How to Wash Sweatpants Without Shrinking: Avoid Using Heat!

Learn how to use the washing machine properly when washing sweatpants to avoid shrinkage!

How to Wash Sweatpants Without Shrinking

Cold Water

The first step when washing your sweatpants is to use cold water. Hot water will lead to minimal shrinking, no matter what else you do. When shrinkage occurs in the wash it can be a big problem, especially if you already like the fit of your new sweatpants.

This is How to Wash Sweatpants Without Shrinking: Avoid Using Heat!

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. 

If you are a taller guy looking to find the perfect fitting sweatpants that you won’t need to shrink, I created these guides of the top brands just for you.

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. This protects the outer layer and exposes the dirtiest part of your pants to the detergent.
  2. Place your sweatpants in the washing machine.
  3. Add detergent to the washer. Do not use bleach. Check the detergent bottle’s label to find the right amount to add.
  4. Adjust the settings on the washing machine to cold water and run the rinse cycle (how long does a washer take).
  5. 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.

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

Things to Avoid

Below are some things to avoid if you want to wash your sweatpants without shrinking or damaging them:

  • 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.

How Not to Shrink Clothes

Certain fabrics such as cotton, linen, wool, and rayon are very prone to shrinkage, so it’s important you know how to not shrink clothes made from those materials.

The main thing you want to avoid is heat. When washing clothes made from these materials you should be using cold water during the wash cycle. Be sure that the settings on your washing machine are adjusted appropriately before you wash your clothes that may shrink.

These types of clothes will also shrink in the dryer if they are dried on high heat settings. Use air dry, tumble dry low, or avoid the dryer all together if you really do not want to shrink your clothes. You may line hang or flat dry your clothes on a drying rack if you choose to avoid using the dryer. 

Drying clothes without a drying machine is the best way to avoid shrinking your clothes.

Does 100% Cotton Shrink?

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.

Learn more about how to stop 60% cotton sweatpants from shrinking & how hot does a dryer get.

Clothing made from natural fibers such as cotton or linen will shrink, whereas clothing made from man-made synthetic fibers such as polyester or spandex are more resistant to shrinkage.

Let me help you understand can you shrink polyester?

Does Hot Water Shrink Clothes?

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.

How to Wash Sweatpants Without Shrinking FAQ

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.

Written and reviewed by:
Tall Paul
Tall Paul
I am 6'7 (203cm) / 235lb (106 kg) model and ex-athlete. Since I was a teen I had trouble finding clothes. I was too tall for off the rack and was too lean for Big & Tall.

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