Washing Jeans in Hot Water to Shrink Them: What You Should Note

It is widely known among jeans wearers that washing your jeans in hot water will shrink them. But then, some people prefer their jeans shrunk and decide to shrink them intentionally with hot water.

Is this practice good? What happens when you shrink your jeans with hot water? We’ll be answering these questions and more as I try to enlighten you on washing your jeans with hot water to shrink them

Is it OK to wash jeans in hot water?

No, it’s not OK. Jeans are a rugged, durable fabric, but they can still be damaged by heat.

The temperature of the water can cause fading and shrinking, which is why it’s best to wash them in cold water.

Washing your jeans in hot water can cause the denim to fade and shrink, leaving you with jeans that are shorter and less comfortable than before you washed them.

Washing Jeans in Hot Water Can Cause Fading

Denim is made from cotton fiber that has been treated with indigo dye. The dye is what gives blue jeans their unique color.

If you wash your jeans in hot water, the heat will cause some of the dye to bleed out of the denim fibers and into the washing machine water. This can result in faded jeans that may not look as good as new ones.

Washing Jeans in Hot Water Can Cause Shrinkage

When denim is dyed with indigo dye, it needs to be washed at least once before being worn to remove excess dye from its surface. After this initial wash, most people wear their new jeans for several months without washing them again.

However, if you wash them too soon after buying them or if they’re not properly dried afterward, they’ll shrink

Why do jeans shrink when washed in hot water?

The short answer is that it’s a chemical reaction called acid hydrolysis.

The long answer is that it’s a chemical reaction called acid hydrolysis. The process of breaking down cellulose fibers into smaller component molecules involves the addition of water molecules and an acid catalyst (usually sulfuric or hydrochloric).

The result is that the cellulose fibers are dissolved, leaving only the cotton’s protein component, or “fiber,” behind.

This is because the fibers are made up of many tiny cells that are filled with air. When you wash them in hot water, some of the air escapes into the drain and leaves behind a smaller fiber that cannot hold as much air anymore.

The amount of shrinkage depends on how hot you wash your jeans, but it can be as little as 1 percent or as much as 10 percent.

When we wash our jeans in hot water with laundry detergent and dry them in the dryer, we’re essentially repeating this process — except we’re doing it faster than nature does, creating more shrinkage than normal.

Some denim enthusiasts recommend washing your jeans with cold water, but this doesn’t always work because some detergents still contain acids that will cause shrinkage when combined with heat from hot water.

The best way to avoid shrinkage is to air-dry your jeans if possible, which will help prevent any additional shrinking.”

This will not only save energy and keep your jeans looking great longer, but it will also remove any chemicals or dyes that may have been used on your clothes during manufacturing or dying.

Things to take note of when washing Jeans in hot water?

Washing jeans in hot water is a common practice for many people. However, it is not advisable to wash them using hot water as it can cause premature fading, shrinkage, and even rips.

For the first wash, use cold water. After the first wash, use warm water. If possible, do not pre-soak jeans before washing them. Do not overfill the machine as this will cause excess wrinkles and shrinking.

If you decide to wash your jeans in hot water but there are some things you have to take note of:

Do not put it in the dryer immediately

If you’re going to wash your jeans in hot water, make sure that you don’t put them in the dryer immediately after washing.

Instead, let them air dry for at least 24 hours so they can shrink back down to their original size. If you put them into the dryer immediately, they’ll shrink even more than necessary and end up being too tight on your body.

Put your dryer on low heat

If you must put your jeans in the dryer immediately after washing them, do so on low heat for 10 minutes or less per cycle.

If possible, try to avoid drying them on high heat at all costs because this will cause excessive shrinkage and fading over time.

Be mindful of the detergent you use

Another thing to keep in mind when washing jeans is that certain types of detergents can cause problems with fading over time – especially if they’re left on too long or applied with too much pressure while rubbing or scrubbing against denim fibers.

Always add detergent with enzymes or bleach alternative to prevent stains from setting in.

Be wary of heat on your pants

Polyester pants should be washed on warm and air-dried or hung up to dry completely before being placed in the dryer.

Polyester clothes can be damaged by heat if the temperature is too high or the clothes aren’t allowed enough time to air-dry after washing them because these fabrics tend to retain moisture for longer periods of time than other types of fabrics do.

Wash your jeans at around 90 degrees Fahrenheit

Jeans made from 100% cotton should not be washed over 120 degrees Fahrenheit because it may cause shrinkage or bleeding of dye onto other clothes during washing.

Always check on your Jeans before washing

Always check the labels on your jeans before washing them because some manufacturers recommend pre-washing their products before wearing them for the first time!

Bleach is a No

Never use bleach. Bleach will bleach out the color of the jeans and make them appear faded or spotty.

Don’t use fabric softener when washing your denim

Fabric softeners leave a residue on clothes which can clog up the pores of denim fibers, causing them to fade faster than they normally would.

Is it better to buy jeans bigger or smaller?

It is better to buy jeans bigger.

Jeans are made from cotton and other materials, and they have to stretch a lot. The waistband is designed to stretch outwards, but the fabric of most jeans will only stretch in the horizontal direction.

This means that if you buy jeans that are too small for you, they’re going to be uncomfortable when you put them on.

The next time you try on a pair of jeans, pay attention to how tight or loose they feel across your butt and thighs.

If they’re tight in these areas, then it’s likely that they’ll be uncomfortable after an hour or two of wear, especially if they’re not stretchy enough to accommodate your hips and thighs well.

Luckily, most jeans come with some degree of elasticity built into them, but this varies widely depending on brand and style. Some brands use very little elasticity at all; others use quite a bit.

Buying jeans bigger than your size will give you clarity about your size and you can simply get them tailored to your size later.

What happens when you shrink the Jeans with hot water?

When you shrink your jeans, you don’t actually change the length of the denim fabric; instead, you alter its shape.

Shrinking is a process that removes excess fabric from an item of clothing. It’s usually done by soaking the garment in hot water or applying heat to it so that it shrinks back to its natural size and shape after it has been worn out and washed several times.

You can use this process to make old jeans fit better or give new ones more room in certain areas such as around your calves or waistline.

It’s also sometimes used to reduce creases on a pair of pants that have been folded up while being shipped across the ocean from Asia to Europe or America.

If you wash jeans in warm water and then put them in the dryer, they’ll shrink. This is because the heat causes the fabric to tighten and become smaller.

If you want your jeans to look good after washing them, make sure that they’re cold-water washed and line dried.


Your denim jeans shrink in hot water because of a chemical reaction called acid hydrolysis.

Jeans also shrink because they are made from cotton, and cotton tends to shrink when washed in hot water.

That’s because when cotton is exposed to heat, it reacts by shrinking and contracting – just like it would when it dries naturally in the sun. This causes the fabric to pull inwards on itself, which makes it smaller than before.

We’ve talked extensively about jeans shrinkage and I hope you’ve learned one or two things that’ll help when washing jeans with hit water.


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