Do Jeans Shrink Over Time?

Do Jeans Shrink Over Time?

It’s the worst feeling to put on your best pair of jeans only to find out that it needs extra effort for you to button up. In some other cases, they might feel too tight at the thighs or even cumbersome to get through the ankle joint.

Indeed jeans shrink over time, especially if they are made of cotton. Cotton is susceptible to shrinking when washed. The heat from hot water and the environment cause the fiber material to expand at first, and when water is completely drained, the fibers contract. That means the higher the temperature level you use in washing your jeans, the more they are susceptible to shrinking.

Jeans shrink in specific circumstances, just like other types of cloth. They shrink depending on the material used and how you take care of it. The only effective method to stop Jeans from shrinking is to get pre-shrunk denim or take special care while handling it.

Hot water or hot temperatures are known to cause shrinkage of cotton. Due to the same factor, Jeans shrink.

When exposed to heat during washing, Jeans and other textiles predominantly composed of cotton tend to shrink. That is a result of the fabric’s use of plant fibers in manufacturing. Plants often wilt when it’s too hot, and the same is true with textiles.

Heat causes the fibers of jeans to contract, which causes them to shrink. After the first wash, denim can shrink by as much as 10%. Jeans should be handled like cotton, especially when washing and drying.

The material of the jeans plays a part in ascertaining whether your jeans will shrink over time or not. Jeans made from cotton material will shrink with time, but the jeans made from polyester canl tolerate heat changes to retain the original size.

Why Jeans Shrink

The common reason jeans shrink is because of heat exposure. When the fabric is exposed to heat, it expands, then contracts as it gets cold, making the material shrink. The concept is in line with the typical physic theories which state that when an object is heated, it expands and later contracts when it gets cold.

The individual fibers of a pair of jeans are made up of long molecular chains connected by hydrogen bonds. The repeated process of washing and drying jeans stresses the hydrogen bonds and strengthens the pull. As a result, the jeans shrink.

Of course, shrinking is more common in some jeans than others. As stated above, Jeans made from polyester material are less susceptible to shrinking.Therefore, if you want to escape the problem of your jeans shrinking after some time, you need to check the fabric of your jeans before buying. 

Read the tag and know the exact material used. Even if the option you’ve selected has a typical appearance of traditional denim, it can feature a combination of various fabrics and materials. Some might be highly susceptible to shrinking.

How to Stretch Out Shrunken Jeans

Try using these procedures to stretch your jeans out once more if they are too tight to put on. Exercise caution since these steps might twist them and render your jeans unwearable.

  1. Put the jeans in a bucket of warm water and immerse them completely.
  2. Squeeze out the excess water
  3. Alternatively, you can fill a spray bottle with water and mist the jeans. Add a fabric softener to the water to make the jeans more supple.
  4. Grab two sides of the jeans and pull them in different directions once they are moist.
  5. Stand on one leg of the jeans and pull them upwards toward you for a better stretch.
  6. Avoid tugging at the pockets or belt loops as this might cause them to tear.
  7. Instead of tumble drying the jeans, which might make them shrink more, please hang them up to air dry.

How to Prevent Jean Shrinkage

Even though jeans typically shrink slightly with every wash, you might want to hang onto them for as long as possible. To reduce shrinkage in your jeans, remember to:

  • Pick a polyester blend over cotton since it can stretch and is more durable
  • Invest in a good pair of jeans since they will resist some shrinking.
  • Jeans should be washed by hand or on a gentle cycle when using the washing machine.
  • Since the outside of the jeans is thought to be the most heat-sensitive and hence most prone to shrink, flip them inside out before washing.
  • Tumble dry, or air dry your pair of jeans for a short period
  • Washing jeans at a temperature of roughly 40 degrees will clean them without causing  excessive shrinkage.

Do Jeans Shrink When they’re Not Worn?

No, if you don’t wear jeans, they shouldn’t shrink. Jeans won’t shrink if you hang them up in your closet. Typically shrinking of denim happens when they’re washed and dried. However, that shouldn’t stop you from washing or wearing your pair of jeans with the fear of them shrinking.

Do Jeans Shrink In The Dryer?

Denim Jeans can shrink in the dryer just as in the washing machine. Even if you don’t wash your jeans in hot water, drying them on high heat using the dryer might make them shrink.

The Bottom Line

Maintaining your clothes properly, especially by preventing them from shrinking, is paramount to extending their lifespan. Since jeans are a mainstay in most people’s wardrobes, many are curious whether or not they shrink. You want your favorite pair of jeans to fit well for a very long time, but unfortunately, they shrink to feel too small for you after some time. Luckily, you can stretch them out and get them comfortable once more.