How To Shrink Sweatpants

How To Shrink Sweatpants?

How To Shrink Sweatpants?

Have you ever struggled with ill-fitting sweatpants? If so, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Sweatpants can become baggy and stretched out over time, or their size may be off to begin with.

Unfortunately, new sweatpants aren’t always an option due to budget constraints or a lack of options in stores that provide the right fit. However, there is an easy way to shrink your existing sweatpants without spending money: hot water!

By submerging your pair of sweatpants in warm (not boiling) water and allowing the fabric to sit for several minutes before washing them as usual, they will shrink down significantly with just one tumble dry on low heat.

In this blog post, we’re going to explore how to shrink sweatpants so you can wear them with confidence. With the simple steps outlined here, you will be able to adjust your favorite sweatpants in no time – whether they’re made from cotton or spandex.

So get ready for some satisfying DIY and follow along as we show you exactly how it’s done!

How To Shrink Sweatpants

What Are Sweatpants?

Well, sweatpants are a type of clothing that is designed to be worn while exercising or lounging around. They are usually made of lightweight fabric and feature an elastic waistband, drawstring or both for adjustable sizing.

Sweatpants often have pockets on either side for carrying items like phones and wallets. They can also be found with ribbing at the ankle and cuffs to help keep them in place.

Sweatpants come in a variety of colors and styles, making them the perfect choice for those who want to stay comfortable and stylish during their workouts or downtime activities.

Whether you’re hitting the gym, running errands, or just hanging out at home, a pair of sweatpants will always provide comfort and convenience. 

What Is Shrinking?

Shrinking is a process that reduces the size or shape of fabrics. It can be done either chemically or mechanically, such as through the application of heat and steam.

When clothes are manufactured, they may be treated with chemicals to make them shrink-resistant, but over time and repeated washing they may shrink slightly.

Shrinking can also be caused by improper care, such as drying on high heat or using bleach when laundering your garments. To prevent shrinking, it’s best to follow the instructions on your garment’s tag and avoid high temperatures when cleaning and storing your clothes. 

How To Shrink Sweatpants?

We’ve provided you with what exactly sweatpants are and what shrinking is, so how to shrink sweatpants? Are there different ways to shrink sweatpants or not? Is it easy to shrink sweatpants?

In fact, there are a lot of different methods for shrinking sweatpants, and here, we mention some of the most common ways to shrink sweatpants.

Method 1: Shrinking sweatpants by using a washing machine

As we all know, any type of clothing must be washed to keep it clean and fresh. Besides, people can use the washing machine as a tool to shrink sweatpants. This is a detailed instruction for shrinking sweatpants by using a washing machine.

First and foremost, prepare a clean and empty laundry basket.

Then you can put your sweatpants into the washing machine and select cold water mode for a shorter time (about 5 minutes). Remember to choose the type of washing detergent that is color-safe and gentle.

After the laundering process, remove the sweatpants from the washing machine and start to dry them. People need to choose the one with the fastest drying time and the hottest setting. Because the heat will help shrink sweatpants better.

Method 2: Shrinking sweatpants by using boiling water

Boiling water is an excellent way to shrink your sweatpants as well.

Boil a large pot of water and make sure that the amount of water is enough for submerging your sweatpants. To avoid the accidental shrinking of other clothes, it’s advisable to use a laundry bag to contain them and prevent them from getting wet.

After that, put the sweatpants into the boiling water for 15 minutes before taking them out and lay flat on a cloth until they cool down. Make sure that the water is on low or medium temperature, so it does not scorch or damage the fabric.

After boiling, take out the pants immediately and place them into a sink full of cold water for several minutes to stop them from shrinking further.

Method 3: Shrinking sweatpants by using an iron

Another method for shrinking sweatpants is by using an iron.

Put your sweatpants in the dryer with a few tennis balls, and take them out when they are almost dry.

After that, put the wet sweatpants on an ironing board and use a low-heat setting on the iron to press down each area of fabric. This should help you achieve a tighter fit and make sure not to over-iron as it can damage the material of your clothing.

Do this until all areas are complete, and check whether they have reached your desired size or not.

Method 4: Shrinking sweatpants by using blow drying 

The last way to shrink sweatpants is by using blow drying.

The first step will take place the same as the second method – boil a pot of water. However, this time you will need to submerge your sweatpants for 5 minutes in hot water and then take them out.

After that, put the damp sweatpants into the dryer and set it to low heat. When they are almost fully dry, take them out and put them on a flat surface.

Then use a hair dryer (set on low) to blow-dry the pants until you achieve your desired fit. Be careful not to over-dry or burn the fabric, as this can damage your clothing.

Now you know some methods of shrinking sweatpants with different tools and materials available at home. Ultimately, all these methods are easy-to-follow and effective for shrinking sweatpants without damaging their material or causing any other sort of harm.

Why Do Shrinking Sweatpants Matter?

After knowing the methods used to shrink sweatpants, it’s essential to understand why the process of shrinking sweatpants matters.

Sweatpants are a comfortable and convenient clothing item that can be worn in any situation. Whether you’re exercising or just lounging around the house, having the right fit is important for your comfort and style.

Here are some reasons why shrinking sweatpants is important:

  • It provides a more tailored fit and can make an outfit look stylish:

Sweatpants that fit well add a touch of style to any outfit. Having the proper size can help bring out your figure and make you look more put together while still being comfortable.

  • It ensures comfortable wear:

Sweatpants are meant to be loose and baggy, but if they’re too big it can be uncomfortable or even dangerous if you’re exercising. Shrinking sweatpants make sure that they have the right fit for activities like running, jumping, or doing yoga without feeling restricted.

  • It helps preserve the material of your clothes:

Regular washing and drying can cause the fabric to shrink over time, so shrinking sweatpants before each wash will help keep them looking new longer. This is especially important when dealing with delicate fabrics like cashmere or silk.

Some Other Methods To Shrink Sweatpants

Besides the methods mentioned above, there are also some other ways to shrink sweatpants.

1. Drying rack

Using a drying rack is an effective way to shrink sweatpants without using any heat source. First, put your damp sweatpants on the drying rack and let them air dry for several hours until they reach your desired fit. This method can be time-consuming but works great if you don’t want to use a washing machine or iron.

2. Hot water soak

Soaking your sweatpants in hot water before air-drying them will help make them smaller. Make sure that the temperature of the water isn’t too hot as this can damage the fabric of your clothing. Let them soak for 20 to 30 minutes before air-drying them.

3. Dryer balls

Dryer balls are a great way to shrink your sweatpants without using any heat source. Put the damp sweatpants in the dryer with several dryer balls and let it run for 20 minutes on low heat. This will help break down the fibers and make them smaller.

These methods are all excellent ways for shrinking sweatpants without damaging the material or causing any other harm. Try out a few of them and see how they work for you.

Types Of Sweatpants Affecting Shrinking

Different types of sweatpants can have a major impact on how much they shrink. The fabric and construction of the pants will determine whether they shrink more or less than others.

Generally, 100% cotton sweatpants tend to shrink the most, while synthetic materials like polyester or spandex may not shrink much at all.

100% cotton: Cotton sweatpants are known to shrink the most, so it’s important to be careful when shrinking them. Using one of the methods mentioned above should help you achieve your desired size without damaging the fabric.

Polyester/Spandex: These materials don’t usually shrink much, so they won’t need as much attention when trying to make them smaller. However, it’s still important to take care not to over-dry or iron these fabrics as this can cause permanent damage.

Additionally, pre-washed sweatpants may not shrink as much as those that are dry-cleaned only because some of the shrinkings has already occurred after washing them initially.

Finally, be sure to read the care label on your sweatpants before attempting to shrink them. This will help you understand how they’ll react when exposed to heat or cold water so that you know which method is best for shrinking them without damaging the material.

Overall, understanding how different types of sweatpants will affect shrinking is key for achieving a comfortable fit and preserving the material of your clothing. Be sure to pay attention to what type of fabric you have and use the appropriate method for how to shrink sweatpants.

How Much Do Sweatpants Shrink?

The amount of shrinkage that will occur depends on the type of fabric and construction of your sweatpants.

Sweatpants made entirely of cotton often shrink the most, but garments made of synthetic materials like polyester or spandex may not shrink at all.

Pre-washed sweatpants are likely to shrink less than those that are dry-cleaned only since some of the shrinkings has already occurred after washing them initially.

Moreover, the method used for shrinking sweatpants will also affect how much they shrink. Generally, using a washing machine with hot water and tumble drying on high heat is the most effective way to shrink sweatpants, while using cold water and air-drying them is likely to have less of an effect.

What Causes Sweatpants To Shrink?

Sweatpants can shrink for a number of reasons.

1) Natural Shrinking:

The most common cause is the natural shrinking that occurs when fabrics are exposed to high temperatures, such as hot water or a dryer. This type of heat will break down the fibers in the fabric and cause them to become shorter and tighter, resulting in overall shrinkage.

2) Detergent Buildup:

Another cause of shrinking is detergent buildup. If you don’t use the right amount of detergent or if you leave your sweatpants in the washing machine for too long, residue can build up on the fabric and create a tighter fit as it dries.

3) Improper Washing:

Improper washing techniques can also lead to shrinking. For example, using hot water or a high heat setting on the dryer when washing your sweatpants can more quickly break down the fibers and result in shrinkage.

It’s important to be mindful of this when trying to shrink your clothing as excessive heat can cause permanent damage.

Shrinking sweatpants is a great way to get a better fit, enhance their durability and improve their overall look. With the right tools and techniques, you can easily shrink your sweatpants without damaging or overstretching the material.


What to do if my sweatpants are too loose?

If your sweatpants are too loose, you may want to consider shrinking them.

As mentioned above, using a washing machine and tumble dryer on high heat is the most effective way of shrinking them. Alternatively, you could also try one of the other methods such as air-drying or using a drying rack for more gentle shrinkage. 

If you don’t want to use any type of heat source, some other options might work for you. For instance, wearing multiple layers underneath your sweatpants can help make them fit more snugly without having to shrink them.

Additionally, there are several types of shapewear out there designed specifically for making pants fit better without needing to alter their size or shape.

Do sweatpants shrink easily?

Yes, sweatpants have a reputation for quickly shrinking when placed in hot or hot water. Sweatpants made entirely of cotton often shrink the most, but garments made of synthetic materials like polyester or spandex may not shrink at all.

Because part of the shrinking has already taken place after the initial wash, trousers that have already been washed may also shrink less than those that have only been dry cleaned. 

Can cold water shrink sweatpants?

Yes, cold water can shrink sweatpants, but generally not as much as hot water. While hot water will break down the fibers more quickly, resulting in greater shrinkage, cold water may take longer to have an effect.

Additionally, using a low heat setting on your dryer after washing in cold water may also help reduce the amount of shrinking that occurs.

However, it’s important to remember that over-shrinking can cause permanent damage to your sweatpants so it’s best to stay within a reasonable range when trying to achieve a comfortable fit.  

What temperature do you shrink sweatpants?

The ideal temperature for shrinking sweatpants is usually around 140-160°F. This will provide enough heat to break down the fibers in the fabric and cause them to shrink without causing permanent damage.

Additionally, it’s important to pay attention to the care label on your sweatpants so that you know which method is best for shrinking them without damaging the material. 

Are sweatpants shrunk after washing?

Yes, after being washed in hot water and then dried on high heat, sweatpants typically shrink. Polyester and spandex are examples of synthetic textiles that could not shrink significantly or at all.

Additionally, since part of the shrinking has already happened during the original wash, pre-washed sweatpants are likely to shrink less than ones that have simply been dry-cleaned. 


In summary, after reading this blog post, you’re confident to answer how to shrink sweatpants and what causes them to shrink. You know you can shrink sweatpants using hot water, tumble drying on high heat or other methods such as air drying or using a drying rack.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that over-shrinking can cause permanent damage so it’s best to stay within a reasonable range when trying to achieve a comfortable fit.

We hope that this article has helped you to get a better understanding of how to properly shrink sweatpants. Thanks for reading! 


3 Ways to Shrink Sweatpants – wikiHow

Sweatpants – Wikipedia

Clothing Fabric Choices, Care Labels, Comfort, Fit, Size, and Safety 

Grey Fleece Sweatpants with Pockets

Similar Posts


  1. Well, Good Job. I find this article is very interesting, thanks for sharing the informative post with your experiences.

  2. Dear Cinda,

    It’s an excellent post. Your advice was very detailed and informative, and I appreciate that you included both machine-washing and hand-washing methods. This is going to be very helpful when my sweatpants become too loose!

    I am looking forward to trying out your tips and seeing the results.


    Rodney Cohen

  3. Very nice article, I found it very useful. After reading your blog, I know how to shrink sweatpants. It’s amazing. Hope to see more content!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *