How to shrink a hoodie

How to Shrink a Hoodie: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you stuck with a hoodie that's too big and baggy for your liking? Before you decide to give it away or leave it in the back of your closet, consider that shrinking it might be the solution. With the right methods and precautions, you can easily transform that oversized hoodie into a perfectly fitting piece. From understanding the fabric to different shrinking methods and aftercare, this comprehensive how to make a hoodie smaller guide has you covered. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and let's dive into the art of shrinking your hoodie to perfection!

Why Knowing Your Hoodie's Fabric Matters

Knowing the type of fabric your hoodie is made of can be a game-changer when you're looking to achieve that perfect fit. Different materials respond differently to shrinking methods, so understanding this aspect can save you from an irreversible mistake. Cotton and wool, for example, are natural fibers that are notorious for their ability to shrink. A hot water wash or a high-heat dryer setting can easily cause these materials to contract. The shrinking is usually substantial, so keep an eye on the time you expose these fabrics to heat.

On the other hand, synthetic materials like polyester are less forgiving when it comes to shrinking. They're designed to hold their shape and size, which can be both a blessing and a curse. If your hoodie is a polyester blend, it might shrink slightly, but not as much as you might hope for. You could still attempt to shrink it using high heat, but the results might be less noticeable, and you run the risk of damaging the fabric. So, always read the label and adjust your shrinking methods according to the material to get the fit just right.

Get Ready Before You Shrink: Pre-Shrinking Steps to Take

Before diving straight into shrinking your hoodie, some groundwork will set you up for success. Start by checking the label on your garment, as it often contains valuable information about the fabric and care instructions. This tag can offer insights into how much the material is likely to shrink and under what conditions. For instance, cotton will usually have guidelines for wash and drying temperatures to prevent unwanted shrinkage. If you're planning on using a high-heat method, it's essential to know what the label recommends to avoid damaging the hoodie.

Pre-washing is another key preparation step, particularly if your hoodie is brand new. Sometimes manufacturers pre-shrink fabrics, and a first wash can give you a sense of how much more the material may shrink. Use this wash as a test run. If you find that the hoodie has already tightened up a bit, this could indicate its shrinkage potential. By understanding these aspects ahead of time, you can tailor your shrinking methods more accurately and predict the end result, ensuring that you don't end up with a hoodie that's too tight or remains too loose.

Method 1: Using a Washing Machine

Washing machine method

The washing machine is often the go-to appliance when it comes to shrinking clothes, including hoodies. By following these steps, your washing machine can help you transform a baggy hoodie outfit into one that fits just the way you like.

Step 1: Sort Your Laundry

Separate your hoodie from other clothes, especially those that are color-sensitive or delicate. You'll be using hot water, which could lead to color bleeding.

Step 2: Set the Temperature

On your washing machine, select the hottest water setting allowed for your hoodie's fabric type. If it's primarily made of natural fibers like cotton, high heat will be more effective.

Step 3: Add Detergent

Place your usual amount of detergent in the machine. If your hoodie is dark or vibrant, consider using a color-safe detergent to minimize fading.

Step 4: Start the Wash

Begin the wash cycle. It's crucial to keep an eye on the time. For more significant shrinkage, allow the hoodie to go through the full cycle. For minor adjustments, you may want to remove it midway.

Step 5: Check the Size

Once the cycle is complete, take out the hoodie and try it on carefully to gauge the level of shrinkage. If it's still not quite right, you may repeat the process, but remember, natural fibers have a limit to how much they can shrink.

Method 2: Boiling Water Method

Boiling water method

If you're looking for a more hands-on approach to shrinking your hoodie, the boiling water method can offer great results. This technique is especially effective for natural fabrics like cotton and wool, allowing for a more controlled shrinking process. Here's how to do it.

Step 1: Fill a Large Pot with Water

Choose a pot big enough to completely submerge your hoodie in. Fill it with water and set it on the stove.

Step 2: Heat the Water

Turn the stove on and bring the water to a rolling boil. Make sure it's hot enough to efficiently shrink the material.

Step 3: Prepare the Hoodie

While the water is heating, turn your hoodie inside out to minimize color fading. Remove any removable parts like drawstrings to prevent them from getting tangled or damaged.

Step 4: Submerge the Hoodie

Once the water is boiling, carefully submerge your hoodie into the pot using a long-handled utensil. Stir it around to ensure even exposure to the heat.

Step 5: Boil for 5-10 Minutes

Keep the hoodie in the boiling water for 5-10 minutes, depending on how much you want it to shrink. For minor shrinkage, 5 minutes is often sufficient. For more noticeable results, go for the full 10 minutes.

Step 6: Carefully Remove and Dry

Turn off the stove and carefully remove the hoodie using a pair of tongs or another long-handled utensil. Place it on a flat surface and let it cool down for a few minutes. After that, you can dry it using your preferred method.

Method 3: Using a Dryer

Dryer method

If you're looking for a quick and relatively hands-off way to shrink your hoodie, the dryer method is a reliable choice. This approach is particularly effective for hoodies made from natural fibers but can work on certain blends as well. Below are the steps to achieve a snugger fit with the help of your dryer.

Step 1: Pre-Wash the Hoodie

Wash the hoodie in warm or hot water first. You can either do this manually or use a washing machine. Make sure to use a detergent that's safe for the hoodie's color and fabric type.

Step 2: Remove Excess Water

After washing, remove as much excess water as possible. You can do this by spinning the hoodie in the washing machine or gently wringing it out by hand.

Step 3: Set the Dryer

Place the damp hoodie in the dryer and set it to the highest heat setting that the fabric can handle, as indicated by the garment's label.

Step 4: Time the Cycle

Start the drying cycle. For minor shrinkage, a shorter cycle (about 20-30 minutes) should suffice. For more substantial shrinkage, opt for a full cycle.

Step 5: Monitor the Process

Keep an eye on the drying process. You might want to pause the cycle midway to check the fit. Over-drying can cause fabric damage, so be cautious.

Step 6: Check the Results

Once the drying cycle is complete, take out the hoodie and try it on to check the level of shrinkage. If it hasn't shrunk to your liking, you can repeat the process but do so sparingly to avoid damaging the fabric.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the Color Fade?

One concern many people have is whether the color of their hoodie will fade during the shrinking process. The answer largely depends on the method you choose and the fabric type. Natural fibers like cotton and wool are more susceptible to color loss, especially when using hot water or high heat. To minimize fading, turn the hoodie inside out before submerging it in water or placing it in the dryer. Also, using a color-safe detergent can help preserve the vibrancy of the garment. We have an article on how to wash your hoodie if you'd like more information. 

How Much Will It Shrink?

The extent of shrinkage can vary based on a multitude of factors—fabric composition, initial size, and the shrinking method employed. Natural materials like cotton can shrink significantly, often up to 5-10%, while synthetics like polyester are far less susceptible, with potential shrinkage at around 1-3%. The boiling water method often results in the most shrinkage, followed by the washing machine and dryer methods. It's important to consider these factors in advance, especially if you're only looking for a minor size adjustment.


Congratulations, you've made it to the end of your hoodie-shrinking journey! Whether you opted for the washing machine, the boiling water method, or the dryer, you now have all the tools you need to get that ideal fit. But remember, maintaining your newly shrunken hoodie requires some attention to detail. Follow our post-shrinking tips to ensure it remains the perfect size for many wears to come. We hope this guide has been helpful and that you're now enjoying a hoodie that fits you just right!

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