Using the washer and dryer incorrectly when cleaning your sweatpants can lead to unintended shrinkage, especially if your sweat pants are made from 100% cotton or a cotton polyester blend. 

Unsure of what your sweatpants might be made of? Read what are sweatpants made out of and check the inside tag.

Using the right care methods for your sweatpants will help to maintain the quality and fit for a longer period of time. Review the step-by-step instructions below to learn how to wash sweatpants without shrinking. 

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How to Wash Sweatpants Without Shrinking

How To Wash Sweatpants Without Shrinking

Heat is the #1 thing to avoid in order to wash sweatpants without shrinking. Make sure you know how to wash your sweatpants before you get started.

If your still unsure you can wash your sweats without ruining them, then the best thing to do is take them to the dry cleaners. Learn more about how long dry cleaners take and how much a dry cleaner will cost.

Follow these simple steps in order to wash your sweatpants without shrinking!

1. Turn your sweatpants inside out first

Turn your sweatpants inside out. This protects the outer layer and exposes the dirtiest part of your pants to the detergent.

turn your sweatpants inside out first

2. Put in washing machine

Place your sweatpants in the washing machine.

this is a photo of tall paul putting his sweatpants into the washing machine

3. Add detergent

Add detergent to the washer. Do not use bleach. Check the detergent bottle’s label to find the right amount to add.

this is a photo of tall paul adding detergent to the wash

4. Adjust settings to cold

Adjust the settings on the washing machine to cold water and run the rinse cycle (how long does a washer take).

this is a photo of tall paul adjusting the setting to cold water

5. Dry your sweatpants

Once finished you can either hand dry, lay flat to dry, or use the dryer tumble dry on the “air dry” setting to remove the moisture from your sweatpants without shrinking.

this is a photo of a drying maching

Try our other guides on making sure you don’t shrink your clothes in the wash.

How to wash sweatpants without shrinking: quick tips

  • Do not wash your sweatpants on the hot water setting.
  • Do not dry your sweatpants in the dryer on tumble dry medium.
  • Do not dry your sweatpants in the dryer on tumble dry high.
  • Do not use bleach to wash your sweatpants.


Sweatpants will shrink in the wash only if they are washed with hot water. Use the cold water setting on your washing machine to avoid shrinking your sweatpants in the wash.

Turning your sweatpants inside out when washing is preferable because it will protect the outer layer while also exposing the detergent to the dirtiest parts of your pants, which is the insides.

Use the cold water setting while your cotton pants are in the washing machine to avoid shrinking them. Read this to best wash your sweatpants.

Use the cold water setting on your washing machine to wash your Nike sweatpants so that they don’t shrink. Avoid using hot water settings and avoid putting your sweatpants in the dryer. Line dry or lay flat to dry.

Yes, clothing made from 100% cotton will shrink. Cotton is one of the most shrink prone fibers and will shrink if placed in the washing machine or dryer while on high heat settings. Even 60% cotton will shrink.

Yes, hot water does shrink clothes. If you want to avoid shrinking your 100% cotton, cotton blend, wool, linen, or rayon garments, then make sure you use cold water in the washing machine and lukewarm water no hotter than 77°F (25°C) when hand washing.