Do 100% Cotton Jeans Shrink?

Yes, 100% cotton jeans shrink and this is quite normal. Any jeans that is made of cotton will definitely shrink at first wash.

Even when the percentage of cotton is 98% with any other material, that jean will shrink. So, jeans made of 100% cotton will definitely shrink, and that shouldn’t be a big deal.

You should rather focus on ensuring that the shrinkage is not at every time you wash the jeans. The level of shrinkage depends on how you handle your jeans the first time you wash them.

Before I tell you how to prevent shrinkage and how to fix your shrunken jean, let’s see how and why 100% cotton jeans shrink. 

How Do They Shrink? 

100% cotton jeans

The first thing to know is what causes the shrinkage in cotton. To know this, we need to check what cotton is made of.

Cotton is made from plant. Naturally, plants wilt and melt when exposed to heat. And because cotton is made of plant, it will naturally shrink in jeans. It is just natural for cotton jeans and anything made of 100% cotton to shrink. 

The primary cause of shrinkage is heat, so it is in plants. Shrinkage may not occur in jeans unless exposed to heat. So, I’ll start now to say that the best way to prevent shrinkage on your 100% cotton jeans is to keep them away from any environment of heat.

When you use the dryer to dry your jeans after washing, you are directly exposing your jeans to shrinkage.

The makeup of jeans is to shrink when in contact with heat and you shouldn’t be surprised when that happens. Although, most times, your jeans will return to its original size after some wears. 

100% cotton jeans will shrink because they are made to shrink.

Even if you keep them away from heat from the first day you buy them, they will still shrink a little because that is how they are made. But, if you were to buy your jeans without having to wash them any day, they may not shrink, because it is in the process of washing and drying them that they shrink.

Sometimes, they shrink as a result of the way and place you handle and keep them. If your room or closet is always hot, your 100% jeans might absorb the heat from the environment and begin to shrink over time. 

How Much Will 100% Cotton Shrink? 

I think it is important to know how much 100% cotton jeans can shrink. The 100% cotton jeans that are already preshrunk will shrink just little of about 5% shrinkage.

Nowadays, most jeans you buy from the stores are already made to shrink so that you will not have to experience the high level of shrinkage a pure denim is able to shrink.

This is the reason many of you have not experienced so much shrinkage in your jeans and you might be wondering why the fuss about shrinking jeans. If you buy the denim jeans, the shrinkage is different from already shrunk jeans. 

The fact is that most 100% cotton jeans are already preshrunk before being sold to you, so the shrinkage is minimal and negligible.

If you want to know if your 100% cotton jeans will really shrink, find out if it’s preshrunk or pure denim before buying. But, I think that many like the preshrunk cotton jeans while many others will want to shrink the cotton jeans themselves.

Non prewashed cotton jeans will shrink upto 20%. The 100% cotton that is not preshrunk will shrink about 20% of its original size. 

How Much Does 100% Cotton Denim Shrink?

100% cotton jeans

The previous question was for jeans, this is about pure denim. Pure denim 100% cotton will shrink about 20 – 30%. This is very much expected since nothing is done by the manufacturer to reduce the shrinkage.

Most times, it is very normal that your pure denim jeans shrink this much at first wash. But, after the first wash, the shrinkage will decrease as you continue to wash them.

This 20% is peculiar to the first wash. You will not experience up to 10% in the next and subsequent washes. The first shrinkage should not scare you away, your jeans will most likely return to its original size. 

Most people like to get the pure denim jeans and shrink them their own way. If you see this percentage of shrinkage, just know that you bought the pure denim.

Raw denim are liable to shrink very much and you have to be prepared for the shrinkage. The pure denim will shrink both in length and width. Every part will experience the shrinkage because they are made of 100% cotton. The difference here is that jeans are usually washed to reduce the shrinkage but, raw denims are not usually washed before you buy them. 

How To Prevent 100% Cotton Jeans Shrinkage 100% cotton jeans

There are certain things you can do to prevent your 100% cotton jeans from shrinking much. You might only experience minimal shrinkage that is negligible after applying these methods.

1.Wash Your 100% Cotton Jeans In Cold Water

 Most jeans come with this very wash instruction. You will be told to wash your jeans in cold water before you start wearing them.

It is important that you start washing your newly acquired 100% cotton jeans in cold water to reduce and eliminate shrinkage. You do not only need to apply this just in the first wash, you are advised to always wash your 100% cotton jeans in cold water. In order to ensure the effect of this, you can handwash your jeans in cold water.

2. Avoid Putting Your 100% Cotton Jeans In The Dryer

We earlier discussed that heat is the enemy of cotton as it is the enemy of plant. Your 100% cotton jeans have no business in the dryer. And then, if you must use the dryer, there are certain measures you should take to ensure that your jeans doesn’t shrink.

Set the dryer in “air dry” only just so there’s no heat applied to your jeans. If there is any method you are going to apply, let it be this one. Even if you use the washer to wash your 100% cotton jeans, don’t use the dryer to dry them.

3. Line Dry Your 100% Cotton Jeans

Since it is important that you do not dry your 100% cotton jeans, how then do you dry them? The best way to dry them is to line dry them.

Hang them on lines or rack to dry in the natural air condition. You are to use hanger and hang them straight and let the water just drip out as they hang.

You should probably create rope lines for your jeans if you do not have one, because you are gonna need them in order to avoid shrinkage on your jeans.

4. Wash Them Inside Out

You will most likely see this instruction on your new jeans when you buy them. And, maybe you thought that it’s not so important.

It is as important as preventing your jeans from shrinking. So, while washing your 100% cotton jeans, wash them inside out and dry them inside out.

You just have to be consistent at doing this in order to prevent shrinkage in your jeans for as long as you want to wear them. 

How To Fix 100% Cotton Shrunken Jeans

There are two methods I’m going to recommend to you if you want to correct the shrinkage in your 100% cotton jeans.

1. Fix It Using Water and Spray

With these two things, you can quickly fix your shrunken jeans. This method is the fastest method and you can apply this when you are in a haste to wear your jeans out. 

  • After getting your water in a spray bottle, spray the water on the areas that have shrunken. Note that you only have to spray minimal amount of water and not pour the water on the jeans. You want to use it as soon as possible, right? 
  • After spraying the water, use your hands and begin to pull the part you have sprinkled the water one. You have to keep pulling until you can see that the shrinkage is no more. 
  • The last thing to do is to keep your jean flat to dry. Just place the jean on a flat surface where air can touch and dry up the water you’ve sprinkled. Wait for some minutes and then dress up in your jeans and go to where you want to go to.


2. This second method will take a longer time and you should do this when you are not in a haste to wear them. 

  • Turn your shrunken jeans inside out and place them in the washer. 
  • Soak with water in the washer and do not wash it. 
  • Let them soak for few minutes, then pull them out and begin to stretch and pull the shrunken areas. 
  • You can wear the jeans around so they stretch on you, then you hang them to air dry. 



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