Leggings are comfortable beyond description and come in so many different colors and patterns that they are the go-to for both casual dress and active-wear. Before replacing them with new ones, we’ll show you how to shrink leggings to save you money while giving you the comfort you crave.
Just like a pair of denim jeans or a t-shirt, shrinking leggings is relatively easy, whether they are your favorite yoga pants, workout leggings, or dress-up pants. Unfortunately, they tend to stretch out over time, and your favorite pair of leggings does not have the same stylish fit they once had.
The key is knowing the type of material your pair of leggings are made of and applying the right kind of shrinking technique. Let’s get started getting those leggings back to a comfortable fit.
- Shrinking Leggings
Shrinking synthetic fabrics such as leggings require two key ingredients: water and high temperatures. The amount of heat required for proper shrinkage depends on the type of material.
We’ll show you how to determine your leggings’ material, the right way to shrink them to their original size, and how to prevent them from shrinking in the future.
How to Shrink Leggings
Before shrinking your leggings, there are a few things to check to help you decide which shrinking method is the best for your pants. The care label tells you what type of blends or synthetic material make up the leggings, and is a useful tool when shrinking your clothes.
Check Leggings Before Shrinkage
Before beginning the shrinking process, look for the care tag, usually located on the inside back waistband. They may be a blend of synthetic fibers or a pure textile, and knowing this helps you determine whether a long hot wash cycle or a warm iron is the best choice for shrinking your leggings.
Another thing to look for on the care label is specific care instructions. A label that tells you to wash with cold water indicates that they shrink quickly in hot temperatures, whereas a tag that says to wash in warm requires extensive heating to shrink.
This also applies for the best way to wash a baseball cap. If you need it to be a little smaller, and it is made of cotton or a poly/cotton blend, the washing machine or hand washing in the sink is ideal.
Ways to Shrink Leggings without Washing
If your leggings say to cold wash only, then washing and drying them may cause too much shrinkage. Here is one of the best ways to shrink leggings minimally without using a washer or dryer.
Fill a bottle sprayer with hot water and lay your pants out on a flat, clean surface such as an ironing board. Mist the front side of your leggings, making sure to apply extra water to areas that require additional shrinking.
Plug in a hair dryer and use the hottest heat setting to dry the surface of your pants. Flip the leggings over and repeat on the reverse side.
Shrinking Cotton Leggings in the Washer and Dryer
Shrinking leggings in the washer and dryer is an effective way to get the most shrinkage out of cotton legging pants. The high heat of both machines works double-time to tighten the fabric yarn and threads from their relaxed form.
Place the leggings in the washing machine and set the wash and rinse cycles to the hottest water setting. If the pants are dirty, add your favorite laundry detergent. Otherwise, it isn’t necessary.
It’s also essential to use the longest wash cycle since the longer your leggings are subject to heat and friction, the better they shrink. Once the washing cycles complete, place the pants in the dryer and use the hottest setting.
If it’s the first time washing and drying your clothes, make sure to check them periodically. Keep in mind that the leggings shrink both in width and length, so shrinking them too much affects how long they are as well.
What if you accidentally shrink your cotton leggings too much? Can you unshrink cotton as easily as you make it smaller? Yes, you can stretch out cotton a bit if it gets too tight.
If you are trying to shrink a wool sweater, you may want to hand wash rather than use your washing machine unless you require a lot of shrinkage. Handwashing gives you more control of how much the fibers draw up.
Shrinking Leggings with a Clothes Iron
For moderate shrinkage, consider washing your leggings and then using a hot iron to dry them. This form of heat helps you monitor the shrinking results as they happen, giving you more control over the desired outcome.
Place the pants into the washing machine set at the longest cycle using high heat for both wash and rinse. If you do not have a washing machine, place the pants in a large pot of water and bring to a boil.
Allow them to soak in the boiling water for ten minutes before cooling them and pressing out excess water. Once the wash cycles complete, remove the pants from the washer and lay them out flat on an ironing board and lay a clean dish towel over the surface of the leggings.
Set the clothes iron to low or medium heat, and iron your pants one section at a time. Once the material feels almost dry, hang the pants up to air dry.
You can also use this technique to shrink a cotton shirt or other piece of clothing in addition to your leggings. Ironing often gives you just the right amount of shrinkage that you need for the garment to fit comfortably and look good at the same time.
Shrinking PreShrunk Leggings
Workout and compression clothing are preshrunk during the manufacturing process. Since the fibers are already relaxed and tightened before you wear them, they tend to be more resistant to future shrinking. Luckily, there are still ways to shrink those leggings that are too loose.
Bring a pot of water to a boil before removing from the heat. Place the leggings into the hot water and let them sit for about three minutes. Remove the pants from the pan carefully using a pair of kitchen tongs and place them into the washing machine.
Wash your leggings on the hottest wash and rinse setting for an extended cycle. Once the wash cycles complete, place the pants along with a towel, into the dryer and dry them on the high temperature setting. When the pants are cool, try them on to test their fit. If they are still loose, repeat the process.
Shrinking Polyester and Spandex Leggings
The blend of polyester and spandex fabrics is typical in leggings. Spandex provides comfort and flexibility, and polyester adds durability.
Will polyester shrink? While cotton is the easiest fabric to shrink, polyester and spandex blends are easy to shrink with just a bit more effort. This process also works for lycra leggings blended with these fibers.
To shrink your polyester and spandex leggings, wash the spandex polyester garment on the hottest wash and rinse cycle of your washing machine. Remove the leggings from the washer and place them into a laundry mesh bag or pillowcase and tie the end closed.
Place them into the clothes dryer, set it to high heat, and dry for ten minutes. Do not leave the pants in the tumble dryer for more than ten minutes if the leggings contain lycra. Lay them on a flat surface to finish drying after removing the pants from the dryer.
Easy Way to Shrink Nylon Leggings
This synthetic material is harder to shrink than cotton blends and tends to color-fade when shrinking in the washing machine. Nylon leggings require specific shrinking techniques to prevent losing the vibrancy of your pants.
Place the leggings in the washing machine and add up to half a cup of ammonia. Wash the pants on the hottest water temperatures for the wash and rinse cycles.
After the wash cycle finishes, remove the pants and place them in the clothes dryer and tumble-dry them on medium heat for 25 minutes. Remove the pants and lay them on a flat surface or hang them on a hanger to air dry.
How to Prevent Leggings from Stretching
To prevent having to go through this process again in the future, consider taking steps to stop your leggings from stretching out during frequent washes and while wearing them.
Use a mesh bag each time you wash your leggings. During the washing process, the fabric absorbs water, causing the material to stretch to accommodate water molecules between the fibers. The mesh bag limits this stretching and prolongs the life of the fabric.
Once you reach the desired fit of your leggings, it’s essential not to cause more shrinkage. To prevent further shrinking while washing your clothes, use the warm water or cold water setting on the washing machine.
Air-drying is the best option to avoid shrinking polyester, cotton, and any other type of fabric. It also helps the material last longer. Consider laying your leggings on a flat surface to air-dry.
Everyone has their favorite piece of clothing, and it’s disappointing when it no longer fits properly. Loose and baggy yoga pants are not quite as fashionable as those that fit you in all the right places.
Fortunately, it’s easy to shrink clothes such as spandex leggings using high heat temperatures and water. You’ll be back to looking stylish in no time at all.
Now that you know how to shrink leggings to enjoy a comfortable fit while saving money, why not share our legging shrinking tips with your friends and family on Facebook and Pinterest?