How to Shrink a Shirt Without Washing It (Without a Dryer)

This can be a little tricky to do. The best tools for shrinking clothing are your washing machine and your dryer. But with the right alternative tools you may still get your nice shirts down a size or two without any real hassle.

How to shrink a shirt without washing it: Whether it is technically washing a shirt or not, you could simply soak your wool or cotton shirts in a tub of hot water. If the shirt’s material is made from synthetic fibers, then chances are you won’t be able to shrink it no matter which method you use.

To learn more about shrinking a shirt without washing or drying it, just continue to read our article. it has the methods you can use to shrink those clothing items safely, or relatively safely.

Can you shrink clothes without washing them?


Yes, this is possible. It may take some work but it can be done. Soak the shirt in hot water is one way to make the item a little smaller and if you are allowed to use the dryer, that would be a second method to use.

Everything will depend on the type of fibers used to create the shirt. Even a poly-cotton or some other synthetic and natural fiber blend would be hard to shrink as the synthetic fibers were added to prevent that from taking place.

Before you start make sure you know what fibers were used to create the shirt. This will save you a lot of time and energy.

How to Shrink a Shirt Without Washing it

This is actually hard to do like the natural inclination of most people would be to throw the shirt in the washing machine and turn up the water heater. But without that option and without using a dryer you are basically limited to very few options.

The first method would be to use your iron. The high iron temperatures will help shrink those fibers that can be shrunk. If that doesn’t work, you can put the shirt out into the direct sunlight and let the sun do the work for you.

Just watch out for fading when you do method number 2. Again, polyester or similar synthetic fibers resist shrinking and while you may get some shrinkage at times it won’t be a lot.

Can You Shrink a Shirt in The Dryer Without Washing It?


Yes, you can as this is the go-to non-wash method that just about everyone will think of using. High dryer heat can shrink natural fibers but sometimes, it may shrink them more than you would like.

If you try shrinking synthetic fibers in the dryer, you run the risk of melting those fibers and ruining the shirt for good. No repair can be done when that takes place.

Also, be forewarned. There is no control knob on the shrinking process no matter which method you use. The results you get may be different every time you do this process. Those results may be different from your friends’ results as well.

How to Shrink a Shirt Without a Dryer

Once you remove both the washer and the dryer from your tools of the shrinking trade, you are quite limited in what options you have. You can try soaking the shirt in a tub filled with hot water. But you would need some vinegar to help prevent fading.

Then, you can use your iron and turn the heat up a little higher. Press the steam button to use steam to help the iron shrink your shirt. Then if that doesn’t do it, you can always use the sun to make sure the shirt goes down a little in size.

As you can see, the main element in shrinking is heating. While we speak generically of shirts here, all the previous warnings in this article about synthetic fibers apply in every case even if we do not mention them specifically.

Shrinking a Hoodie Without a Dryer


Heat is always going to be part of the process and without a dryer, you can wash the hoodie in warm to hot, increasing the temperature if the previous results were not large enough. Just lay flat to dry so the material doesn’t stretch on you.

Then you can soak the hoodie in a tub of boiling water making sure to protect your hands throughout each stage of the process. Or the hot iron with the steam function will take a little size out of the garment.

If you do not have an iron or one with a steam function, then you can turn to hot water and your hairdryer.

How do You Shrink a Shirt Without Washing it Fast?


One of the aspects involved in shrinking is that you need some way to loosen up the fibers before you start to shrink the clothing item. Without that step, you may be hard-pressed to get the shirt down to a more form-fitting size.

Sometimes that heat needs to come from hot water and soaking the shirt is always a good step, then apply heat to dry it and shrink those softened fibers. Because heat is needed you can avoid using hot water and use a hairdryer, dryer, the sun, or your iron to get those fibers loosened up and ready to shrink.

Natural fibers will be the easiest ones to work on.

Some Final Words

Shrinking shirts is a risky process. Without any firm control over the shrink rate, you are taking quite a gamble. Just proceed with caution as your favorite shirt may end up being one of your dolls, in your doll collection, favorite shirt to wear.

Even if you used your washer and dryer, you still have no control over the shrink rate. Your hairdryer and iron may give you the most control.

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