Do Chinos Shrink in Length? (Do Chinos Shrink in Wash or Dryer?)

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While it’s true that all men should own a pair of chinos… there are some pitfalls to watch out for. One of the most common is that they shrink in the wash.

Chinos are a staple item for any man’s wardrobe. They can be dressed up or dressed down… and they’re great to throw on when you’re headed to an outdoor event like a baseball game or tailgate party.

However… if you don’t heed the warning signs… you could end up with a pair of pants that are too short to wear.

Also read: What Are Chino Pants Good For?

Do Chinos Shrink in Length?

Answering the question of whether or not chinos shrink in length is actually pretty simple. Chinos are made from cotton and are therefore susceptible to the same shrinking factors as any other cotton clothing.

The short answer is… yes. Most cotton pants will shrink about 2% to 3% in length when washed and dried at hot temperatures. Chinos are no exception.

Shrinkage will be minimal if you take care of them correctly:

  1. Treatment before washing is also important. If a pair of chinos has been preshrunk… then you can expect them to stay the same size after washing as well.
  2. But if they have not already been preshrunk… then there is a good chance that they will shrink in length… especially if you follow proper care instructions.
  3. Hang dry. To most effectively prevent shrinkage… hang your chinos up on a hanger after wearing them. They should air out and dry on their own just fine with no need for washing or drying. This will keep your pants fresh and clean while extending their lifespan.
  4. Spot treat stains. If you do find that your pants have become stained… spot cleaning with a brush or cloth should get rid of it without the need for harsh detergents or machines (which will only cause the stains to set).

Alos read: How Are Chinos Different from Trousers?

Do Chinos Shrink in Wash?

Do chinos shrink in the wash? The answer is yes. Chinos do shrink when they are put in the washer and dryer. But you can prevent that from happening by following a few basic steps.

After you have washed your chinos… hang them to dry instead of putting them in the dryer.

If you do put them in the dryer make sure that you take them out right away after they are done drying. Also… do not put your chinos in the washer and dryer with any other clothing as this will cause them to become smaller and even more difficult to wear.

The best way to avoid shrinking your chino pants is to make sure that you wash them on a lower setting. If you set your washing machine on a cold or warm setting this will cause your pants to shrink much less than if you set it on hot or warm.

If you want to be even safer from shrinking… use cold water when washing your pants or hand-wash them. You can also purchase an extra-large pair of pants just so that if they do shrink in the wash they will still fit without becoming too small for you to wear comfortably.

There are several reasons why this happens… but the main one is because chinos are cotton. Cotton shrinks when it gets wet and then dries again. If you have ever washed a cotton shirt in hot water and put it in the dryer… you know it comes out smaller than it was before.

Also read: Can Chinos Be Dry Cleaned? 

Do Cotton Chinos Shrink?

Do chinos shrink? Yes… they do. Almost all woven garments will shrink if subjected to hot water and/or hot tumble-drying conditions. Because of the tight weave on chino pants… they tend to shrink at a faster rate than other pants such as corduroys or jeans.

Chinos are made with cotton twill… which is a tightly woven fabric. The tight weave means that each thread has fewer gaps between it and its neighboring threads… which makes the fabric more resistant to stretching or shrinking.

The less stretch in a pair of pants… the more likely it is that they will shrink when exposed to hot water or tumble-drying conditions.


Amazon Essentials Men's Slim-Fit Wrinkle-Resistant Flat-Front Chino Pant... Navy... 34W x 32L


The amount of shrinkage will vary depending on how long you expose your chinos to the heat and what kind of water you use – for example… hard water can cause a more significant shrinking than soft water.

Likewise… if you use dryer sheets or fabric softener in your washer and dryer… this can lead to increased levels of shrinkage as well.

Also read: Why Do Chinos Fade? (How Do You Maintain Chinos?)

Do Chinos Shrink in the Dryer?

Do chinos shrink in the dryer? The answer is yes… but only if you dry them on high heat. Chinos are made from lightweight cotton… which is typically a bit more prone to shrinking than heavier cotton or fabrics.

Troubleshooting: The good news about the potential for chinos to shrink is that there are several things you can do to prevent it. To avoid shrinking your chinos… follow these tips:

  1. Don’t wash and dry them together at the same time: A lot of guys will toss their chinos in with a load of jeans (or their favorite pair of sweatpants!) without thinking about it. While this isn’t going to cause any damage… it could cause your chinos to shrink. Instead… you should always wash your chinos by yourself or with other non-wrinkle fabrics like shirts and t-shirts.
  2. Hang them up immediately after they come out of the wash: If you’re worried about shrinking your chinos… then don’t take any chances. As soon as you take the pants out of the washer… hang them up so they can air-dry overnight.

Also read: What Shoes to Wear with Chinos?

Will 100 Cotton Chinos Shrink?

So you’ve got your new pair of 100% cotton chinos and you want to make sure that they’ll fit perfectly after you wash them. The good thing is… the answer is yes! Chinos made out of 100% cotton will not shrink.

Chino pants are a tough piece of clothing to wash because they’re made out of a mix of fabric types… including cotton and spandex to give them their cherished comfort and fit.

Regular cotton will shrink… but the spandex will prevent chinos from shrinking too much. Spandex fibers are also elastic… which means that they’ll stretch back out to their original dimensions once the pressure causing their contraction is released.

What’s more… chinos are usually pre-shrunk… so when you put them in the wash… no more shrinking happens. This means that if you follow the washing instructions on the tag (which almost always say “turn inside out” and “wash cold for best results”)… your pants won’t shrink further at all.

Will 100% Cotton Chinos Shrink?

If you have a washing machine that doesn’t use spin cycles but instead agitates clothes by moving them around in a tub full of water… then chinos will be subject to some amount of shrinking.

Many people ask if their 100% cotton pants will shrink in the dryer

The short answer is yes. All 100% cotton pants will shrink when put into a hot dryer. However… it’s really important to not over-dry your pants.

When you’re drying your cotton pants… make sure that you’re not drying them on high heat and that they don’t stay in the dryer for very long. If your pants are dried on high heat or dried for too long… they’ll end up becoming really small and tight on your bod

Also read: How Are Chinos Different from Trousers?

How Much Do J Crew Chinos Shrink?

J Crew has relatively little shrinkage in its chinos. That’s because they tend to use slightly heavier-weight cotton… which is good for resisting shrinkage.


J.Crew Mercantile Men's Slim Fit Stretch Chino Pant... Oyster Grey... 36/32


The good news is that you’ll probably only notice about a 1/4 inch of shrinkage at most when you first wash your pants J Crew. But the bad news is that more shrinkage will probably occur after repeated washings – so be sure to hang dry your jeans whenever possible!

Also read: What Do Brown Chinos Go With?

Do Goodfellow Chinos Shrink?

The Goodfellow chino is a favorite for many. They’re lightweight and have an amazing fit. However… like most pants… they will shrink in the dryer. Here’s how you can avoid this problem:

When you first purchase your Goodfellows… you’ll want to wash them inside out on cold with like colors and hang them dry.

This way you won’t have any shrinking problems while they’re new. If you’re worried about them being a little baggy in the future… go with your normal size and wear them a couple of times before washing them to get your perfect fit.


Goodthreads Men's Straight-Fit Washed Comfort Stretch Chino Pant... Khaki... 36W x 30L


How do I avoid shrinking?

When it’s time for some laundry… throw them in cold water with mild detergent and tumble dry on low heat or line dry. You don’t want to put them in the dryer because the heat will kill any stretch that is in the fabric causing it to shrink up a little bit.

Also read: Can You Take in Chinos?

In summary… unfortunately… like most pants… chinos can shrink when you wash them. Many factors can contribute to how much a pair of chinos shrink when you wash them.

  1. Wash your chinos in cold water with other dark-colored clothes. You should never use hot water on your chinos… as this will cause the fabric to fade and sag over time.
  2. Add ½ cup of white vinegar to the water before adding your clothes. This will help prevent color bleeding and keep your jeans looking new longer.
  3. Tumble dry on low heat… making sure not to overload your dryer with too many items. Overloading the dryer can cause more heat buildup in the machine which will cause unnecessary shrinking.
  4. Remove your chinos from the dryer immediately once they are done tumbling; this is particularly important if you live in a humid climate.
  5. If you have some time before wearing them again… lay them flat to air dry instead of hanging them up or folding them.

You may also be interested in. Why Are Leggings So Comfortable?