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How to Shrink a Shirt That Fully Fits You? A Complete Guide

How to Shrink a Shirt That Fully Fits You? A Complete Guide

Have you ever thought about buying your favorite shirt with a dream to flaunt it, but later, you find out that it’s way too baggy? If yes, then you are lucky because, in this article, we will tell you how you can resize your favorite shirt through shrinking. You are holding on to that vast shirt, with the wish that either someday you will gain extra weight to fit in it. Or you must be thinking of seeing the tailor for making some alteration to the shirt. But what if the tailor’s alteration would kill the look of the shirt? Stop right there because the only way to resize the shirt while keeping its vibe intact is by shrinking it.  But before that, we want you to enlighten a bit about shrinking and the causes of shrinkage. Let’s have a quick look. Moreover, for your assistance, we have mentioned some steps regarding the shrinking of a shirt. But before knowing about how to shrink a shirt, let’s first understand what the cause of shrinking is. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Causes of Shrinking

Relaxation Shrinkage is the swelling of fiber. When you expose the fabric to moisture and liquid, the material will relax. It happens significantly with absorbent clothes like cotton and linen. In case you want to avoid shrinking or excessive shrinking, you can wash your clothes (especially silk ones) with your hands. Just take cold water in a tub, add some detergent and delicately wash the cloth, later rinse it again with cold water.

Felting Shrinkage typically occurs with animal-derived fabrics like wool. Because the meshwork and knitting of fibers are arranged with scales on the surface, you might end up getting a shrunken sweater syndrome when you expose them to high heat or an aggressive washing environment. In which the sweater gets to shrink to fit the doll. It happens because too much heat and acrylic washing will cause the structure of woolen clothes to mesh together and compress with each other. Also, it is advised to avoid too much wringing of woolen material because you will damage the fibers more by doing so.

Consolidation Shrinkage happens when you apply heat, aggressive high Ph detergent, and mechanical washing technique altogether. By doing so, you can achieve dramatic shrinkage. But it would be best if you kept in mind that harsh treatment and too much projection of heat will cause damage to the color and fabric of the shirt. Especially when washing the silk blouse, you might get astonished by the all-over look of it when it comes out of the washer and dryer. However, if you are looking for shrinking procedures without causing any damage to your shirt, then keep reading.

Check Out the Fabric Content Before You Shrink Your Shirt 

Not all fabrics tend to shrink, many shrink much, and others shrink very little. So, the first and foremost step before shrinking a shirt is to check out the fabric content. By doing so, you will know the time window you will spend on shrinking the shirt. For instance, if you are thinking about shrinking your cotton shirt, it might take 20 minutes.

However, if you want to shrink wool, linen, and silk, you might have to make multiple steps because cotton is a natural fabric and tends to shrink up to 20% due to a high cotton ratio than polyester. While dealing with synthetic fibers, they have tightly woven fabric like spandex and nylon or polyester, and there is very little to zero chance that they will shrink.

But if you apply some little extra effort and proper techniques, you can shrink rigid fabrics as well. Further, there are many ways like using heat, which will help in resizing the shirt. However, while dealing with printed, soft, and colored shirts, you have to be a little conscious. It is advised to fold the shirt inside out before shrinking them.

In Different Ways, You Can Shrink A Shirt

There are different ways to shrink a shirt. You can either wash it in cold water, then treat it with steamy hot water or throw it directly in boiling water. However, to get the shirt’s perfect size, you have to apply every adequate technique manner. For which we have a line down steps below. [1]

In Hot Water

For shrinking your shirt, you will need a big pot to dip the shirt, a wooden spoon, and boiling water at 100℃.

Step 1: Prepare the pot with hot water and let the flame open.

Step 2: Put your oversize shirt into the boiling water and dip it with the help of a wooden spoon. Turn off the flame now.

Step 3: Let the shirt sit in boiling water for about 5 minutes. But if the shirt is too baggy, then leave it for 20-30 minutes. The more you leave the shirt in hot water, the more degree of shrinkage it will exhibit. Do not forget that everything has limitations, so do not think about shrinking a summer men’s styled shirt to a tight t-shirt.

Step 4: When the soaking is done, now remove the shirt with the help of a wooden spoon. And let it cool.

Step 5: Squeeze the remaining water from the shirt once it is cooled down completely; otherwise, you will end up burning your hands. Iron the shirt nicely, and try your perfectly resized shirt.

Step 6: If you think that your shirt still needs more shrinking, you can repeat the boiling water method multiple times.

In a Washing Machine

Most people find it hard to stand near the boiling water pot while keeping an eye on the shirt till the end of the process. So, another answer to how to shrink a shirt is using a washing machine. But the real question is how to shrink a shirt in the washing machine? Well, we can help you with that. Just make sure to follow the steps below;

  • Throw the shirt inside an empty washing machine.
  • Set the water inlet to hot water.
  • Once the machine’s tub gets filled with hot water, leave the shirt in the machine for 10-20 minutes.

It is the same procedure as boiling water, but the difference is you do not have to keep standing. You can add multiple shirts to resize at the same time, but do not mix colored clothes with light-colored fabrics. Because the color may transfer on the other garments. [2]

In the Dryer

What if you have failed after trying both above-defined techniques? Well, then try the third technique-washer dryer procedure. Now, you must be thinking about how to shrink a shirt in the dryer? Well, go through the following steps:

  • Once you have washed your shirt at a high temperature, you can place it in the dryer for further shrinkage.
  • You have to tune your dryer setting to high heat settings, set the timer, and sit on the couch.
  • Once the timer goes off, take out your shirt.

Once it cools down, try it on to find out the desired result.[3] In case if your shirt is not too baggy, you might need to look in the middle of the drying cycle by pausing the dryer because shrinking can occur quickly. And if you don’t stop at the right time, you might get too much shrinkage and won’t be able to fit in it.  Further, for delicate fabrics, you can set the dryer on a gentle setting so that your favorite shirt would not fade or wear out.

Optional Ways: Wash and Tumble Dry on a High Heat Setting

It is easy to shrink the clothes by using heat procedure on cotton and synthetic fibers like nylon. But what if you have woolen garments? Well, then you can use the steam technique. In case you have shrunk your shirt way too much, then you can unshrink it. You can use fabric softener or baby shampoo and mix it in hot water. Put your shirt inside the water for 15-20 minutes. Once it gets cooled, you can try it on. Borax and vinegar can be used on woolen clothes to stretch them back to standard size.

Tips for Shrinking a Shirt

Few tips to the information regarding how to shrink a shirt are:

  • Always check the fiber and quality of the yarn before starting the shrinking procedure.[4]
  • If the shirt is pre-shrunk, do not expect it to shrink up to 20%.
  • Use the hot water technique to shrink the shirt.
  • In case you have a bleeding shirt, then treat it in the isolated water tub.
  • Washing and drying might cause fabric damage.
  • Try to avoid direct sunlight, and dry the clothes on the well-ventilated area to prevent undesired shrinking.

Final Thoughts

We hope we have guided you enough, and now you exactly know how to shrink a shirt. However, it is always fun to complement your closet with your own styled and sized shirt. But it is an earful that you should know how much you want to shrink a shirt before performing the shrinking technique. Although it might require lots of patience, you will be able to show off your old shirt as a new, perfectly fitting shirt without spending any money.



Nicholas T. McDonnell

Nicholas T. McDonnell graduated from McGill University in Canada with an honors degree in Theatre Performance. Throughout his education, Nicholas showed interest and excellence in theatrics work, and he later starts writing in 2013. Nicholas now writes informative content about music, movies, and the best TV shows. He recently covered the Meghan Markle interview with Winfrey Oprah. Learn more about music and pop culture by reading through his writings. You will surely love the art he places while writing. He uses enticing language that will make you stick to his work! He dedicates all his time to writing, and he never has other hobbies apart from writing.

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