How to Shrink Denim

Updated February 21, 2017

Finding the right fit in a pair of jeans is next to impossible -- if they aren't too tight, they have an extra inch of material keeping them from hugging your form just so. Luckily, it's a lot easier to shrink that extra inch of denim material than it is to shrink that extra inch on your waist or thighs. You can shrink your denim into the right fit in the privacy of your own home with a few simple steps.

Place your article of denim clothing in the washing machine and fill the machine with the appropriately measured amount of detergent.

Send your denim through a wash cycle on the highest heat setting your washing machine offers.

Place your denim clothing in the dryer and send it through a cycle on the highest heat setting your dryer offers.


The Style Forum web site suggests skipping the wash cycle and instead recommends soaking your denim, turning it inside out and tossing it in the dryer for a cycle with a fabric softener sheet.


Be sure to do one wash and/or dryer cycle at a time and try on your denim clothing after each one to avoid excessive shrinkage.

Things You'll Need

  • Washing machine
  • Dryer
  • Washing powder
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About the Author

Ally Tracy began writing in 1988. One of her poems, "A Kiss," was published in an edition of the "Norton Anthology," and her work includes numerous screenplays, short stories and children's stories. Tracy holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Southern California and a Master of Arts in psychology from Ryokan College.