How to Make a Jacket Shrink

Updated April 17, 2017

You may have bought a jean or cotton jacket that's a bit big for you, or you're giving a jacket of yours to a friend or relative who is smaller than you. You can shrink it at home for free instead of buying a smaller size or paying to have it tailored. Shrinking jackets can only be done with denim and cotton jackets. You won't need any speciality materials. All you need is your washing machine and your dryer. Do not attempt this method with polyester, acrylic or leather.

Place your jacket into the washing machine.

Set your washing machine water temperature to the hottest it can go.

Add detergent.

Let your washing machine run once.

Hang your jacket up on the hanger or on a clothesline until dry. Test to see if it has shrunk enough. If so, you've finished. If not, continue onto Step 6.

Repeat Steps 1 through 4. When your jacket has been washed again, rather than hanging it up, place it in the dryer.

Set your dryer to medium heat. When the cycle is done, try the jacket to see if it has reached the size you want. If not, repeat Step 6.


If it is a black or dark-coloured jacket, use detergent that is for dark colours so that the jacket doesn't fade.

Things You'll Need

  • Washing machine
  • Dryer
  • Detergent
  • Jacket
  • Plastic coated hanger or clothesline
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Lexie Zirkle has been a freelance writer since 2008 and is an author of both fiction and nonfiction. Zirkle is pursuing a B.A. in English and philosophy at Amherst College. She specializes in swimming and life-guarding topics, as well as literary analysis and current events.