Joggers made from 100% cotton or majority cotton will be much easier to shrink than joggers made from polyester or other synthetic fibers. Fabrics such as spandex can shrink, however, spandex is usually paired with polyester which nullifies the ability to shrink. 

In order to shrink joggers you must use a high level of heat in both the washer and dryer. The washing machine should be set to the hottest water temperature and the dryer should be set to tumble dry high (find out how hot a dryer gets.)

If you do not have access to a washing machine or dryer, you may use boiling water or a hot iron in order to shrink your joggers.

Continue reading to learn how to shrink joggers

Table of Contents

how to shrink joggers

Supplies & Tools

  • Washing machine
  • Laundry detergent
  • Mesh laundry bag (optional)
this is a photo of a washing machine need to shrink joggers
Washing machine
this is a photo of laundry detergent needed when shrinking joggers
Laundry detergent
this is a photo of a mesh laundry bag that can optionally be used when shrinking joggers
Mesh laundry bag

How To Shrink Joggers

Total Time: 3 hr 45 min

Before attempting to shrink your joggers you must first check the care label to check for specific care instructions and fabric information. 

If your joggers are made from 100% polyester or a polyester blend then you will have difficulty trying to shrink them because polyester is a synthetic fiber that is resistant to shrinkage. Your joggers may contain spandex or cotton, both of which are shrinkable fabrics, but if they are blended with polyester then you will experience significantly less shrinkage. 

Learn more about polyester with, can you shrink polyester?

If your joggers are made from polyester you can still follow the steps below to try and shrink them, however, you should not try to shrink your polyester joggers too frequently. Some synthetic fibers, such as polyester and spandex, are non-heat resistant and will become melted or damaged in the washer and dryer if paired with high levels of heat. If you want to maintain the quality of you joggers then you should wash in cold water and lay flat to dry.

Dry your joggers without dryer if your focus is to keep their current form.

1. Turn your joggers inside out before shrinking

Turn your joggers inside out to protect the outer layer. It is optional to place your joggers into a mesh laundry bag.

this is a photo of joggers turned inside out before shrinking
This is a photo of joggers inside a mesh bag before they are shrunk

2. Add like colored clothes

Add like colored clothes into the washing machine with your joggers. Lightweight and delicate clothing items are ideal.

this is a photo of like clothes in the wash with joggers to shrink

3. Add detergent to the joggers

Add laundry detergent. Check the detergent’s instructions to find the right amount.

This is a photo of detergent in with joggers before they are shrunk

4. Use high heat setting to shrink

Adjust the washing machine’s water settings to the highest temperature possible and push start.

this is photo of a washing machine on high heat setting to shrink joggers

5. Repeat the process if joggers not shrunk enough

Once the wash cycle finishes, remove the joggers and check the shrinkage. Repeat the process if you wish to continue shrinking your joggers.

this is a photo of joggers after they have been put in the wash to shrink

If you forget to tie up your joggers waistband and the string comes out, follow this guide to putting it back in: How to put string back in joggers.

How To Shrink Joggers In The Dryer

Total Time: 45 min

Cost: $0

The dryer is a very effective way to shrink your joggers. Understand how long a dryer takes to best gauge your times. Follow the instructions below to shrink joggers in the dryer.

1. Dampen joggers with a spray bottle before dryer

Using a spray bottle, dampen your joggers with water. Make sure your joggers are damp, you want your joggers to be damp but not soaking wet.

this is a photo of joggers being dampened before shrinking in the dryer

2. Turn the joggers inside out before shrinking in dryer

Take the freshly dampened joggers and turn them inside out. I also suggest you tie the waist band so it doesn’t come out in the dryer.

this is a photo of joggers turned inside out before shrinking

3. Shrink joggers on tumble dry high

Adjust the dryer’s tumble dry settings to tumble dry high, put the jogger in and push start.

this is a photo of joggers inside a drying machine to shrink them

4. Check on your shrinking joggers often

Check on your joggers every 15-20 min to make sure you have not over-shrank them.

this is a photo of tall paul checking his joggers shrinking in the dryer

5. Put shrunken joggers away

Remove when satisfied then fold your sweatpants or roll to store properly.

this is a photo of joggers folded after being shrunk in a dryer

How To Shrink Joggers With Boiling Water

Total Time: 2 hrs 30 min

Cost: $0

Another method for shrinking your joggers that you may not have heard about is by boiling them in hot water. Hot water will shrink your joggers, no matter what fabric it is, just the amount of shrinking will vary. Follow the steps below to learn how to shrink joggers with boiling water.

1. Fill a large pot of water that your joggers will fit in

Fill a pot of water with 3/4 tap water. Make sure the put is big enough that your joggers will not spill boiling water once added.

this is a large pot being filled with water to hen shrink joggers

2. Bring the pot of water to boil to shrink your joggers

Put a lid on the pot and turn the heat on high. Bring the water to a rolling boil.

this is a photo of a pot of water boiling to then shrink joggers in

3. Carefully add your joggers to the boiling water

I suggest you add the joggers with a pair of tongs, so you don’t burn yourself. Let your joggers soak for 10-15 minutes depending on the level of shrinkage you desire to achieve.

this is a photo of tall paul putting his joggers into the boiling pot of water to shrink them

4. Remove joggers once shrunk in boiling water

After the 10-15 minutes, remove your joggers from the boiling water. You can remove them with the same tongs you put them in, or simply dump the joggers out into your clean kitchen sink.

this is a photo of tall paul holding tongs after he took his shrunk joggers out of boiling water

5. Dry your shrunken joggers appropriately

Wring out the excess water and lay flat to dry. If you want to further shrink your joggers then proceed to place them into the dryer and use the tumble dry high setting.

this is a photo of shrunken joggers air drying on a drying rack

How To Shrink Joggers With An Iron

Total Time: 45 min

Cost: $0

If you wish to shrink your joggers in one area only, such as the waistband, you may choose to use an iron.

1. Lay your joggers flat onto an ironing board before shrinking

Lay your joggers flat on an ironing board, smoothing them out wih your hand.

this is a photo of joggers laying flat on an ironing board before shrinking them

2. Turn on the iron to high to shrink the joggers fabric

Make sure your iron is turned to the highest temperature possible. Heat is need to shrink.

this is a photo of an iron turned to high to shrink joggers

3. Spray the joggers with water on specific areas

Using the spray bottle, spray the areas on your joggers you want shrunk, or the entire jogger. Spray until damp NOT soaking wet.

this is a photo of tall paul spraying his joggers to shrink them after

4. Iron damp areas of your joggers until shrunk

Iron the damp areas of your joggers, moving the iron back and forth or in circular patterns. Do this until the water has evaporated.

5. Lay shrunken joggers flat to finish drying

Lay the joggers flat on a table or drying rack to finish drying. Do not put into a dryer unless you want the joggers to be shrunken even more.

this is a photo of joggers laying flat to dry after being shrunk by an iron


To shrink joggers that are too big you can place them into the washing machine on the high temperature setting. After the joggers finish in the washing machine you can continue to shrink them by placing them into the dryer on tumble dry high. The best solution is to buy the right size joggers.

You can make your joggers tighter by washing them on high heat, drying them on tumble dry high, ironing them while damp, or boiling them in water. The most common method on how to make joggers tighter is by using the washing machine and dryer. 

Before altering your joggers, make sure you understand how long joggers should be. If your joggers are too long you may shrink them or cuff them at the ends. To shrink them, use the washing machine and dryer on the high heat settings. To cuff them simply fold the bottom up 2 inches, and then fold the bottom upwards once again by 1 inch. 

Joggers will only shrink after the first wash if they were washed on the hot water setting. If you wish to avoid shrinking your joggers then be sure to adjust the settings to delicate or cold water. Hot water will shrink your joggers, cold water will not. As long as you know how to wash joggers in the washing machine you will avoid shrinking them.