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How To Shrink Jeans Fast! 10 Ways To Get Your Jeans Smaller For A Cozy Fit

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Things are about to escalate quickly.

We’ve all been there. First, we spend the majority of the evening figuring out what to wear and then we think we have it all figured out. But our jeans — the item of clothing that we depend most on to never fail us, in shrinkage and in health, 'til wear and tear do us part — just aren’t doing it for us tonight.

They have lost their structure somewhere down the line between all the love and neglect you have bestowed on them throughout the years. They’ve become loose in some places, some places you’d rather not say. Don’t donate them just yet, because once you learn how to shrink jeans and get them closely back to what they once were before they became “Meh,” never again shall we have to alter our bodies to our jeans.


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Who wears the pants here? Amiright? Okay, you’ve got an hour at best to tighten those suckers, and 10 different ways to do it. So, here we go.

1. Cook them.

Turn your jeans inside out and then drop them in a pot of boiling water. What? You’ve never made denim al dente before? Do this for about 20 to 40 minutes, making sure they are completely submerged. Then, drain and wring out as much excess water as possible before throwing them into the dryer. Finally, set your dryer on the “high heat” setting and wait until they are completely dry. Garnish, serve and enjoy.

Warning: if your jeans are not 100 percent cotton and have other materials such as spandex and lycra, you will damage your jeans. They could become even more baggy by damaging the materials.

2. Keep your jeans on during a bath.

This tip requires you to enter some uncharted territory. Next time you take a hot bath, keep your jeans on. Sit in the tub, completely submerged for about a half hour. Wear them for the next 10 minutes after exiting the tub so your jeans mold nicely to your figure. Then, ever so carefully not to stretch, remove them and throw them in the dryer on high until completely dry.

For those pairs of jeans that are loose in some areas and snug in others, this will work wonders in making the jeans fit you like a glove — a wet glove. It's a funny story to share with your friends for later. You might receive some weird looks though, but who cares? Look how great you look in your jeans!

3. Crank up the heat on the dryer.

We’ve all done this accidently, and it’s always with the shirt we didn’t realize how much we loved until it looked like it was fit for an American Girl doll. But if done to your denim deliberately, the cotton fibers will tighten and shrink on your jeans. Who knows, you might actually be on time to go out tonight. 

4. Spray on fabric softener.

Combine 3/4 water and 1/4 fabric softener into a spray bottle and treat the areas on the jeans that need the most tightening. Then, throw them into the dryer set on high until fully dry. Future tip: make a bottle of this concoction beforehand so that you don’t have to waste time making it. We’re on a schedule here!


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5. Iron them.

Ironing them is basically applying direct heat in a quick way. You can iron the entire jeans or just the areas needed. Don’t forget to let them cool down for a little first before putting them on.

6. Sew in a new seam.

If you know how to sew, you can do this fairly quickly. If the inseam of the leg of your pants are a bit too loose, you can flip them inside out, tear the old seam out, and fairly quickly make a new, tighter one. You can also sew a 6- to 7-inch piece of elastic into the inside back of your waistband if that’s the area that’s too big on you.

7. Visit "Tailor" Swift.

Not the singer, but hopefully you have a good relationship with your neighborhood tailor. If you’re lucky, they’ll be able to adjust your denim in no time flat — and swiftly too. 

8. Wear leggings underneath.

Recommended in the colder months and climates for obvious reasons. Leggings under jeans in July would be a sick form of torture. Adding a layer underneath your jeans will provide ample snugness to your legs. And no one will even notice, so it’ll be your little secret. Promise!

9. Wear a belt.

This isn’t exactly a solution for how to shrink jeans, but it is definitely an alternative for making your jeans fit properly. 

10. Wash and dry in hot.

I saved the most traditional one for last. Wash in hot, dry in hot, on high. It’s effective as it is simple. But if you’re looking for a more dramatic journey to achieving jean snugness, go take a bath with your clothes on. 


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Christina Wright is a New York based freelance writer covering entertainment, beauty, interior design and all things fashionably interesting. Christina mostly enjoys reading, and doing things “for the funny story later.”

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