How to Shrink a Sweatshirt

by Amy Davidson

A beloved sweatshirt is a treasure for comfortable wear, but a fitted one is great for style. A baggy sweatshirt, although comfy, can leave you looking shapeless. With a little help from your washer and dryer, you can shrink baggy sweatshirts to fit your body better and maintain that cozy feel.

Place your sweatshirt in the washer by itself. Do not try this using other clothes, as you don’t want other garments to shrink or bleed from the amount of heat this method uses. Use detergent that is color safe to protect the sweatshirt from fading. Wash the sweatshirt on high heat using the regular cycle.

Place your sweatshirt in the dryer and set it on the highest heat setting. Make sure the lint trap is clean to prevent dryer fires. Check the sweatshirt after 30 minutes. If it is still damp, continue drying in 30-minute segments until it is completely dry.

Try on the sweatshirt. If it is still too baggy, repeat the process until it fits to your liking. Should you shrink the sweatshirt too much, wash the sweatshirt again. Dry it stretched, laying it flat and placing heavy objects on the sleeves, collar and bottom to keep it stretched while it air-dries.

Items you will need

  • Washer
  • Dryer
  • Color-safe detergent


  • If after three attempts the sweater is still not shrunk to your liking, consider a trip to your local alterations shop. Too many hot washes can leave the fabric faded and damaged. A professional seamstress can alter the sweatshirt to your liking.

About the Author

Amy Davidson is a graduate from the University of Florida in Gainesville, with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She also writes for local papers around Gainesville doing articles on local events and news.

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images