How to Shrink a Hoodie

It can be pretty common to buy clothes that are just a bit too big to be comfortable or that have otherwise stretched over time to ruin the entire feel of the clothing. Hoodies are no different, and you might think it best just to return the product or pawn it off somewhere, but that isn’t necessary. Instead, we’ll teach you how to shrink a hoodie to the correct size to remain comfortable to wear no matter who needs it.

Before getting started, know that you should figure out what fabric your hoodie is made out of before you try to shrink it. While cotton is the most common type of fabric found in hoodies, other materials such as polyester or rayon won’t shrink if you use the same methods as cotton. Regardless of the type of hoodie you use, you’ll be able to learn how to shrink it below.


Cotton has various shrinking methods while also being one of the most common types of hoodie fabrics you can encounter. You most likely will be dealing with this type if you are looking to shrink your hoodie. However, due to how comfortable cotton is to shrink, we’ll go over two methods, one using a washing machine and the other being a reasonably simple hairdryer method that should quickly shrink your cotton hoodie.

Washing Machine

  1. Use a warm setting for your washer, as you don’t want the water to be too hot, but it needs to have heat all the same.
  2. Add laundry detergent to clean the hoodie if needed and loosen up the fabric a bit.
  3. Place the hoodie inside and turn on the washing machine, only do one cycle to start with.
  4. Once finished, allow the hoodie to air dry in an open space.
  5. Check the hoodie to see if it has shrunk properly. If you want a bit more shrinking, place it back into the washer and try again.


  1. Wet your hoodie with hot water, allowing it to soak for a short bit.
  2. Lay your wet hoodie out somewhere where you can use a hairdryer, preferably flat, to expose everything.
  3. Turn the hairdryer on at maximum heat settings to get to optimal temperatures.
  4. Dry the hoodie out using the hairdryer. Make sure to go over it a few times until you are sure the hot air has dried it out.
  5. Flip the hoodie over and dry off the other side, making sure that the entire hoodie has been dried off.
  6. Check if the hoodie has shrunk to the size you desire. Feel free to repeat this process if needed.


Wool has two excellent options to shrink, one requires hand-washing the hoodie, and the other requires using a washing machine and dryer, so pick whichever is best for you. However, hand-washing is better for targeting shrinking, as you can focus on a specific section of the hoodie instead of requiring everything to shrink.


  1. Turn on hot water using a faucet of some sort. A sink should be fine.
  2. Hold the hoodie underneath the water, or at least the portion you want to be shrunk until it is properly wet.
  3. Let any extra water drip off the hoodie, leaving it only slightly wet.
  4. Use a towel to pat the hoodie down until it is damp, don’t wring out the hoodie if you can help it, as using a towel is fine.
  5. Use your hands to push the wool fabric together to make a smaller shrinking area, and leave it to try for a while.
  6. Once the outside is dry, turn the hoodie inside-out to dry again. Doing both sides like this should shrink the hoodie or the part you chose.
  7. Turn the hoodie back out and check to see if it has shrunk to the right side. If not, you can repeat this process.

Washer & Dryer

  1. Set your washing machine to the shortest setting it allows, and have it set to a warm wash rather than anything too hot.
  2. Use a laundry detergent made for wool that you can use to settle into the hoodie itself.
  3. Place the hoodie inside and turn on the washing machine, only do one cycle for now.
  4. Once finished, move it to the dyer and place it in a slightly warm setting rather than something hot.
  5. Let the dryer run for a single cycle once it is set up.
  6. Make sure that the hoodie is dry when removed. If not, place it inside the dryer once more until fully dry.
  7. Check the hoodie once dry to see if it shrunk. If you desire further shrinking, repeat the process with hot washing machine settings instead.


Due to requiring incredibly high temperatures to shrink properly, polyester is a bit more troublesome, but you can still easily use a washing machine and dryer for optimal shrinking. A backup method would be to iron the hoodie after washing, but it should typically be used if the Washing option fails.

Washer & Dryer

  1. Turn the hoodie inside-out to protect the color of the hoodie from damage when using such high-temperature settings.
  2. Set your washing machine to the most extended setting it allows and set to the hottest wash available to ensure that your polyester can properly shrink.
  3. Place the hoodie inside and turn on the washing machine, do one cycle for now.
  4. Once finished, move it to the dryer immediately to keep it as hot as possible for longer.
  5. Set the dryer on the highest settings possible, just like the washing machine, ensuring that it is hot and as long as possible for this one cycle.
  6. Remove the hoodie from the drying machine and allow it to cool off from all of the excess heat used. This should allow it to shrink for the time being properly.
  7. Check if the hoodie is shrunk to the proper size you desire and if you require it to shrink more, repeat this process with the same hot settings as before.

Ironing Board

  1. Repeat the above Washer & Dryer process until it has finished its washing machine process.
  2. Instead of moving the hoodie to the dryer, immediately place it on an ironing board and lay it flat.
  3. Use a protective cloth over the hoodie to ensure that you do not harm the hoodie when pressing it with the ironing tool.
  4. Make sure that the iron is on a lower setting, as using a setting that is too high could dry it out too much and cause it to become stiff also ensure that you use a dry setting as the hoodie is already wet from the washing machine and does not require steaming.
  5. Press the iron against the protective cloth on the hoodie repeatedly until dry. Make sure to check the hoodie if you are unsure, ensuring it isn’t wholly damp.
  6. Check if the hoodie has shrunk to the desired size, but try not to repeat this process as an ironing board is simply a backup choice and would most likely harm the hoodie if overused.


Rayon can be rather sensitive when shrinking with heat but still requires warm water for the best results. As such, you should use a washing machine method, but you should allow it to dry without using an incredibly warm dryer as the dryer’s high heat could provoke a much higher amount of shrinking than desired.

Washing Machine

  1. Set your washing machine to a short and gentle setting while simply using a warm water cycle to promote shrinking.
  2. Place the hoodie inside, turn on the washing machine, and do a single cycle.
  3. Immediately check to see if the hoodie has shrunk and how much. You are already done if you have shrunk it to the desired size.
  4. If you require further shrinking, repeat this short, gentle cycle process until you have shrunk the hoodie to the proper size.
  5. If a high amount of shrinking is needed, you may use a dryer if required, but this isn’t recommended for smaller shrinking jobs. Simply place the hoodie into the dryer on a short and gentle setting once again, as you do not want the dryer to have too high of a heat for too long or else the rayon hoodie will dramatically shrink.


As you can probably tell, warm water does the trick with about any fabric, and using a washing machine can do wonders for shrinking whatever hoodie you have. This is a good rule of thumb if you don’t know what fabric you will be working with, so feel free to follow that mindset if you don’t have that information at your disposal. Of course, if you do know what fabric you are working with, this is made all the easier by choosing the steps needed for that specific type of hoodie!

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