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January 13, 2023

Jeans naturally shrink and expand following the washing process. This is because the fabrics in jeans are held together by tension. When wet, fabric weaves will loosen, shrinking the dimensions of the material overall. However, shortly after drying, your jean pants tend to regain their standard fit—you may notice this when you first put them on. But certain washing practices can escalate shrinkage, making it harder for the jeans to return to normal. Read on and learn three helpful tips to prevent your jeans from shrinking in the wash.

Tip I: Lower the Temperature

The ultimate tip for preventing jean shrinkage during a machine wash is to lower the water temperature. Warmer water causes fabrics to relax significantly more than cold temperatures, making the effects of natural shrinkage more noticeable and potentially permanent. Instead, use cool/cold wash settings to maintain the fit of your jean pants.

Tip II: Prep Your Jeans

Along with lowering the wash temperature, it’s recommended that you prepare your jeans for the washing machine. To accomplish this, simply turn your pants inside-out and fully zip/button the fly. Combined with cold water, these preparations help your jeans retain their shape and fit. Additionally, this prevents your fastenings (buttons, snaps, etc.) from damaging other fabrics and materials.

Tip III: Ditch the Dryer

When all else fails, it’s worth considering air dryingyour jeans to prevent shrinkage. Tumble-dry processes, especially ones with high-heat settings, break down materials and fabrics. Additionally, this can cause discoloration and tears, leaving your jeans damaged and wasted. Instead, leave your jeans out to dry following a cycle through the washing machine to avoid damaging the fabric. Ensure the seams are completely stretched before hanging your jeans in a moisture-free environment. This provides better results and prevents mold growth.

Jean pants are an essential wardrobe item throughout the entire year, so follow these helpful tips to better prevent your jeans from shrinking! If you need new outdoor wear, check out our selection of high-quality clothing here at Escape Outdoors. We carry many of the top outdoor clothing brands, including Patagonia and Kuhl apparel.


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