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What is the best method to shrink cotton fabric?

Hi there,

I recently bought a cotton shirt that fits me well except for the fact that it's a bit too loose around my arms and waist. I really like the shirt and don't want to return it, but I was wondering if there's a way to shrink it a bit to make it fit better.

I've heard of washing cotton in hot water or putting it in the dryer on high heat to shrink it, but I've also heard that this method could damage the fabric. I was hoping to get advice from someone who has experience with shrinking cotton fabric without damaging it.

Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.

All Replies


Hi there,

I also had a similar problem where a cotton dress I bought was a bit too loose for my liking. I tried washing it in hot water and putting it in the dryer on high heat, but the dress ended up shrinking too much and became unwearable.

After some research, I found out that soaking cotton fabric in hot water mixed with a cup of white vinegar before washing it can also help shrink it without damaging the fabric. I tried this method on another cotton dress that was too loose, and it worked perfectly - the dress shrank just enough to fit comfortably without losing its shape or color.

I would suggest giving the vinegar method a try before resorting to hot water or high heat in the dryer. It worked well for me, and I hope it helps you too!


Hey there,

I had a similar issue with some cotton pants that I purchased. They were just a tad too big around the waist and hips, and I wanted to try to shrink them down to fit better. I read that putting them in the dryer with some dryer sheets could help to shrink them a bit, so I decided to give it a try.

Unfortunately, after just one cycle in the dryer, the pants had shrunk so much that they were almost unwearable. I was really disappointed, as I had really liked the pants and now they were ruined.

After doing a bit more research, I found that the better method to shrink cotton fabric is by simply washing it in hot water, and then hanging it to dry. This method is gentler on the fabric than the dryer, which can cause too much shrinkage too quickly.

Next time, I'll definitely be using the hot water and hang-drying method instead of the dryer to avoid any mishaps!


Hello all,

When it comes to shrinking cotton fabric, I have found that the key is to be patient and repetitive. I have had success shrinking cotton clothes using the hot water method combined with putting the garment in the dryer at a low heat setting for a longer period of time.

I have noticed that it usually takes a few wash and dry cycles to achieve the right amount of shrinkage. It is important to be careful, however, because too much heat can damage the fabric and cause it to shrink too much.

Another method that I have used is to hand-wash the garment in hot water and then let it air dry. This method can also take a bit longer, but it is gentle on the fabric and helps avoid damage.

Ultimately, every piece of cotton fabric is different, so it may take some experimentation to find the right method for a particular garment. Patience is key, and it is a good idea to try out any shrinking techniques on a small, inconspicuous area of the garment first before attempting to shrink the entire thing.


Hello everyone,

I have had mixed results when it comes to shrinking cotton fabric. I have had some success with the hot water washing technique, but with some fabrics, it did not work at all.

I have found that it is best to start with a fabric that is not pre-washed or pre-shrunk. If the fabric is pre-washed, it has already gone through the shrinking process and it is a bit harder to shrink it again. So, if possible, try to get fabric that is not pre-washed to ensure the best results.

Another method that I have found to be effective is using a steam machine. A steam machine applies heat and moisture, which can cause the cotton fibers to shrink. This method is gentler than using hot water, and you can control the amount of shrinkage by the amount of steam applied.

Overall, I would recommend trying the hot water and vinegar method first or using a steam machine, and see what works best for your fabric. Don't get discouraged if it does not work the first time, sometimes it takes a few tries to get the perfect fit. Good luck!

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