Do Levi’s Jeans Shrink After Washing?

Yes, Levi’s jeans shrink after washing. The shrinkage that will occur in the first time washing, and will be higher than the subsequent washing.

If you do not want to purchase denim that will shrink, request the pre-shrunk Levi’s jeans.

Nowadays, there are denim jeans that have been shrunken already in the making process in order to either eliminate or reduce the shrinking rate when washed.

Aside from that, have it in mind that most Levi’s jeans you find in stores will definitely shrink.

Major reasons why Levi’s jeans shrink after washing

It will be better to know the reason Levi’s jeans shrink in order to understand how to handle them. Levi’s jeans shrink because of the fabric used in making them.

In Levi’s jeans, the major fabric used in making them is cotton. To understand why Levi’s jeans will shrink because of cotton material, let’s get back to the basics.

What is cotton made of? Cotton is made of plant fibers. If you are familiar with science, you will know that plants decay and wilt when exposed to excess heat.

This is the same with cotton. Shrinkage will be more in denim that is made of 100% cotton. Cotton and heat are not friends and they tend to react when put together.

So, heat is the major reason your Levi’s jeans will shrink. When you expose your Levi’s jeans to a high degree of heat, there is every possibility that there will be shrinkage.

As a result, your Levi’s jeans will shrink when you use the washing machine and dryer in washing and drying them. The above reasons are why your Levi’s jeans will shrink.

You can conclude that heat is the enemy of your Levi’s jeans, especially, high-degree of heat.

How much will my Levi’s shrink?

Your Levi’s jeans will shrink as much as 7-10% at first wash. Then, the shrinkage will gradually reduce after the first wash.

What you should know is that most Levi’s today are already pre-shrunk. So, you should expect little shrinkage when you purchase one of those.

Pre-shrunk means that the shrinkage has been taken away in the process of making, this gives them little shrinkage when being washed.

Another thing you should know is that your Levi’s jeans will shrink as much as you take care of them. Levi’s jeans need proper care and without that, they will shrink. It may get worse to the point of damage.

So, even after the 7% shrinkage at first wash, if there is no proper care, it may shrink more and more. Be rest assured that if you purchase pre-shrunk jeans, they will not shrink as much, just a little.

Levi’s jeans do not have a bad history of shrinkage, which means they are less likely to get damaged easily.

And that also means that they do not shrink so much after the first wash. Levi’s has advised that you size up the most time in order to avoid your jeans getting tight on you as a result of shrinkage.

How do I know if my Levi’s are Shrink To Fit?

Shrink To Fit means that your jeans have not been pre-shrunk. These are jeans made from raw denim and they were most popular before the 1960s.

Since most Levi’s jeans are pre-shrunk, how do you know the ones that are not pre-shrunk? One way of knowing this is by checking the materials used in making the jeans.

Most Levi’s jeans are made with a mixture of fabrics like polyester, cotton, etc. If they are made with a mixture of cotton and any other fabric, they are most likely pre-shrunk.

Some of the 100% cotton denim is Shrink To Fit. This doesn’t mean that all Levi’s jeans made of 100% cotton are not pre-shrunk.

The surest way to know if your Levi’s jeans are Shrink To Fit is by reading the description of the jeans. The Jeans’ description will definitely tell you if those jeans are made of raw denim.

That way, you will know that you are purchasing Levi’s jeans that are not pre-shrunk. The benefit of having a Shrink To Fit jeans is that you have the liberty of shrinking to fit yourself.

How does Levi’s shrink to fit?

Having known what Shrink To Fit jeans are and how to identify them, how then do you shrink to fit Levi’s jeans? There are DIY ways of shrinking your Levi’s to fit.

  1. You should soak your Levi’s jeans in hot water. Get a container of hot water, not too hot as to burn your fingers, but hot enough. Unfold your denim and place it in a container of hot water. Wait for like one hour and then pull it out. Hang the jeans to air dry.
  2. Another way to do this is to purchase a true-to-size Levi’s jeans. True to size in the waist and ensure it is two sizes up in length. The next thing you should do is wear them and sit in the tub of water. Then, keep them on you to dry.
  3. Also, you can size up when purchasing your Levi’s jeans and then wash them in the washing machine. This way, the washing machine will shrink it and the size will reduce to your original size.
  4. You can just purchase true-to-your size jeans, then hang them out in the sun to keep them fresh and fitting.

Will Levi’s jeans shrink in the dryer?

Levi’s will definitely shrink in the dryer. This is why you are advised to air dry instead of using the dryer. There is no wash instruction that Levi’s will ask you to dry your jeans in the dryer.

It is better you air dry as that will help unshrink your Levi’s jeans. To some people, this might be time-wasting and tedious, having to do without your dryer. But, you will most probably air dry only your jeans or Levi’s jeans in this case. You can use your dryer for other wear.

Why will your Levi’s jeans shrink in the dryer?

I’m sure this is what you were curious to ask after reading the previous heading. Levi’s jeans will shrink in the dryer because of the same reason they will shrink in a washing machine.

The heat in the dryer is even more than that of the washing machine. The major reason jeans shrink is heat. And the dryer uses heat to dry up clothes.

So, it will not be wise to use a dryer for your Levi’s when you know it will most likely shrink your jeans.

The dryer may not only shrink your jeans, but it is also most likely to damage your jeans. Your jeans might become too tight on you thereby making them useless.

The only case you should use the dryer for your jeans is if you want to shrink to fit and that means you sized up while purchasing.

It is true that you can set your dryer to low heat when drying your jeans, but, you may not get the result you desire on your jeans. It is best you keep your jeans off the dryer to avoid shrinkage.

Like I have previously said, heat is the enemy of your Levi’s jeans. A dryer is a heated appliance.

How do you prevent Levi’s from Shrinking?

There are ways you can apply to prevent your Levi’s jeans from shrinking. This is why you should not let shrinkage scare you away because you can prevent it.

  1. One very important way of preventing your Levi’s jeans from shrinking is by washing your jeans in cold water. This is specifically instructed by Levi’s. Cold is the opposite of hot. And since a hot atmosphere shrinks Levi’s jeans, a cold one will prevent it from shrinking. Using cold water and hand washing your Levi’s jeans is the major way to prevent your jeans from shrinking.
  2. The next thing you should do after hand washing with cold water is to line dry. You should avoid using the dryer, rather, you should line dry your Levi’s jeans and leave them out to air dry. These first two methods are the best ways of preventing your Levi’s jeans from shrinking.
  3. Follow the wash instructions on your Levi’s jeans. Levi’s already generally says you should wash your jeans with cold water and air dry. There are specific instructions they may give for each jean. Some of the jeans may demand some special care and you have to follow those instructions in order to keep your jeans from shrinking.
  4. If you must use the washing machine and dryer to wash your Levi’s jeans, then set the settings to low heat. This way, you will reduce the level of shrinkage but you may not totally prevent the shrinkage.
  5. To avoid all this stress, you should just purchase the pre-shrunk Levi’s jeans. Although, these pre-shrunk jeans may still shrink, not as much as the raw denim. With this, after the first shrinkage, you may not need to worry about more shrinkage.

How do you fix a shrunken Levi’s jeans?

What if your Levi’s jeans are already shrunken at the time you are reading this article? What should you do? Is there any remedy?

The good news is that there is a remedy for your shrunken Levi’s jeans.

Follow any of the methods below to unshrink your jeans.

Method 1: Pull your Jeans to reshape

Place your shrunken Levi’s jeans on a flat surface. Then, you can spray water on the parts that are snug. While spraying the water, pull your jeans to reshape. You need to do a lot of pulling here.

So, get ready to put in some work. Pull till the shrunken parts are reshaped. If this is not happening soon, you may need to apply more water to it and keep pulling. When they are totally reshaped, keep them flat to air dry.

Method 2: Use a Spray Bottle with lukewarm water to fix your shrunken Levi’s

You might do the above with warm water for speedy results. Get a spray bottle and let it be filled with water that’s lukewarm.

Let the spray bottle be devoid of any initial substance. Spray the jeans with lukewarm water and follow the previous procedures.

Method 3: Try wearing your shrunken Levi’s and sit in a warm bath

This may be hard as the jeans are already undersized. This applies when you can still pull on the jeans. Prepare a warm bath, put on your shrunken Levi’s jeans inside out and sit in the bath.

You might just be relaxing with a book and a glass of drink. This way you add pleasure to work. The jeans will unshrink and you will probably feel them on your skin.

Stay in for about 30 minutes, after that you leave your jeans out to air dry. With any of these methods, you can successfully fix your shrunken Levi’s jeans. If one doesn’t work for you, don’t be weary to try the next method.


In this article, there are a lot of things we have addressed concerning Levi’s jeans shrinkage. It is true that Levi’s jeans shrink because of what they are made of and because of the exposure to heat.

Your Levi’s jeans will only shrink as much as 7% or worst 10% at your first wash and then there will be little shrinkage after that first wash.

To know the Shrink To Fit Levi’s jeans, check the jeans description for a 100% raw denim. And then, you can shrink them to fit your Levi’s jeans by following the procedures outlined in this article.

Levi’s jeans will shrink in the dryer because the dryer uses heat to dry up your clothes. In this case, it is better to air dry.

You can prevent your Levi’s jeans from shrinking by primarily washing them in cold water and line dry. Then, don’t forget to always follow the wash instructions.

To fit your shrunken Levi’s jeans, check back to see the different methods you can apply and then choose one of them to use.

Remember that your Levi’s jeans need proper care to stay true to size and to last longer for you. So, endeavour to take proper care of your jeans by adhering to the methods in this article.


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