Do Jeans Shrink in Length or Width?

Jeans shrink in both ways. But, they shrink in length more than in width. Jeans can shrink as much as 10% at the first wash, but your jeans may likely shrink just about 2 – 4% in length.

When jeans shrink in length, it may be favourable to short people, because the jeans will form to their height. When jeans shrink in width, it affects the waist of the jeans more.

It might make the waist of the jean tighter on you or more fitting on you. You should not really border about the shrinkage in width, but that of the length.

Why Do Jeans Shrink?

The fabric used

Jeans shrink for several reasons. One is that the materials that jeans are made of are natural shrinkers.

Cotton is made of plant fibers and the plant wilt when it gets too hot. The outstanding reason jeans shrink is a result of the presence of heat, and high temperature.

Most jeans are made of a higher percentage of cotton. Some are even made of 100% cotton. It could be 99%, 90%, or even 67%.

Cotton will still contribute the highest percentage to the making of jeans. Expect any jeans you purchase to shrink, because that is the nature of jeans.

Another fabric that will naturally make jeans shrink is polyester. Polyester also has a tendency to shrink when used to make jeans.

Polyester most time contributes the second-highest percentage in jeans after cotton. It could be as high as 40% or as low as 4%. Whatever percentage is used still has the tendency to shrink jeans.

So, expect your jeans to shrink when you see the presence of polyester as one of the materials. This means that you need to check the fabric composition when trying to purchase your jeans. This way, you will know the level of shrinkage to expect.


This is the primary reason jeans shrink. Knowing that heat will naturally shrink cotton because it is made from plant fibers should make us avoid using heat on our jeans.

This heat could be a result of using the washing machine and dryer. This is one of the reasons jeans shrink badly and sometimes, your jeans may be damaged if you continue using the washing machine and dryer without caution.

You should know that a high degree of heat can damage your jeans.

Jeans also shrink according to the degree of the temperature of water used in washing them. We have already established that heat shrinks jeans. It is actually dependent on the temperature of water you use in washing and the degree you apply to your dryer.

So, using a very high degree often can go as far as damaging your jeans, but using a moderate degree of temperature can save your jeans from shrinkage.

A lot of people use a washing machine and dryer for their jeans. Inasmuch as that is not bad, you need to understand how to use it for your jeans.

Avoiding wash instructions

Your jeans will shrink a lot if you do not adhere to the wash instructions prescribed by the jean manufacturer. For instance, KanKan jeans require that you wash them inside out with the same colors of jeans.

If you do not check for such instructions and stick to them, your jeans will not only shrink but may get damaged easily.

So, what’s the deal, always check for the wash instructions on the description of any jeans you buy to know how to handle them.

If you do not know how to handle a thing, you might not handle it well. Same with jeans, there are practical ways to prevent them from shrinking and that’s what we are talking about next.

How To Prevent Your Jeans From Shrinking

Control the temperature of the water you use in washing your jeans

That is, if you are using the washing machine. You can actually decide what degree to use that will prevent your jeans from shrinking. Know that from 80-90 degrees or higher will shrink your jeans.

From 60 degrees and below will prevent your jeans from shrinking. So, next time you’re using a washing machine and dryer for your jeans, try setting the heat to a lower temperature degree in order to preserve your jeans.

Another way to prevent your jeans from shrinking is to use cold water when washing them. We know that heat shrinks jeans, so using cold water will not.

Some people are actually not used to using cold water in washing their wear, but if you want your jeans not to shrink, then try using it for just your jeans.

Avoid washing your jeans all the time. Whether you use heat or not, do not always wash your jeans. You may not like the outcome in a few months.

Also, air-dry your jeans

The heat of the dryer causes a lot of shrinkages and you can prevent that by deciding to air dry your jeans. The natural air will enable your jeans to get dried without shrinking. Put your jeans out on the clothesline and let them dry that way.

Some people are fun of drying their jeans twice in the dryer. If you are using the dryer and maybe the power supply goes off when your jeans are not dried yet, avoid the temptation of putting it back in the dryer.

That will cause it to shrink a lot. You could keep it out to dry rather than apply heat for the second time. That way, your jeans will be prevented from shrinking.

Wash your jeans inside out

This method is actually recommended by most jeans brands. While washing your jeans, ensure you wash them inside out to prevent shrinkage.

Also, wash your jeans with like colors of jeans to prevent a mix of colors while getting dried. This is also very easy to do whether you are using a washing machine and dryer or you are hand washing.

Just purchase pre-shrunk jeans from the store.

There are jeans available in some stores that are already pre-shrunk and they may not experience much shrinkage after that.

So, you can go for those ones. The only disadvantage is that you may not find the jeans you actually want among that and they may still shrink badly.

Lastly, purchase high-quality jeans

High quality jeans will not really stress you when it comes to shrinkage. They might just shrink at the first wash and retain their shape after that.

So, spend your money on what will not stress you if you have enough to spend.

Do Jeans Loose Overtime?

Actually, yes. Having learnt that jeans shrink and how to prevent the shrinkage, you might still be bothered about regaining the size of your jeans if they eventually shrink.

Your jeans will loose over time as you wear them. Now, there are two ways to do this: they may not totally get loosed to the original shape and they may actually loosen over the original shape. This is all dependent on the materials used in making the jeans.

Do not actually expect your jeans to loose to the original shape. This is why most short people buy long jeans because they know that shrinkage will make those jeans shorter and fitting for them.

So, your jeans will lose over time if the material used in making that jeans supports that. A hundred percent cotton jeans, for instance, will eventually get loose to its normal size over time. So, check for the fabric used before purchasing a jean.

Some jeans with spandex material get loosed oversize. The best way to buy your jeans is to buy the size that best fits you. It will still get loose overtime to that size even when it shrinks.


Do Jeans shrink at all? Yes, jeans naturally shrink. What makes jeans shrink? Heat, nature of the fabric used, the temperature of water used to wash them, not adhering to washing instructions.

Can you prevent your jeans from shrinking and how? Yes, you can prevent your jeans from shrinking and that is majorly done by avoiding washing your jeans in the presence of high heat temperature.

What if your jeans shrink, will it loose overtime? The answer is yes. Your jeans will naturally loose even if you do not do anything about it.

The best thing to do if your jeans shrink is to hang it to air dry. Allow air to touch it and it will loose overtime. Also, when you air dry your jeans after shrinkage, they naturally loosen up to your shape and size.

So, check for the wash instructions and duly take care of your jeans. If you do not take care of your jeans, you might eventually damage it.

So, the basic thing is how you take care of your jeans. If you take proper care, your shrinkage may not actually affect the size of your jeans.


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