How to Shrink a Denim Jacket – 3 Easy Methods to Try

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Denim garments are a go-to fashion item to wear for any occasion. Be it a jacket, or a pair of jeans, or a shirt, when you’re wearing it in denim it always gives off a good sense of style and a casual look.

As cool as denim is to wear, its generally bulky appearance can be misleading when it comes to perfect fitting. You may have bought a jean jacket, for instance, and later discover that it’s too large for you. It can be a turn-off to replace the jacket.

Before you do either it’s worth a try to shrink it at home. In this article, you will learn a few quick and simple methods on how to shrink a denim jacket.

how to shrink a denim jacket

How to Shrink a Denim Jacket

Method 1: The boiling pot method

Denim jackets are made from 100% cotton and so will shrink in size when it comes in contact with super hot water.

If you want to significantly bring down the size of the denim jacket on all sides, then the boiling pot method could work well for you.

Put a large pot of water on the stove for boiling. Let the water reach its maximum boiling point, and then turn off the stove.

Carefully place the denim jacket into the pot and let it stay on for about fifteen to twenty minutes. You can then take out the jacket and empty the water. Be very careful in handling the jacket as it’s going to be super hot.

Hang the jacket on a clothesline to dry under the sun. Make sure to flip the jacket inside out, as exposure to direct sun fades the material. Once it dries, try on the jacket.

If you need to further shrink it, repeat the same steps until you achieve the desired result over a few days’ time.

Repeating the boiling pot method too many times may cause your denim jacket to appear faded and worn out. Keep a tab on the quality of the material.

If you think the process begins to slightly affect the color of the jacket, but it’s still too large for you, it’s better to get a professional tailor to alter the jacket for you based on the exact measurements you need.

Method 2: The washing machine method

If you do not need to greatly reduce the size of the jacket but only want to shrink it so that it fits you better overall, you can simply use the washing machine as you regularly would, to wash it.

Set the water temperature to hot or warm, depending on how much you want to shrink it, and let the machine run. You do not have to add detergent if the denim is not dirty.

Wash it in the machine with hot water and run the drier. Hang it outside to dry under the sun. Make sure to flip the jacket inside out before drying to avoid a faded look.

Method 3: Shrinking specific areas of a denim jacket

If you want to only shrink specific areas of the denim jacket and not the whole thing, then you do not have to shrink the entire piece of cloth.

Put a pot of water on the stove for boiling. When the water begins to boil and turn super hot, carefully insert only the sleeves of the jacket into the pot.

Let it stay inside the water for about fifteen to twenty minutes. Then, take the jacket out of the pot.

Put it in the washing machine so that the jacket is completely washed, and then let it dry.

Additional methods to shrink denim jacket

Use a Clothes Iron

A good alternative to the methods mentioned above is the usage of a clothes iron to shrink specific spots on the denim material.

Soak the denim jacket in hot water for fifteen to twenty minutes. Take it out and place it on an ironing board. Set your clothes iron to the maximum possible temperature ideal for cotton fabric.

Start ironing the material on the exact spots that you want to shrink.

You should apply the clothes iron directly on the wet material and keep moving the iron over the fabric so as not to burn it by keeping it idle on one spot.

Apply heat by moving the clothes iron over the material until the piece of cloth dries. Apply the clothes iron to all of the desired places. Afterward, hang the jacket out to dry completely before you can try it on to see how it fits you.

Repeat the process as required to achieve the desired result.

Use the Spray Bottle Method

Another alternative method to shrink a denim jacket is to use the spray bottle method. If you wish to only slightly alter the denim jacket in places, mix a cup of hot water with some fabric softener in a spray bottle.

Spray at specific spots on the jacket and hang it on the clothesline to dry. After a few minutes, before it can completely dry and is still a little damp, place it on an ironing board and iron only those spots that you wish to shrink until the client dries from the heat.

Take a Hot Bath in your Denim Jacket

You can also shape your denim jacket to fit you in the right places well. For this fill a bathtub with hot water— hot enough to shrink the denim but not too hot that it burns your skin.

Wear the jacket and get into the bathtub and lay in a comfortable position for about half an hour. Get out of the tub and remove the jacket as is and do not put it in the drier or squeeze it.

Flip it inside out and let it dry under the sun. It would have shrunk to the size and shape it was when the hot water came in contact with it.

Let it dry completely before you try it on again.

These are some quick methods on how to shrink a denim jacket. In addition to this, the following are some useful tips on the maintenance of denim wear in general.

Maintenance of a denim jacket

  • Always spot clean any small areas of stain on the denim wear. You do not have to make the jacket undergo an entire washing cycle to get rid of a small stain. Also, machine wash may not be very effective when it comes to getting rid of specific tough stains such as ketchup or oil. The best thing to do is to take a wet piece of cloth, soak it in detergent solution and wipe on the stain until it fades away. Then you can slightly soak it in warm water for a few minutes before letting it dry.
  • To retain the color of the denim, do not wash it with hot water too often if you do not want it to shrink. Also do not dry clean it as the chemicals could harm the pure cotton material.
  • The traditional hand-washing method is good for garments, in general. Especially if your jacket has fancy buttons and other pieces of metal that you do not want to lose, it’s better to wash it by hand. Soak the material in a bucket of water (room temperature), add some detergent and let it rest for a few minutes. Use a brush slightly if you want to get rid of specific stubborn stains. Do not be too rough with the brush on the fabric. Rinse it in detergent-free water a couple of times to make sure the soap has left the jacket. Spray-on fabric softener if required and then hang the jacket out to dry. Do not forget to flip it inside out when you do this.

These are some quick denim wear maintenance tips. If you are wondering how to shrink a denim jacket and how to maintain it, this article should be the right one for you. Try these methods right away!

FAQs on How to Shrink a Denim Jacket

Can you make a denim jacket smaller?

Yes, you can make a denim jacket smaller by washing it in super hot water or applying maximum heat on specific areas of the jacket with an iron box while it is still wet.

Does denim shrink?

Yes, denim does shrink when it comes in contact with hot water or high heat. Denim garments are made from 100% pure cotton, which shrinks when exposed to hot water and heat and so you can shrink denim materials by washing them on hot water or applying high heat using a clothes iron.


If you wondering how to shrink a denim jacket, the simple secret to it is that you need to get the denim material in contact with super hot water.

Denim material is made of pure 100% cotton and can be shrunk when you wash it in hot water. You can either put the garment into a stove with boiling hot water, leave it on for a few minutes before hanging it out to dry, or wash it in hot water in the washing machine.

If you want to shrink specific spots on the jacket, you can use a clothes iron to apply heat to the desired areas.

Make sure the cloth is wet/damp when you place it on the ironing board.


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