How to Shrink a Jacket Easily (Nylon, Leather, Wool, Denim)

One way to know that your diet worked is the fact you have to shrink your favorite clothing items to make them fit again. Shrinking is the go-to option when one finds their clothing too large. It is either an inexpensive method or an expensive one, which one you get depends on your results.

How to shrink a jacket: One method would be to place the jacket in your washing machine and turn the water temperature to hot. Then run the machine through a full cycle before moving the jacket to the dryer. This may work for some fibers but all of them, check the care label first, before doing this method.

To learn more about shrinking jackets just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to know before you start trying to shrink your jackets. Take a few minutes to get up to speed on this important topic.

Do Jackets Shrink?

Yes and no. If you have left your diet and gained a few pounds then no matter what fiber the jacket was made from, it will feel like it shrunk on you. But that is a topic for another day.

Some jackets will easily shrink on you as they are usually made from natural fibers. Even if they were pre-washed before assembly, the material may still shrink a little bit. Cotton and wool are sure to shrink on you when washed improperly.

Normally, it will be hard to shrink a jacket made from synthetic fibers like polyester, nylon, and so on. When you try to do this task with those jackets you never know what type of results you will get.

How do You Shrink a Jacket That is Too Big?


The safest but most expensive option you have is to go to a tailor and have them alter the jacket for you. This method maintains the look, structure, and integrity of the jacket while making sure it fits you like it is supposed to.

The second method would be to soak the jacket in a pot or tub large enough to hold the jacket without spilling the contents. Then fill that tub up with boiling water and place the jacket inside for about 5 to 7 minutes.

After the soaking is done, hang the jacket up to dry. You can repeat this option if the amount of shrinkage did not meet your goal. The final method would be to use your washing machine and run it at the highest water temperature possible. Then place it in the dryer for 15 minutes on warm to get more shrinkage.

How to Shrink a Jacket in The Washer

The first thing you do is check the care label. If it says it is okay to wash the jacket, then you place it in the washer by itself and turn the water temperature to hot. You do not need any soap or bleach, etc. when you do this. Then run the washer through the cycle and at the end you can hang dry it so there is no more shrinkage.

The hang drying option is preferred especially when your jacket has reached your shrink goal. If it hasn’t, you can put it in the dryer for a short time but do not turn the heat up. Keep the dryer heat on warm and do not run it through a full cycle.

Do Jackets Shrink in the Dryer?

Jackets made from natural fibers can and will shrink when placed in the dryer. You do not even have to make a special dryer load as those fibers react quickly when heat is applied.

Natural fibers tend to shrink when lots of heat is applied to them so if you do not want to have a smaller jacket, hang dry the material after washing in cold water. Synthetic fibers are another story and yes, they can shrink in the dryer but they can also melt in one.

Also, you can repeat the process if the jacket did not shrink as much as you wanted it to but be careful. Repeating the process means that you may go too far and it will be too small for you to wear again.

How to Shrink a Cotton Jacket


Sometimes you can just look at a cotton jacket wrong and it will shrink on you. It is that fragile at times. But any of the three methods already discussed above will work on cotton materials.

You can also use your dryer by itself and turn the heat up a bit before tossing your cotton jacket inside. The heat of the dryer will take off some more inches for you. Before you get started though, check the care label to make sure you won’t damage the jacket when you use those methods. And be careful of poly-cotton blends in your jackets.

The presence of synthetic fibers may mean that the jacket may not shrink on you.

Can Polyester a Jacket Shrink?

Again, the answer will be yes and no. Not because we do not know but as we have repeatedly mentioned in our articles, synthetic fibers resist shrinking. One reason synthetic fibers were invented was that they were supposed to be the cure for shrinking natural fibers.

When you try to shrink a polyester jacket you are taking a gamble. You may get what you want and you may end up with a mess. It all depends on the quality of the fibers in the jacket and how you handle the process.

Polyester and other synthetic fibers do not like heat, as they are plastic, and can melt on you instead of shrink. If it melts, you can’t repair the damage.

How to Shrink Faux Leather Jacket

If the faux leather was made from Polyurethane then chances are you may be able to shrink it without damaging the fibers or the fabric. But you have to be careful. Wash the jacket in warm water simply to clean it first.

Then put it in a pillowcase and tie the ends so the jacket does not come out. Set the dryer heat to high and run it for about an hour. Once the timer goes off, check to see if the shrink rate was enough. If not, repeat the dryer portion of the shrinking process.

You need a pillowcase or a bag to protect the dryer. If the Polyurethane does melt, then it can make a mess of the drum, etc.

How to Shrink Nylon Jacket


If the jacket is made from 100% nylon, then you may have a tough time shrinking it. Nylon is made from the same materials as polyester and exists to resist shrinking. Plus, if the heat gets too hot, the material can melt on you.

But if the nylon is blended with a natural fiber, chances are you may have some success. It is still a gamble but then ‘nothing ventured nothing gained.’ You can try the boiling hot water method, the washing machine method, the dryer method, or the sure-fired tailor method.

The last is the safest of all methods you can use. or you can do a temporary shrink by using an ice water bath. But the warmth of your body will make it stretch again.

Shrink Wool Jacket

The go-to method is your washing machine. Depending on how much you want to shrink the wool jacket, your choice of water temperature is important. Warm if you only want to take a little off the clothing item. Then hot if you want to take a lot off.

Then move the jacket to your dryer and add a dryer sheet. Turn the dryer heat up between medium and hot, again depending on how much you want the jacket to shrink. Stop the dryer from time to time to monitor the process and end the process when your goal has been reached.

Once it has been reached, hang the jacket or lay it flat to continue the drying process.

Can You Shrink a Denim Jacket?

Yes, you can shrink a denim jacket and the wetter you get the fabric the more it will shrink. Water is the key here as well as a high water temperature and dryer heat. If you want to stop any fading from taking place, turn the denim item inside out.

Any of the methods already mentioned will work and if you want to have a little control over the shrinking process, simply adjust the temperature levels in your washer and dryer.

If you only want to shrink specific areas on the denim jacket, then use a spray bottle full of hot water. Hang up for a few minutes then turn your iron to high and iron the jacket to get it to shrink.

Shrinking a Suit Jacket


The problem with trying to shrink a suit jacket is that the process used may alter the structure, the integrity, and the look. it is best not to try and shrink a suit jacket for those important reasons.

The best way to make the jacket smaller would be to have it altered. This method may cost you some money but it preserves the structure, the integrity, and the look. Then even tailoring can be risky as the structure of the jacket is difficult to alter, especially in the shoulders.

Because it is a complex clothing item filled with different layers, you cannot shrink a suit jacket like you would a cotton T-shirt.

How to Shrink a Suede Jacket

3 of the methods already mentioned will work on a real leather jacket, tailoring, washing machine, and soaking the jacket in hot water. It is a natural fiber and tends to shrink when heat is applied.

On the other hand, using water with suede is asking for trouble. Ask anyone who owns suede shoes and what happens when they get wet. The material will shrink but it will also get ruined at the same time.

Then if the jacket is lined with material that cannot be washed, you would ruin the lining as well as the exterior fabric. We have written extensively on this topic at this link.

How to Shrink a Jacket With a Zipper

This may be as risky as trying to shrink synthetic fibers as the material may shrink but the zipper and its material may not. When it doesn’t, the fabric becomes bunched and the zipper is too long.

The best way would be to remove the zipper, shrink the material then replace the old zipper with a new, shorter one. You can try to shrink a jacket with a zipper but check the construction materials first. If the zipper is made with synthetic fibers, your risks go up and the success rate should fall.

How do You Shrink a Jacket Fast?


The fastest way to shrink a jacket would be to apply high heat to it. Use your washing machine and dryer and turn the heat up as high as they will go. Of course, this may mean you will get a lot of shrinkage.

The boiling method may take anywhere between 6 and 8 hours or so to get the job done so it is not that quick. The time it takes will all depend on how much shrinkage you actually want.

Warm temperatures may take a couple to a few runs through the machines before it shrinks to meet your goal.

Some Final Words

The best way to shrink a jacket will be to have it altered. jackets are not the same as regular clothing items and there is a lot more involved, like more layers, lining materials, and so on.

Shrinking the jacket in alternative ways may leave you with a mess. There is also no guarantee your goal will be met or not surpassed. If you use your machines, cross your fingers and hope for the best.

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