How to shrink a cotton shirt one size

Written by erin griffith
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How to shrink a cotton shirt one size
Can't find your size? Get one size larger and shrink it in the wash. (looking for a shirt image by Ramona smiers from

While comfortable, a baggy T-shirt can often look sloppy. To make your favourite tee or other type of cotton blouse smaller, just wash it. A high-heat wash and dry can shrink a 100-percent cotton garment as much as one size smaller. Typically the shrinkage occurs from the bottom of the shirt more than from the sides.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Washing machine
  • Dryer
  • Cotton shirt

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  1. 1

    Inspect your shirt's tag to ensure it is made of 100-percent cotton. If it's a cotton blend, it won't shrink as much on the first try as a fully cotton shirt will.

  2. 2

    Examine any designs or screenprints on the shirt. If there is a thick, heavy screenprint on the shirt, it may overheat in the dryer and melt. Likewise, a very thick, intricate design such as lettering could warp on high heat and create an irregular shape in the shirt. Read the shirt's care instructions to make sure it doesn't warn against high heat.

  3. 3

    Toss your T-shirt in the washer on the highest heat setting available.

  4. 4

    Dry the shirt on high heat. Include a cling-free dryer sheet. When the cycle is over, feel the shirt. If it's not steaming hot, throw it back in for another 30 minutes. The longer it tumbles in hot heat, the more it will shrink.

Tips and warnings

  • If your shirt only shrank in length but not in width, you may need a tailor's help.
  • If your shirt is still too large, repeat the steps.

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