Will Denim Shrink In The Dryer? (High Heat)

There’s nothing like the feeling of a new pair of jeans. The problem is, sometimes they don’t quite fit the way we want them to when we first buy them.

We may wonder if denim will shrink in the dryer. The answer is yes. It will shrink if using high heat settings.

denim dryer

In this blog post, we’ll discuss why denim shrinks and how to prevent it from happening.

About Denim and Shrinkage

denim jeans
Credit: canva

The fabric, denim, is made of cotton fibers tightly woven together. The threads will tighten and shrink when exposed to high heat and agitation in the dryer.

This shrinkage can range from a small amount to a significant change in size, depending on the type of denim and how it was manufactured.

It’s important to follow the care instructions on the label, as some manufacturers may pre-shrink the denim during production.

Will Denim Shrink in the Dryer?

dryer 2
Jeans and Dryer. Credit: canva

Yes, it will. Denim will shrink in the dryer if they are dried using high heat settings. And cotton denim will tighten and shrink if exposed to high heat.

How Hot a Dryer Can Get

Most dryers have temperature settings ranging from low to high heat.

The temperature in the dryer can reach up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit during a high-heat cycle. The low heat setting is typically around 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

Denim exposed to 180 degrees Fahrenheit will shrink more than one exposed to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to Avoid Shrinkage in the Dryer

Of course, this isn’t always possible. If you’re in a hurry and need to put your denim in the dryer, you can do a few things to minimize the risk of shrinkage.

  • First, turn your jeans inside out before putting them in the dryer. This will help protect the fibers from the heat of the dryer.
  • Second, set your dryer to the lowest possible setting. This will again help to protect the fibers from heat damage.
  • Finally, don’t over-dry your jeans. Remove them from the dryer while they’re still slightly damp, and hang them up to finish drying.


How To Make Your Denim Jacket Softer
Photo by Chimi Dávila on Unsplash

How to Prevent the Shrinkage of New Jeans

  • Always check the care instructions on the label if you’re purchasing new jeans. Some companies pre-shrink their denim during production so that it won’t shrink as much in the wash and dryer.
  • Also, some brands offer “shrink-to-fit” jeans meant to be washed and dried.
  • Following the care instructions, washing in cold water and hanging to dry are good ways to prevent shrinkage in new jeans.

How to Fix if Jeans Shrink

If your denim does happen to shrink, there are ways to stretch them back out.

  • One way is to wet the jeans and then wear them while they’re damp to mold them back into shape. You may have to repeat this process a few times before the jeans return to their original size.
  • You can also use a clothing steamer or iron with a steam setting on the damp jeans for more targeted stretching.
  • Another option is to wet the entire jeans and lay them flat on a towel. Stretch the fabric in different directions as it dries, which should also help restore its original size.

Keep in mind that these methods may not work for significant shrinkage, and it’s always best to prevent shrinkage in the first place.


Can you reverse jeans shrinking?

You could try to reverse jeans shrinking by soaking them in cold water and then hanging them to dry.

However, buying a new pair of jeans that fit properly is often more effective.

How long does it take to shrink jeans in the dryer?

It takes about 30 minutes to shrink jeans in the dryer.

Denim shrinks differently depending on the brand, the weight of the fabric, and the type of dye used, so it’s best to check the care instructions on your jeans before you put them in the dryer.

If they’re not labeled as “shrink-to-fit,” I’d recommend air drying them.

What is the best way to shrink jeans?

If you want your jeans to shrink, washing in hot water and drying on high heat settings can help achieve that. However, this may also damage the fabric and cause them to lose its shape.

A better option is to buy “shrink-to-fit” jeans and follow the care instructions.

Related Topics

Do Jeans Shrink Every Time You Wash Them?

It is a common misconception that jeans will shrink every time they are washed. In reality, it depends on the type of fabric and the method of washing.

For example, denim made with 100% cotton will likely shrink in hot water or, if put in the dryer, whereas denim made with a combination of cotton and synthetic fibers may not shrink as much.

Additionally, using gentle cycles and air drying can also help prevent shrinking. Overall, it is important to follow the care instructions on the garment to avoid shrinkage.

How Much Do Jeans Shrink In The Dryer?

It depends on the material and quality of the jeans. Generally, jeans made with 100% cotton will shrink the most in the dryer, while jeans with a blend of cotton and synthetic materials may not shrink as much.

It also depends on the heat setting used in the dryer and how long the jeans are left in the dryer.

Some people have reported their jeans shrinking to full size, while others have seen minimal shrinking.

To prevent excessive shrinkage, it is recommended to hang dry or only use a low heat setting in the dryer. Additionally, some people recommend buying slightly looser jeans for a comfortable fit, as they will shrink to your desired fit after being washed and dried.

Can You Unshrink Denim?

While there is no surefire way to guarantee success in restoring shrunken denim, a few methods have been known to work.

  • One process involves soaking the denim in warm water and hair conditioner for about 30 minutes, then stretching and reshaping the fabric while it is wet.
  • Another involves filling a sink or bucket with lukewarm water and adding three tablespoons of baby shampoo, letting the denim soak for 20 minutes before stretching and reshaping.

It is important to note that these methods may not always work and could cause further damage to the fabric. It is also recommended to test on a small inconspicuous area before attempting on the entire garment.

Can You Shrink Jeans That Are Too Big?

Yes, it is possible to shrink jeans that are too big.

  • One method is to wash them in hot water and then put them in the dryer on high heat.
  • Another option is to try soaking the jeans in hot water and stretch them while wet, then allow them to air dry. It is important to note that there is always a chance of shrinking the jeans too much or unevenly, so it is best to try this method on a pair of less expensive or older jeans first.
  • Additionally, some materials (such as polyester blends) may not shrink at all. It may also be worth considering taking the jeans to a tailor for alterations for a more precise fit.

Can Shrunken Clothes Be Unshrunk?

It depends on the type of fabric and the method by which the clothes were shrunk.

For example, if the shrinkage is washed and dried on high heat, it is possible to try rewashing the garment in cold water and laying it flat to dry, which may restore some of the fabric’s elasticity.

However, if the shrinkage was due to a chemical process such as felting wool, it may not be possible to reverse the shrinkage.

It is also important to note that attempting to unshrink clothing may result in further damage or a change in fit. Hence, it is important to carefully consider whether the desired outcome is worth any potential risk.

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