Does Drying Jeans Shrink Them?

AnnaLynne McCord's jeans look good in all the right places.

Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Putting on a pair of jeans that usually fit you but seem a bit tight can leave you in a tizzy, especially if it is your favorite pair. But fear not, it might not be you that is expanding, it could be that your jeans are shrinking. There's a rumor out there that drying your jeans shrinks them, but is this true, or did a bunch of people who are in denial of weight gain make it up?

Does the Dryer Shrink Jeans?

Pulling your jeans out of the dryer and finding them tight and hard to fit in isn't your imagination; they may have actually shrunk in the dryer. Indeed, this rumor is true. Ironing your jeans on a hot temperature can also have the same effect.

Why Do Jeans Shrink?

Heat causes the fibers in denim to tighten and shrink, thereby causing the jeans to take on a smaller size. So when you throw your wet jeans in the dryer on a high heat, it will dry them but also alter their fabric size, resulting in a pair of smaller pants.

How to Shrink Jeans

If you've lost weight or simply picked up the wrong size jeans, you can use this shrinking technique to your advantage. Fill your washing machine with hot water and throw your jeans inside. Close the lid and allow your jeans to get their soak on for a few hours. Toss them in the dryer on high heat and voila -- you've got jeans that are a bit smaller. For serious shrinkage, let them soak in boiling water for about 30 minutes and then toss them in the hot dryer.

How to Prevent Shrinkage

If you like your jeans just the way they are, you can likely prevent them from taking on a smaller size. Wash your jeans in cold or medium water, then allow the jeans to air-dry. Since the air isn't too hot, it won't shrink the fibers in your jeans. However, give them plenty of time to get completely dry since it takes longer this way.

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