How to shrink cotton trousers

Written by shelly schumacher | 13/05/2017
How to shrink cotton trousers
Cotton trousers too large? Follow these steps in order to shrink them to fit. (khvost/iStock/Getty Images)

Cotton is a popular fabric for cloth manufacturing for a multitude of reasons. Cotton is comfortable, breathable and easy to care for. In addition, if the clothing is not the perfect fit, it is easy to shrink to size. Because the cotton fibres are under a great deal of tension after the manufacturing process, mild to moderate sizing reductions, called relaxation shrinkage, can occur upon the first washing. Because of this, it is wise to purchase cotton fabrics just a little larger and allow them to shrink to fit.

Place cotton trousers into the washing machine.

Add washing powder as recommended by the washing machine instructions.

Set the machine to the highest water temperature and allow it to run through the entire cycle.

Iron wet trousers with an iron set to the highest heat setting. Be very careful not to stretch trousers while ironing, as this will cause uneven or wavy shrinkage.

Place the trousers in the dryer when they are almost dry from the ironing process. Run the dryer on the highest heat setting.

Allow the trousers to sit in the dryer for several minutes after the cycle is over.


Always keep the iron moving, or you will scorch the fabric.


Keep a close eye on the shrinkage process. It is easy to overshrink cotton fabrics.

Things you need

  • Washing machine
  • Clothes dryer
  • Washing powder
  • Iron

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