5 Ways to Shrink a Hoodie

Hoodie lovers are split on their preferred way to wear their favorite comfortable and cozy attire. Some love their hoodies snug, while others love them loose and baggy.

The correct way to wear a hoodie depends on personal fashion preference. However, you might find that your favorite hoodie is a bit too snug for your comfort.

Luckily, some easy methods exist to get the hoodie a few sizes smaller without causing damage.

How to Shrink a Hoodie

shrink hoodies

The fibers of clothes naturally constrict after repeated use and washing. Fabrics like cotton and rayon usually shrink about two sizes after washing, leading to manufacturers treating clothes with a pre-shrinking technology.

When shrinking hoodies, you will apply the exact mechanism, although you might have a tough time treating synthetic fabrics like polyester because they are resistant to elements.

Shrinking a Hoodie in a Washer

Samsung Washer
Samsung Washer

Using a washer is the simplest way to shrink your hoodie because clothes occasionally shrink in the washer.

Check the care label to ensure the specified procedure is suitable for the particular hoodie to avoid damage.


  • Separate the hoodies you want to shrink by color because hot water causes color bleeding and can stain light-colored ones.
  • Place the hoodies in the washer.
  • Select the wash cycle recommended on the care label. Although, most hoodies you can shrink will require the “delicate/gentle” wash cycle.
  • Select the hottest water setting available.
  • Pour in the correct laundry detergent to wash the hoodies while shrinking them.
  • Start the wash cycle and enable a long wash period for better results.
  • After the wash cycle ends, remove the hoodies and allow them to air-dry, preferably under direct sunlight.

Shrinking Hoodies with Boiling Water

Boiling water is suitable for drastic and quick shrinking processes when you want your hoodie to reduce by more than a size in a shorter period.

Read the care label to see if the hoodie can withstand boiling water. Don’t use this method on hoodies that have heat-set designs.


  • Separate the hoodies you want to shrink by color because hot water causes color bleeding and can stain light-colored ones.
  • Get a large pot that can contain the hoodie(s) you want to shrink.
  • Fill the pot with water and place it on the stove.
  • Boil the water till it bubbles.
  • Place the boiling water on a comfortable surface.
  • Carefully put the hoodie(s) into the pot, using a wooden spoon or large tong to submerge the hoodie(s) inside.
  • Leave the hoodie to soak for five to ten minutes for better results. But if the hoodie is polyester, leave it longer for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • When the time elapses, move the pot to the kitchen sink.
  • Use the tong to remove the hoodie from the pot and place it in the kitchen sink.
  • Leave the hoodie in the sink to cool down.
  • When it is safe to touch, press the excess water out of your hoodie with your hands.
  • Don’t squeeze or wring the hoodie, or you will stretch it out.
  • Dry the hoodie and enjoy the new snugness.

Shrinking a Hoodie by Drying

Like washing, your hoodie will shrink when you place it in the dryer, but the effect minimizes upon subsequent drying.

Check the care label to see if your hoodie can handle heat or tumble drying.

Air-drying can have some shrinking effect on hoodies but not as much as tumble drying because of the access to constant heat. However, blazing sunlight can shrink your hoodies.


  • First, wash your hoodie in the washer with hot water. You can also use the boiling water method.
  • Place the damp hoodie in the dryer. The hoodie might stop shrinking if you air-dry it after washing or soaking it in boiling water.
  • Select the hottest tumble drying setting available on the dryer.
  • Toss a few wool dryer balls into the dryer to reduce the static energy that will form during the procedure.
  • The constant spinning and intense heat will constrict the fibers on the hoodie.
  • If you want to reduce the shrinking effect, stop the dryer before the cycle ends.

Shrinking your Hoodie with an Iron


Ironing your hoodie is another effective way to shrink; however, this method is suitable for targeted shrinking in specific areas like the collar or waist.

If you want to shrink the entire hoodie with an iron, you may find yourself at it for hours in an excruciatingly long process.

A hot iron can damage or melt the hoodie, so test a hidden area to confirm or check the care label for specific instructions.


  • Set your iron to the highest heat setting available.
  • Turn your hoodie inside out and iron a small portion to see if it’s safe to proceed.
  • Put the hoodie on the right side and place a pressing cloth on top to protect it from direct contact with the iron.
  • Dampen the hoodie with water or use the squirt function on the iron if available. You can also use steam from the iron for added moisture.
  • Start ironing the hoodie, paying extra attention to the parts you want to shrink.
  • Continue ironing the hoodie till you achieve your desired results.

Shrinking the Hoodie with a Hair Dryer

hair dryer

Like ironing, this method is suitable for targeted shrinking in the hoodie. However, the heat from the hair dryer is usually high, almost reaching the temperature of boiling water.


  • Lay a highly absorbent towel on a flat surface.
  • Place your hoodie on the towel.
  • Fill a spray bottle or sizable bowl with water.
  • Sprinkle the water on the hoodie continuously to ensure it stays damp.
  • Turn on the hair dryer and start drying the preferred area.
  • Run the dryer over the parts on the hoodie you want to shrink or all over.
  • Turn the hoodie to the other side and continue drying.
  • After a while, wear the hoodie to see if you’re comfortable with the fit.
  • If you’re not, pour more water and continue drying till you get your desired results.

Bonus Tip: Shrink your Hoodie by Stitching

If you find the shrinking process too arduous to partake in, or you have a hoodie that will not shrink to your desired size no matter how hard you try, it may be best to contact a tailor.

The tailor will take your measurements and stitch the edges of the hoodie till it’s a new size. You can do this yourself if you can sew to offset the costs.

How to Avoid Damaging your Hoodie While Shrinking

Shrinking your hoodie requires processes that can damage the fabric without proper care.

These are some ways to avoid damage:

  • Read the care label of the hoodie before starting the process to ensure the fabric can withstand the harsh treatment, particularly the high heat.
  • Tailor your shrinking method to specific fabrics. When you get the instructions from the care label, select the shrinking method adequately. For instance, avoid the boiling water method for hoodies that cannot withstand scorching heat or vice versa for polyester that resists shrinkage.
  • Don’t proceed with these treatments on hoodies with designs because these designs can melt or crack upon exposure to intense heat. If you must shrink designed hoodies, use the targeted methods like ironing or a hair dryer to shrink specific areas.
  • Avoid squeezing and stretching the hoodie, or you will reverse the shrinking process.

Leave a comment