How to Shrink Clothes in a Dryer

Updated February 21, 2017

So you found that perfect top or pair of pants It is the right style and will go beautifully with the rest of your wardrobe. The only problem is it's a little too big and the next size smaller is just a little too small for you. Before you walk away dismayed, consider the fact that you can shrink the size of your garment before you wear you it. If you are very careful, you can use the dryer to help your new clothing fit perfectly.

Check the tag of the shirt or pair of pants that you want to shrink in the dryer. You will want the material of the garment to be one hundred percent cotton or very close to it. You will also want to make sure the tag says machine washable; and not "dry clean only." If it meets these criteria, go ahead and purchase it.

Follow the washing instruction on your garment when you bring them home. Make sure to cut off the sales tags as well as any other tags that must be removed before washing or wearing. Wash the garment in the cycle suggested on the care instructions and wait for it to finish washing.

Read the instructions on the care tag for drying your garment. You will set your dryer setting based on the instructions and the amount you hope to shrink your clothing. If the instructions tell you to hang dry or not to place in the dryer, then select the lowest setting on your dryer. If the instructions say to dry your garment on low heat, then dry it on high heat.

Place your garment in the dryer alone and run machine until it is half way dry. Remove the garment and let it air dry the rest of the way until it is completely dry. Doing this will prevent your clothing from shrinking more than you would like it to shrink. Try on the dry garment and see if it has shrunk to the size that you desire. If you wish to shrink it further, rewash it or wet it completely, place the dryer on the same setting as you did previously and allow it to dry completely in the dryer.

Rewash the garment in hot water if you want it to shrink further and redry it on a higher setting than you did when you dried it previously.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton clothing
  • Laundry detergent
  • Washer
  • Dryer
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