How to Shrink a Shirt

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Promo Expert

It's always fun to collect giveaways at an event, especially when you walk away with something new to wear. Think about it: who doesn’t get excited about a free t-shirt? But what if that shirt is way too big? How do you shrink a shirt? Don't worry! You can stop using that shirt as a quilt on your bed—we have ways to create a better fit!

It’s easy to shrink a 100% cotton t-shirt without breaking a sweat. All you need is a little water and time. From there, witness the magic as your free t-shirt goes from blanket status to your new favorite piece of clothing!

Shirts, Shirts, Shirts

When it comes to custom apparel, businesses need to order a variety of sizes to make sure everyone’s happy and comfortable. As a result, it’s possible to end up with too many extra-large t-shirts. Even if they use our handy shirt size breakdown guide, they still might run out of smalls and mediums before the end of the event. But we’ve got some good news! If you end up with a shirt that’s one size too large, you can easily shrink it to a better fit!

How to Shrink a Shirt With and Without a Dryer

If your shirt is too large to wear, you can easily fix the problem with these simple and affordable options. You’ll need some hot water so make sure you don’t waste it all in the shower! Whether you prefer to use your washing machine or a pot in the kitchen, you can easily shrink your shirt by trying out either of these methods:

Boiled Water
1. Boil a large pot of water.

2. Once it’s boiling, remove from heat and put your shirt in the pot (the hotter the water means more shrinkage).

  • If you want your shirt to shrink roughly 1 to 2 sizes, put your shirt in immediately after you remove the pot from the burner.
  • If you want your shirt to shrink roughly 1/2 to 1 size, wait 5 minutes before placing the shirt in the water.
  • If you want your shirt to shrink roughly 1/4 to 1/2 size, wait 10-15 minutes before placing the shirt in the water.

3. Let the shirt soak in the water for 5 minutes or so (the longer the shirt is exposed to the hot water, the more it will shrink).

4. Drain the water and let the shirt cool off before handling it, leave the shirt in the pot to cool off before you handle the shirt.

5. Wring out the shirt and let it air dry.

Wash in Hot Water

1. Wash your shirt in your washer using the hottest water temperature.

2. Once the wash cycle is complete, put the shirt in the dryer and dry thoroughly using a medium-heat setting.

3. Once your shirt is dry, wear it with pride!.

Some Additional tips:

Add a cup of white vinegar to the water to keep colors from bleeding out. There will still be unavoidable color loss, so wash each garment to shrink separately. Also, wash multiple cotton garments you intend to shrink at once. Keep in mind, this does not work on all shirts — it works best with 100% cotton, some wool types, and cotton shirts that aren’t already pre-shrunk.

With a little bit of hot water, patience, and a can-do attitude, you can shrink your 100% cotton t-shirt to your heart’s delight! Simply follow the steps in either method and wear your custom t-shirt with pride everywhere you go. When it comes to shrinking shirts and finding solutions, we’ve got the process down to a tee!