Cotton clothing is known for shrinking but in some unique situation there is a time when you may want the clothing to shrink. If a shirt is purchased too big and there is a desire to make it fit better, it can be shrunk. If there are pants that are too big now that you have loss a lot of weight and you don’t want to go out and buy new ones, you can shrink them. If there is a hat that is too big now that you are older and your head shrank, you can shrink the hat. There are many reasons to do what naturally occurs often to cotton when it is in the wash.

How to Shrink Cotton

The first thing to do when shrinking cotton is to wash the clothing in hot water and then place the item in a hot dryer. These simple things alone will cause the cotton to shrink. In some cases these steps may have to be repeated in order to get the desired shrinkage. Clothing and material is shrunk for a number of reasons. Cotton yarn is shrunk in order to avoid shrinkage once the yarn is knitted into a sweater or an outfit. In many cases it is best to buy clothing a little larger than needed and shrink it to the desired size that way the shrinkage factor is already take care of and the clothing can be washed and worn without the concern of shrinkage.

When searching for cotton clothes to shrink make sure that the cotton is 100% cotton and not a mixture of materials because the shrinking factor drastically changes when dealing with other types of material. When shrinking cotton dry the item on the highest heat possible, and for sweaters it is best to wash them in warm water and then lay them flat to dry. On high heat the item will dry and shrink quickly. Check the label on cotton items make sure it says 100% cotton and not pre shrunk, in this case the material has already been shrunk by the manufacturer and there is a very slim chance that the material will shrink after a regular washing.

Typical Items to Shrink

The most popular items of clothing that are shrunk are trousers, cotton polo shirts, hats, sweaters and regular t shirts. In order to shrink trousers they have to be washed then ironed while still damp and then placed in a hot dryer. When shrinking shirts with coloring or lettering on them add a little vinegar to the water and once washed turn the shirts inside out and then place them in the dryer. Knitting yarn is another thing that is shrunk regularly because when you are kitting a sweater or a hat you want the clothing to fit and not shrink after you have worn it and that is where the shrinking of the yarn comes into play to avoid this.


Shrinking cotton is something that happens on a regular basis when doing the wash but in some rare cases people may want to shrink their items from trousers to cotton polo shirts, to hats and sweaters. Shrinking is a simple process of washing in warm water and drying in a hot dryer. Selecting cotton that is all natural and 100% will ensure that the material will shrink well. Also reading the labels on products will also let you know if they have been preshrunk or pre washed stay clear of those types of materials if you want your item to shrink. In most normal situations people spend a lot of time trying to get their clothing not to shrink, therefore basically everything that is done to keep clothes from shrinking the opposite needs to be done to get the clothing to shrink.

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