Do Sweatpants Shrink in the Dryer? (Why Do Sweatpants Shrink?)

Sweatpants are the ultimate lazy-day essential, but you’ll want to make sure they fit right before deciding to wear them all day long. If you’re not careful, your sweatpants could end up giving you a wedgy or even falling down while you’re out and about. This is because sweatpants can shrink in the dryer and also if they’re washed in hot water.

The good news is that you can fix most shrinkage problems by knowing how to wash sweatpants properly and avoid excessive shrinkage.

Do Sweatpants Shrink in the Dryer?

Sweatpants aren’t always pre-shrunk, so if you’re ordering online, read the product description carefully for information about how it was made. Some brands are tagged as “pre-shrunk,” while others will have a note saying they’re not pre-shrunk and should be washed before wearing.

Your sweatpants might shrink in the dryer if they have spandex in them. Spandex is a synthetic fiber that contains rubber. It is known for stretching easily and then returning to its original shape when cooled down.

This property makes it ideal for athletic garments like sweatpants, especially those designed for people who like to work out at home because they are comfortable and simple to move around in while still being professional-looking enough that you don’t look ridiculous wearing them out of the house.

If your sweatpants are 100 percent cotton, they probably won’t shrink when you dry them in the machine, but be sure you don’t put them in there with other clothes that might accidentally tear or snag on the material.

How Much Do Sweatpants Shrink?

Sweatpants are made from a number of different materials, so you can’t just assume that all sweatpants will shrink by a certain percentage. Sweatpants made from cotton or a cotton/polyester blend may shrink more than 100% because they can’t stretch as much. Polyester, rayon, and microfiber sweats may only shrink 10%.

 

Champion Women's Heritage Jogger Tight, oxford gray, Medium

 

It’s also important to remember that even if your sweatpants have shrunk less than expected, they will still be the same size and fit like they did before they were washed. A pair of 30″ waist sweatpants will still be 30″ after washing. They just won’t be as baggy as they were before.

You can use this information to your advantage when buying new sweatpants in the future. If you like your sweats loose and baggy, buy them a little big so you don’t have to worry about how much they’ll shrink when you wash them for the first time.

Why Do Sweatpants Shrink?

The major factor that causes clothing to shrink is heat. Dryers use heat to shrink clothes, which is why if you wash your clothes at home, you want to avoid putting anything in the dryer (except maybe towels) or you’ll probably end up with things like shirts and pants that are too small.

Towels don’t really shrink because they’re absorbent and they don’t have a lot of fabric, so they don’t really experience much shrinking as a result of heat. They’re also made from different materials than most clothes, so their fibers tend to behave differently than the fibers in most clothing.

Manufacturers usually produce sweatpants in two ways: preshrunk or non-preshrunk. Preshrunk sweats will have less shrinking after washing because they are made from cotton that is specially treated to resist shrinking.

However, the treatment can be washed away over time. Non-preshrunk pants aren’t pre-treated against shrinking, so you should expect them to shrink slightly in the wash cycle. However, if your pants have shrunk drastically, something else might be at play.

Can You Shrink Sweatpants in the Dryer?

Sweatpants can shrink in either the washer or dryer. The reason for this is that cotton fibers are tightly packed together when they’re new, but when they get wet and hot they relax a little bit, causing some of the fibers to stick together and the pants to shrink.

There’s also another cause of shrinkage: drying machines that use heat to help reduce the amount of time it takes to dry clothes. Make sure your dryer is set on low heat so that you don’t accidentally overheat your clothes and cause them to shrink.

Trouble is, if you did something to shrink your favorite pair of sweats, chances are they won’t be your favorite pair much longer.

Will My Nike Sweatpants Shrink in the Dryer?

Nike’s apparel is designed to fit comfortably and last a long time with proper care. However, some of their clothes are made with advanced materials that can shrink when washed in hot water. Shrinking is particularly likely if you put them in the dryer.

Nike products are made to fit your body, so these sweatpants will stay the same size after washing. If you notice some shrinkage, it is most likely due to improper washing and drying instructions. To keep your Nike clothing looking great, be sure to wash in cold water with similar colors and tumble dry at low temperatures.

 

Nike Men's Sportswear Open Hem Club Pants, Dark Grey Heather/White, Large

 

How Do You Keep Nike Sweatpants from Shrinking?

  1. Treating your Nike clothing with care will help prevent it from shrinking. Follow these instructions and you will be able to wear your Nike clothes again.
  2. Take your Nike clothes out of the washing machine as soon as they finish washing. Don’t let them sit wet in the machine, or they will shrink. Hang them on a hanger to dry instead.
  3. If you have dried your Nike clothes in the dryer, hang them on a hanger and let them air dry for another 24 hours. You can speed up the drying process by placing them near a heater or fan, but don’t put them back in the dryer so they aren’t shrunken even more than they already are.

Will Roots Sweatpants Shrink in the Dryer?

Yes, Roots sweatpants will shrink in the dryer if you dry them on a high heat setting.

The material that Roots uses to make their sweatpants is 88% cotton and 12% polyester. Cotton shrinks when it gets hot so if you want your Roots sweatpants to last for a long time, you should wash them on a cold cycle or line-dry them.

You can also put your Roots sweatpants in the dryer but set the temperature to low instead of high. If you do this, they might take longer to dry but they’ll be less likely to shrink.

Will 100 Cotton Sweatpants Shrink?

The first thing that you need to look for when buying 100% cotton sweatpants is whether or not they are pre-shrunk. If they are pre-shrunk, then they should not shrink in the wash, or at most they may shrink up to about 5%. However, if they are not pre-shrunk, then they can shrink way more — as much as 20%.

All 100% cotton garments will shrink a little bit when you wash them for the first time, but if you want to reduce the amount of shrinkage, do not use hot water when you wash the garment. The temperature settings on your washer should be set to cold or warm, and never use hot water when washing 100% cotton garments.

The amount of shrinkage that occurs depends on how hot your dryer is set at and for how long it is set. If you are careful about controlling your settings and times, you can reduce the amount it shrinks by as much as 50 percent. If you must use a hotter setting because of the type of fabric and its fullness, remember that this will increase the amount it shrinks and could potentially ruin the garment.

At the end of the day, it is a good idea to never put your 100% cotton sweatpants in the dryer for this reason and always hang them out to dry instead.

Do Sweatpants Shrink in Wash?

Trying to shrink your pants might not be worth it, but here are some things you should keep in mind, before making the decision.

Usually, all fabrics will shrink if they are exposed to heat. If you’re planning on washing your sweatpants in hot water, there’s a chance they’ll shrink. But keep in mind that not all fabrics will shrink the same way and that you shouldn’t expect the same results from all materials.

Different fabrics have different percentages of cotton and polyester, which affects how likely they are to shrink when exposed to heat.

Regardless of whether or not your sweatpants are made of cotton or polyester, if you decide to wash them at a high temperature, you should check them after just one cycle. In some cases, shrinking happens in just one wash cycle and it may not be visible yet because the item is still damp.

You also need to make sure that you aren’t using any type of fabric softener or dryer sheets when washing your pants at high temperatures.

How Do You Wash Sweatpants Without Them Shrinking?

The easiest way to prevent sweatpants from shrinking is by adding a few dryer sheets into your wash cycle. Dryer sheets fight static and keep clothes soft. They also help reduce wrinkles, so your sweatpants will come out looking nice and new. If you want to be on the safe side, add two dryer sheets into each wash cycle.

If you want to get even more protection, try using fabric softener instead of dryer sheets. Fabric softener coats clothes with a protective layer that helps prevent shrinkage as well as wrinkles and static problems. You can also use this in conjunction with dryer sheets for extra protection against shrinkage!

How Do You Unshrink Cotton Sweatpants?

If the amount of shrinkage is minor, you can simply stretch it back to its original size by hand. For major damage, you will need to use another method to solve your problem.

All you need is a bucket of warm water and some dish soap to get your sweatpants back in shape. Fill the bucket with lukewarm water and add a few drops of detergent. Soak the sweatpants in the water, then gently squeeze out the excess liquid. Lay them flat on a towel and let them dry overnight.

This trick works best on cotton sweatpants, but it can be used on other items made from cotton fabrics too.

You can also try adding a cup or two of white vinegar to the water when you’re soaking your pants. Vinegar is often used in dyeing fabric because it helps loosen any hard water deposits (byproducts of washing machine runoff). It may help restore your pants to their original color as well as get rid of odors and wrinkles.


In summary, when it comes to the quality of the clothing you wear, it’s important to have a good understanding of the materials and processes used, so you can make informed decisions about what the last piece of clothing you purchase.

Shrinkage is an important factor to consider when purchasing any type of clothing made with natural fibers, particularly cotton and linen. Since they are “naturally” constructed using only the material that grows on the plant, they contain fewer chemicals and synthetic additives, which makes them far more susceptible to shrinkage than items constructed with other types of fibers.

You may also be interested in… Is It Bad to Wear Sweatpants Everyday? and When Were Sweatpants Invented?