Tall Mens Fashion Advice

How to Wash Jeans Without Shrinking: Step-by-Step Guide

Do your jeans already have the perfect fit and you don't want them to shrink in the wash? This article will show you how to wash jeans without shrinking them in 8 simple steps.

How to Wash Jeans Without Shrinking

Use Cold Water

To avoid shrinking jeans in the wash the main thing that you want to avoid is the usage of heat. Use cold water in the washing machine and use either tumble dry low in the dryer, or choose to air dry your jeans after you have finished washing them so that your jeans do not suffer any shrinkage. 

This is How to Wash Jeans Without Shrinking: Step-by-Step Guide.

If there is no better feeling than finding a pair of perfectly fitting jeans, then there is no worse feeling than shrinking those perfectly fitting jeans in the wash.

We’ve probably all had an incident or two when we weren’t thinking, and ended up shrinking one of our favorite pieces of clothing in the wash. 

To avoid doing this to your jeans, make sure to avoid using heat (yes hot water DOES shrink jeans) in the washing machine or dryer (how hot does a dryer get). When using the washing machine to clean your jeans, make sure that you adjust the dial to both the delicate setting, as well as the cold water setting

If you choose to use the dryer to dry your jeans, make sure that you use tumble dry low, and remove the jeans from the dryer while they are still slightly damp.

How to Wash Jeans Without Shrinking

Avoid using heat when washing your jeans and you will have no problem with shrinkage. Clothes only shrink in the washing machine when they are washed with hot water, and jeans only shrink in the dryer when it is set to tumble dry high. Use cold water in the washing machine and use tumble dry low in the dryer; this will let you wash jeans without shrinking.

You can also take your drying outside the machine and dry your clothes without a dryer. Bringing out your iron to flatten any creases if you need to.

The BEST way to wash your jeans without shrinking them is to let the professionals handle it. Taking your jeans to your local dry cleaner can not only save your jeans but also save time and save money. Learn how long dry cleaners take and how much dry cleaners cost.

While denim is known for being a durable fabric, it’s important to care for it properly so it lasts long and looks great.

If you have a new pair of 100% denim jeans, washing them is one of the ways you can break in your jeans.

Take care of the rest of your clothes with the rest of our care guides to making sure no shrinkage happens.

You may choose to wash your jeans either by machine or by hand. Follow the step-by-step instructions outlined below. 

1. How to Machine Wash Jeans Without Shrinking

Follow the steps below to effectively machine wash your jeans without shrinking them. 

  1. Turn your jeans inside out and do up the zipper as well as the button. 
  2. Place your jeans into the washing machine. 
  3. Add liquid laundry detergent. 
  4. Adjust the washing machine to the gentle or delicate settings.
  5. Adjust the settings on the washing machine to cold water. 
  6. Run the wash cycle (how long does a washer take).
  7. Once finished, remove your jeans from the washing machine. 
  8. *Dry appropriately. 

*Continue reading below to find out how to dry jeans without shrinking.

2. How to Hand Wash Jeans Without Shrinking

Follow the steps below to hand wash your jeans without shrinking them. 

  1. Fill a basin with cool to lukewarm water.
  2. Add liquid laundry detergent to the water.
  3. Turn your jeans inside out. 
  4. Submerge your jeans in the water and let soak for 5 minutes.
  5. Once 5 minutes have passed, use your hands to agitate the jeans in the water.
  6. Once finished, rinse your jeans under cool, clean water until all the soap has been removed and the water runs clear.
  7. Wring your jeans or use a towel to remove any excess water from your jeans. 
  8. Dry appropriately 

How to Dry Jeans Without Shrinking

The best way to dry jeans without shrinking them is to avoid using the dryer and instead hang or lay your jeans flat to dry. Once your jeans have finished in the washing machine, turn them back inside out, and hang (line dry) or dry flat to dry. 

If you would like to use the dryer to dry your jeans, be sure to use the air dry or tumble dry low settings. Air dry uses no heat at all, while tumble dry low only uses a very small amount of heat to dry clothes. If you are really keen not to shrink your jeans, remove them from the dryer when they are still slightly damp, and finish drying them by hanging. Make sure you know how long does a dryer take.

Drying your jeans on the tumble dry medium or tumble dry high settings will lead to shrinkage in your jeans, even if you only do it for a short period of time. 

How to Stretch Jeans

If you have over shrunk your jeans and want to add some size back to the waist, legs or  overall length then there are a variety of simple methods you can use at home to achieve this. 

Read our article on how to stretch jeans to choose from to learn everything you need to know about stretching jeans, and next time, be careful not to over shrink your pants!

How to Wash Jeans Without Shrinking FAQ

Jeans washed in cold to lukewarm water will not shrink. Jeans are only susceptible to shrinkage if they are washed in hot water. Adjust your washing machine to the cold water setting before you begin washing your jeans in order to avoid shrinkage. 

Jeans only shrink if they are washed in hot water, which means you can choose to shrink your jeans or not. Wash your jeans in hot water to shrink them, and washing them in cold water to not shrink them. 

Your jeans keep shrinking in the wash before you are using the wrong settings and temperature levels while washing them. Make sure the settings on your washing machine are adjusted to cold water as well as delicate/gentle. 

Jeans will shrink in the dryer if the dryer is set to tumble dry medium or tumble dry high. Jeans will shrink in the washer if the hot water setting is used. If you do not want to shrink your jeans, use the cold water setting in the washing machine, and use the tumble dry low setting in the dryer. 

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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