler days in the summer heat.

Continue reading to find our easy to follow instructions on how to shrink jean shorts. 

Table Of Contents

How To Shrink Jean Shorts

How To Shrink Jean Shorts

There are several ways to shrink jean shorts, and the main element in each method is heat. Hot air & hot water shrink fabrics. Using heat will allow you to get your jean shorts back to their original size after stretching them. You may even be able to shrink them a full size down!

Jean shorts usually shrink to a significant degree relative to other garments, because jeans shorts are made from denim, and denim is made from 100% cotton fiber, and cotton is one of the most shrink prone fibers in existence.

Before you start shrinking, have you tried putting on a belt?

Using your washing machine and dryer to shrink jeans is the simple, effective, and old school way to shrink your jeans shorts:

Continue reading to learn how to shrink jean shorts. 

Supplies & Tools

  • Washing machine & drying machine
this is a photo of a washing and drying machine to shrink jean shorts

1. Turn the jean shorts inside out

Turn the jean shorts inside out. Turning your shorts inside out helps to protect the fibers on the outside, helping your jean shorts to last longer.

this is a pair of jean shorts turn inside out

2. Place jean shorts in the wash

Place the jean shorts in the washing machine.

this is a photo of jean shorts in the wash

3. Wash jean shorts in hot water

Turn your washing machine to the highest water temperature possible. This is usually labeled as the hot water setting.

this is a photo of a washer set on hot water

4. Put jean shorts in dryer

Once the wash cycle is complete, place the jean shorts in the dryer.

this is a photo of jean shorts in the dryer to be shrunk

5. Dry jean shorts on high

Adjust the settings on the dryer to tumble dry high and run the cycle.

this is a photo of a washing machine set on high

6. Check on jean shorts

Periodically check on the shorts to monitor the shrinkage, and remove the shorts from the dryer once you’ve achieved the degree of shrinkage you are looking for. Learn how long does a dryer take & how hot does a dryer get to properly gauge your time.

this is a photo of tall paul checking in on his jean shorts as they dry to shrink

Follow these steps to wash your denim jean shorts properly. And don’t forget to fold your jean shorts to keep them wrinkle free.

Boil Your Jean Shorts

Boiling your jean shorts may sound like a strange thing to do, but remember, heat is the key ingredient when trying to shrink clothes! 

Using boiling water to shrink your jean shorts is very convenient, especially if you are only looking to shrink only the waistband and not the entire pair of shirts. 

Follow the steps below to shrink jean shorts using boiling water.

  1. Fill a pot or basin with water and bring it to a boil.
  2. Carefully submerge the jean shorts in the water.
  3. Allow the shorts to soak in the water for 5 to 15 minutes depending on the level of shrinkage you require.
  4. Carefully remove the jean shorts from the boiling water.
  5. Wring the shorts out to remove excess water.
  6. Air dry (dry flat or line dry) or place the jeans in the dryer on tumble dry high if you wish to shrink further.

If you don’t want the jean shorts to shrink further, then choose dry your jean shorts without a dryer.

Shrink Using The Ironing Method

Using an iron is a good way to shrink specific parts of your jean shorts. Instead of shrinking the whole garment, you can choose more specific areas to shrink.

Follow the steps below to shrink jean shorts using an iron.

  1. Fill a spray bottle with hot water and add moisture to the areas you wish to shrink. The fabric should be slightly dry and not soaking wet.
  2. Turn the iron on the the highest heat setting possible. 
  3. Hand press the iron on to the areas you wish to shrink. Firmly press the iron down for a brief moment, and then lift it, before reapplying gain.
  4. Continue until you have shrunk all the areas to require.
  5. Allow to air dry by hanging or laying flat to dry. Iron the jeans once dry again to flatten wrinkles if need be.

Wear Your Jean Shorts In The Bath

Ok, this one sounds even weirder than boiling your shorts, but it is a highly effective way to shrink them! This method might be just a little uncomfortable, but it would also make for a pretty interesting Instagram story. 

  1. Fill a bathtub with warm water. The water should be hot but not too hot to burn you. (You have to sit in the water.)
  2. Wear your jean shorts and get into the bathtub. That’s right. Get into the bathtub with your jean shorts on. 
  3. Make sure your legs and shorts are fully submerged in the water.
  4. Sit in the water for 8 to 15 minutesand let the shorts shrink and contour to your body.
  5. Get out of the bathtub, continue to wear the shorts, and go lay in the sun while the jeans air dry around your body.
  6. If you do not want to sit in wet jean shorts, carefully take them off without stretching them, and proceed to air dry.


Jean shorts will shrink in the dryer if they are dried on tumble dry high. Heat is needed to shrink denim jean shorts, so be sure to use tumble dry high and not tumble dry low or medium, if you want to shrink jean shorts in the dryer.

The best way to shrink shorts that are too big is to put them in the washing machine and run the cycle on hot water. Follow that by placing them into the dryer on the tumble dry high setting. Shorts made from different fabrics will shrink to different degrees, however this method will have some shrinking effect on most types of shorts.