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Article: How to Shrink a Dress Shirt

How to Shrink a Dress Shirt

How to Shrink a Dress Shirt

Are you also frustrated because your dress shirt doesn’t fit you well or doesn’t hug your body perfectly like others? If yes, then this article is for you. Shrinking your oversized or loose dress shirt is the ultimate solution to making it the perfect size for you. Keep reading this article because we will share some methods to shrink a dress shirt without losing the fabric quality. So, let’s get into this

How to Shrink a Dress Shirt?

If you are here, you must have a dress shirt in your wardrobe that you never wear just because it is not of your size, right? I have been through the same, but one day, I decided to take them out and make them fit me perfectly. Oh wait, I am not talking about alteration; I shrunk my dress shirts. Grab your loose dress shirt, follow the steps with me, and shrink your not-so-fit dress shirt in a few minutes.


How to Shrink a Dress Shirt

Check the Shirt Fabric

Before we start the process, check the fabric of the shirt. Wondering why you need to check the shirt fabric? This is a crucial step to save your shirt from any damage because you want to shrink your shirt and not lose it, right? A dress shirt can be shrunk through several methods, and I will share them all with you. You can follow whatever process suits you. So here you go.

The Dryer Method

The most common and easiest method of shrinking a dress shirt is to pop it in your dryer and let the dryer do the job. All you have to do is wash your shirt like always, but this time, wash it at a high temperature. Now dry it in a dryer on high heat and take it out when the dryer beeps. This method is effective in shrinking dress shirts and linen shirts. Furthermore, if your shirt is made of soft and delicate fabric, do not shrink it using this method.

Read More: Ready To Wear vs. Custom Made Shirts

The Washer Method

It's just like the previous method: just skip the dryer part. If you have a dress shirt that you wish was a few inches less wide, then this method is perfect. Apart from the dress shirts, I have shrunk a few of my trousers that were too long for me using this method. All I do is toss my loose dress shirt in the washer and set it at a high temperature. The machine will do everything. I sit back and relax, and when the timer beeps, I take it out and let the shirt air dry.

Traditional Hot Water Method

If you are not a fan of modern ways of shrinking a dress shirt, then let’s stick to our culture and shrink a dress shirt in a way like our elders used to do. Many of you must have seen your grandmothers and mothers doing this at home. Should we give it a try, too? All you need to do is boil water in a pot and carefully place your shirt in it. Now, cover the pot with a lid for five minutes. When the time is up, take the shirt from the hot water with a tong or stick. Hot water shrinks the fabric, and you can repeat the process until you get your desired fit. Be careful during this process, and do not put your hand directly into the hot water pot.

steaming dress shirt


An unusual method of shrinking a shirt is by steaming it. This is the most effective way of shrinking a wool, silk, or linen dress shirt. In this method, you use an iron or clothing steamer at high temperatures to shrink the shirt. Heat the entire clothing piece at a high temperature to shrink the shirt. If you can handle high heat on delicate fabric only, then go for this method because these shirts can burn quickly at high temperatures, and you will end up destroying the shirt in the process of shrinking it.

Bonus Tip

Once you have got your desired fit after shrinking the shirt, you must ensure it stays that way. You can do that by not laundering the same shirt in hot water in the future, as it will shrink it more. Try to wash it in cold water to keep the size secure.

Do All Dress Shirts Shrink?

This question must have crossed the minds of many, and remember what I mentioned in the starting? Yes, to check the fabric of your shirt before shrinking it. So the purpose of that was to make you understand the type of fabric, how much a specific fabric shrinks, and what method works well for a shirt, depending upon its material. Read the below points to understand the shrinking properties of a fabric.
  • Cotton, wool, silk, linen, and hemp shirts shrink quickly. You can use any shrinking method on shirts made from these fabrics.
  • Synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester do shrink, but not to a significant level.
  • Any shirt that has spandex shrinks in the dryer.

Shrinking Men's Dress Shirt

How Much a Dress Shirt Can Shrink?

If you are shrinking a dress shirt, you must be interested in knowing how much a dress can shrink. So here’s a chart that you may find helpful in understanding the shrink percentage of a fabric.


Shrinking Percentage


Up to 20%


Up to 3%


Up to 10%

Nylon, acetate, acrylic, etc.

Up to 3-4%



Is it possible to shrink a dress shirt?

Yes, a dress shirt can be shrunk through various methods. High temperature and hot water do a fantastic job of shrinking the size of a shirt.

How much can you shrink a dress shirt?

How much a shit shrinks depends on the shirt material. Usually, dress shirts can be shrunken to 1-3%.

What's the easiest way to shrink a shirt?

The easiest way of shrinking a shirt is by putting it in boiling water. A dress shirt, even if it is placed in a hot water pot for five minutes, shrinks significantly, and it is one of the most effective ways of shrinking a dress shirt.

Can you shrink a 100% cotton dress shirt?

Shirts made purely from natural fiber can shrink easily compared to synthetic fibers. These fabrics are more prone to shrinkage, and a 100% cotton shirt can shrink up to 20%, depending upon the method and the number of time you repeat the process.


If you are tired of visiting your tailor to make a dress shirt of your size, try shrinking your dress shirts at home. Follow our guide and shrink a dress shirt at home effortlessly. So, pull your socks up and achieve your desired fit on any of your loose dress shirts.

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