How to Effortlessly Shrink Gym Shorts: A Quick Guide for the Perfect Fit!

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Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you absolutely love a pair of shorts, but they just don't fit quite right? Whether they're too loose around the waist or too long for your liking, ill-fitting shorts can be a real fashion struggle. But fear not, because we have the perfect solution for you!

First, A Disclaimer

At LYFTLYFE, we encourage you to try to find the right fit from the start. LYFTLYFE shorts are high-performance apparel and can degrade if exposed to extreme heat or stress.

If your LYFTLYFE shorts don’t “fit” your expectations, we’d be happy to help you find the right ones!

Contact us through one of our many channels and we’ll do our best to get you in the right gym shorts.

Types of Fabrics That Can Shrink

  • Cotton - Cotton shrinks easily, especially when washed in hot water and dried at a high heat. This natural fiber will shrink up nicely. Pre-shrunk cotton will be less responsive to this method, but still shrinks a bit.
  • Polyester - Synthetic polyester can shrink 1-5% when treated with hot water. It may take a few washings.
  • Spandex - Spandex has stretching properties but can be shrunk with heat. It takes high temperatures. This is not recommended because the extreme heat will also shorten the lifespan of the fabric.
  • Rayon - Rayon made from cellulose will shrink when subjected to heat methods. Rayon fibers are very sensitive to heat so they can shrink quite easily even without extreme heat.
  • Wool - Wool shrinks readily when agitated and exposed to high heat. Use caution with wool items since wool items aren’t as tightly woven so they may loose structural integrity with repeated hot washing and drying.

What Types of Shorts WILL NOT SHRINK

  • Nylon - Shorts made of nylon will likely not shrink when washed. This synthetic is resistant to heat.
  • Polypropylene - This moisture-wicking synthetic fabric remains intact when washed and dried. It will not shrink.
  • Neoprene - Neoprene is a thick, rubbery material. It will maintain its shape and not shrink.
  • Lycra - Lycra is a stretchy, synthetic spandex fabric. It will stretch back to shape and not shrink.

What You Will Need

In order to successfully shrink your shorts, there are a few essential items you'll need to have on hand.

Firstly, you'll require hot water, which will provide the necessary heat to initiate the shrinkage process. The level of heat you need is contingent on the fabric type of your shorts.

Secondly, you'll need access to a high-heat source. This is typically the highest heat setting on your clothes dryer, which will help in further shrinking the shorts.

A measuring tape is another critical tool in this process. It will allow you to accurately monitor the shrinking progress of your shorts. If you're aiming to target specific areas of your shorts like the waistband, consider having pins, clips, or ties at your disposal.

Additionally, fabric softener is a handy item to include in your shrinking kit. Its ability to relax the fibers in the fabric can be a great help in achieving your desired fit.

The core tools you will need are, of course, a washing machine and a clothes dryer. These appliances will be used for hot wash cycles and high heat drying cycles, which are the central actions in the shrinking process

Step-by-Step Instructions

Wash in hot water

Wash your shorts in the hottest water possible for the fabric. Hot water helps shrink materials. Wash the clothes without detergent first as this will help relax the fibers.

Dry on high heat

After washing, dry the shorts on the highest heat setting your fabric allows. High heat will help shrink the shorts.

Soak in hot water

Prior to washing, you can soak the shorts in hot water to help shrink them. Let them soak for 30 minutes or more.

Add fabric softener

Liquid fabric softener added during the wash cycle can sometimes aid in shrinking. The chemicals in it allow fibers to relax and tighten up.

Wash and dry multiple times

For maximum shrinkage, wash and dry your shorts 2-3 times. Repeated hot water washes and dryer cycles will help them continue to shrink.

Target the waistband

If the waist is loose, focus on shrinking the waistband area only by pinning and tying it before washing.

Use a warmer dryer setting

Take shorts out of the dryer while still slightly damp and put them back in for another hot cycle. When they’re entirely dry, fold your shorts and store them as you normally would. The fibers will stiffen up as they cool and will remain shrunken.

What to Consider Before You Shrink

Make Sure You Know What The Shorts Are Made Of

It's important to check the fabric content before attempting to shrink shorts. Natural fibers like cotton and wool will shrink more quickly than synthetics like polyester. Refer to the list of shrinkable fabrics above.

There’s Only So Much That a Fabric Can Shrink.

While shrinking helps adjust sizing, there is a limit to how much the fabric will shrink. Stretchy fabrics will likely bounce back to their original size. Repeated shrinking can damage fabrics.

There's No Going Back

Shrinking is permanent, so make sure you are happy with the shortened length and tighter fit. You can't reverse shrinking after it's done. Buyers remorse won't bring them back to the original size.


Adjusting the size of loose or long shorts is easy with just a few laundry techniques. Check the fabric content first and then expose the material to hot water washes and high heat drying to shrink shorts for a custom fit. With a little patience, you can effortlessly shrink shorts for comfy, stylish wear all season long.

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