Can Jeans Shrink In The Dryer? Tips To Prevent Shrinkage In The Dryer

  • Wash jeans in cold water and air dry to prevent shrinkage: hot water and high heat cause cotton fibers to shrink.
  • Always check clothing labels for specific washing and drying instructions. Follow them closely.
  • If drying jeans in a machine, use a low or medium heat setting. Remove while still slightly damp and stretch/smooth to maintain shape.
  • Skip the dryer completely and hang dry or lay flat to air dry for zero shrinkage.
  • Soaking and stretching damp jeans helps lock in shape and reduce shrink potential.
  • Use fabric softener or detergent when washing to loosen fibers and limit shrinkage.
  • Fit can be tweaked without washing by steaming while hanging and stretching problem areas.
A pair of jeans being placed in a dryer, representing the question 'Can jeans shrink in the dryer?

For the people who love to wear jeans, there is a crucial question: can jeans shrink in the dryer while drying after washing? Denim is made of cotton, and it shrinks when exposed to heat. So, if you’re drying jeans in your dryer, your jeans will shrink.

But not all jeans shrink at the same rate or even the same amount. It all depends on how good your jeans are, what dye you use, and how well they’re made.

If you want to keep your jeans from shrinking, it’s best to wash them in cold water instead of hot water, then air dry them. But if you dry them, use a low heat setting and take them out while they’re still slightly wet to avoid too much shrinkage.

In this article, we will reveal the secrets of why jeans shrink in the dryer and tips to prevent jeans shrinkage in the dryer

Can jeans shrink in the dryer?

Can jeans shrink in the dryer? Yes, a pair of jeans can shrink in the dryer. It’s no secret that jeans are one of the most durable and versatile pieces of clothing out there, but many people wonder if they’ll shrink in a dryer or washing machine. Well, the answer depends on the fabric and the manufacturer’s care instructions.

Generally, 100% cotton jeans will shrink more than synthetic fibers. So, if you want to keep your jeans looking great, wash them in cold water. Hang them to dry if you prefer to use a dryer.

But if you use a dryer too hot, you could end up with a lot of shrinkage – especially if your jeans have a lot of cotton.

If you do not wish to shrink your jeans in the dryer, use the air dry or tumble dry low settings. Some jeans have been shrink-shrunk before or have unique treatments to keep them from shrinking too much, but it’s always a good idea to read the instructions and do whatever it takes to keep your jeans in the perfect fit and shape.

Why do jeans shrink in the dryer?

Heat is the leading cause of shrinkage. High temperatures cause the fibers in your jeans to shrink. Plus, 100% cotton jeans are more likely to shrink than jeans made with a mix of synthetic fibers.

Wash your jeans in cold water, then air dry them. If you prefer to use the dryer, here are a few things you can do.

Set the heat to low or medium instead of high. Keep your jeans dry by taking them out of the dryer slightly wet. Stretch your jeans while they’re still damp to help keep them in their shape. Remember that some shrinkage can still happen, especially with jeans that need to be better made or have been washed and dried a few times.

Tips to prevent shrink jeans in the dryer

A few tips will help you prevent the shrinking of jeans while washing jeans in the washing machine. Now, you will be able to dry your jeans without shrinking them. 

Read the care label

Don’t let your jeans shrink in the dryer! Make sure you read and follow the instructions on the care label. Check if there are any specific instructions for washing and drying. Wash them in cold water since hot water can cause them to shrink more.

Don’t use the high heat setting on the dryer, just a low or medium one. It’s also a good idea to take them out while they’re still damp and hang them up to air dry. Some jeans fade while washing in hot water or using high heat.

Wash jeans in cold water

Wash your jeans in cold water instead of hot water. Hot water can shrink the fibers in your jeans, but cold water helps keep them looking their best.

Plus, turning them inside out before you wash them to keep their color and fabric safe is a good idea. After washing, you can air dry them or use the low heat on your dryer. High heat can cause them to shrink even more.

Use a gentle cycle

A gentle cycle is the best way to go when it comes to jeans in the dryer. That way, the heat and agitation from the dryer won’t cause the jeans to shrink. The more heat jeans are exposed to, the more they will shrink.

Ensure you don’t overload the dryer too much, as that can cause the jeans to dry unevenly and shrink. Try setting the dryer on low heat to even out the drying process.

Skip the dryer altogether 

Hang your jeans for air drying or lay them on a flat surface-to-air dry. If the dryer must be used, set it to low or no heat and remove your jeans while they’re still slightly wet. Wash Your Jeans in Cold Water. Avoid using hot water to wash your jeans. Hot water can shrink your jeans. Don’t Overload the Dryer With Too Many Jeans.

Stretch while damp

One of the best ways to avoid shrinkage is to stretch your jeans while wet. After washing, lay your jeans flat and gently stretch them in all directions to loosen the fibers and keep them from shrinking in the dryer.

Pull the waistband and legs of your jeans to keep them in their original shape. You can also use a lower heat setting or air dry your jeans to avoid shrinkage.

If you want to shrink jeans, then put your jeans on for the first time after washing, only to loosen up a little after about an hour or two; that is relaxation shrinkage happening again because you have re-introduced the tension that stretched your waistband.

Consider using fabric softener or detergent 

One of the best ways to reduce the shrinkage of your jeans is to use fabric softener or detergent when washing them. You can use fabric softener in the rinse cycle when washing your jeans.

The fabric softener will help to loosen the fibers in your jeans and reduce the chances of them shrinking due to the high heat in your dryer. 

Fabric softener will also help to make your jeans feel softer and more comfortable when you wear them. Another way to reduce shrinkage in your jeans is by following the care instructions on the label. Some brands even suggest air drying your jeans to minimize shrinkage.

How to Shrink Jeans So They Fit Perfectly without Washing Machine?

If you don’t have a washing machine but still want to get a better fit on your jeans, you can do a few things. Start by boiling water to soak your jeans for 20 minutes.

Once the water is all gone, you can take them out and wring out the excess. Then, lay them out flat, stretch, and pull the fabric down in the areas you want it to shrink. Doing this will help the fibers tighten up, giving you a more tailored fit. 

If you have a steam iron, you can hang your jeans up on the hanger and steam them with the steam function of your iron. Make sure you steam evenly and set the heat to low to medium.

Once you’re done, let your jeans air dry before you put them on. Remember that these methods sometimes give you a different amount of shrinking than washing machines, but they’ll still help you get a better fit.


In conclusion, can jeans shrink in the dryer? Dryer jeans can shrink when exposed to high heat and agitation, as the fibers in the jeans contract. To prevent this, it is recommended to follow a few tips. Firstly, check the care label for specific instructions. Secondly, air drying is the most effective way to prevent shrinkage. 

If air drying is impossible, the dryer should be set to a lower or higher heat setting. Thirdly, turning the jeans inside out before the dryer is used can help preserve the outer fabric.

Fourthly, taking the jeans out of the dryer while the moisture is still present and allowing the jeans to air dry the remainder of the way can help prevent further shrinkage and maintain the appearance and fit of the jeans. You can repeat the process


Rita Wood is the founder and editor-in-chief of Fashiontrack.net, a style blog helping women develop their own fashion sense. After working 10 years in the fashion industry, Rita combined her passion for writing and fashion to create Fashiontrack in 2022. When she's not blogging, Rita is chasing after her two young daughters, binge-watching runway shows, or searching for the perfect pair of jeans.

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