Do Levi Jeans Shrink After Washing?

Do Levi Jeans Shrink After Washing? At the Levi denim brand, they make it a point of duty to have most of their jeans preshrunk. With this in place, the possibility of the jeans shrinking even after washing would be very low.

Levi jeans are very true to size. Therefore, it is advised that you get your exact size and not buying a size bigger with the hope that they would shrink back down to size; this they rarely do.

However, if you are buying from the ‘shrink to fit collection,’ you can be sure that they will shrink after washing. As the name implies, these sets of jeans are made with raw denim and had no pre-shrinking whatsoever, done on them during the production stage. 

So, lovers of shrink jeans, do well to watch out for jeans made with the shrink-to-fit denim. With them, you can get one size up and be sure that they will shrink back down to you size whenever you want.

How much does the Levi shrink to fit shrink?


Okay, if you are a newbie to jeans made with unsanforized denim, you might get a little confused about the size to buy and how to go about shrinking them down to fit.

With the Levi shrink to fit, you are likely to have the waist shrink down like 2 inches or thereabout, while the length can shrink more than that, say like 3 inches more.

It is possible to have the waist stretch back out again but, the same cannot be said of the inseam. To be on a safe side, stick to buying Levi jeans that are fit to size or get just a size bigger in the “shrink to fit” ones if you must.

How to shrink to fit Levi 501 STF jeans

It is possible to shrink down the Levi 501 as they are not preshrunk so, post shrinkage is highly possible. But to do that, you need to know the exact procedures you need to follow. Find the methods below:

Firstly have your jean pants soaked in very hot water. Make sure the water is sufficient enough to have the jeans fully immersed. They might be likely to float to the top but, have them pinned down with some object and leave them soaked for about an hour.

Once you are done soaking, get the jeans out and leave the water to drip out. This is what we call ‘drip drying’. As the water drips off, make sure it does not come in contact with other fabrics as it is likely to have them stained. Leave them hanged to drip dry for another hour.

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The next step is what we call the art of towel drying. How do you dry with a towel? Simply place a big towel on a flat surface like a clean floor, for instance, spread jeans on top of it and use another towel to dry it. You can use your hands to vigorously dab with the towel or, spread the towel over it and match around it.

Turn jeans to the other side after a while and repeat the same process over again. When the towel is done soaking up a significant amount of the liquid in the jeans, have them worn till it dries completely.

Okay, I know this is not 100% hygienic. You can absolutely have them line dried if you want but, the reason why it is advised to have them worn till they dry is so that the jeans can have the chance to perfectly shrink to your body.

You should know that the shrinking magic happens as the fabric dries off so, wearing it till it dries makes you achieve a perfect fit.

Because some of these denims are thick, it might take a while for them to get dried completely. But, as you patiently wait, see that you do not seat on that nice couch you have in the living room or lie down on the soft comfy bed as you do not want to see them stained.

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Do Levi jeans shrink in the dryer?

If you get a preshrunk jeans, you are likely to find on the care tag, an instruction that states how to go about washing and drying them to maintain that preshrunk quality.

This is because; there is a high possibility for any brand of jeans including Levi, to shrink when dried on a very hot setting in the dryer.

Denim fabrics do not fare well when exposed to extreme heat. It may shrink the fibers or even have them permanently damaged. This is why it is advised not to use hot water in washing your jeans too. All in all, a preshrunk jean is not likely to shrink as much as the others even in the dryer.

How much will jeans shrink?

Expect a 4% level of shrinkage on your jeans on areas that are highly susceptible to strain and tension. Other areas that do not face too much tension like the width for instance, are not likely to shrink.  

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As a rule, the bulk of the percentage of shrink occurs mostly during the first wash. Subsequent shrinkage upon your next washes is what is known as ‘progressive shrinkage.’ They shrink very little that it is almost insignificant.

All in all, the level of shrink your jeans would be able to undergo should be exhausted upon the fifth wash. Something must be fundamentally wrong for a jean to experience more than 5% level of shrinkage. 

How to avoid your jeans shrinking

Proper care of your jeans would see them staying fit for as long as you have them. Some of the acceptable ways to treat your denims include the following:

Wash jeans in cold water only

This should be considered as the golden rule. Your jean fibers are not hot water friendly. As a matter of fact, it is considered to be one of the easiest ways to have them shrink.

Washing in cold water not only prevents your jean from shrinking, it also preserves the colour base of the denim thereby stopping the jeans from bleeding too.

Dry under medium or low heat

Drying under very hot settings should be discouraged for obvious reasons. When it comes to your jeans, natural drying under a very cool shade outside is often the best.

If you must use a dryer, have it set to run on medium or better still, low heat.  It might take a while to get completely dried, but it is totally worth it as your jeans are guaranteed to be safe.

To totally avoid all of this processes, simply go for jeans that are certified to be preshrunk. These set of jeans might shrink still if you do not adhere to the stipulated ways of caring for them  but, the good thing is that they would not be able to shrink higher than just a percent so, you are sure they will remain fit to size.

You can know jeans that are preshrunk by looking at the labeling claims. The information is likely to be contained there or on the care tag.


What does sanforized denim mean?

Sanforized denims are those that have undergone the pre shrinking process during the stage of production. This process sees to a reduction of future shrinkage and it has been on since the 1920’s so, you can be sure that they have been proven to be effective.

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A jean that does not go through this process will experience a level of shrinkage as high as 10% whereas; you cannot get more that 1% shrinkage from a preshrunk jean.

What does the term ‘relaxation shrinkage’ mean?

In the course of the production of denim, there is a process where fibers are spun and interwoven into yarns. During this process, we see the yarns and fabrics undergoing a lot of tension.

This tension later eases off as soon as the fabric encounters water. This moment of ease that they enjoy when wet, makes them relaxed enough to be easily manipulated to shrink.

This is the reason why you would experience jeans that feels tight around the waist, feel slightly loose a few minutes after you get them washed and worn again.

Do Levi Jeans Shrink After Washing – Conclusion

We all have different preferences. Some people like their jeans fit to their body like a second skin, others prefer them a bit loose while we still have others that love it when it is excessively loose.

The majority of the brands in the denim world with the Levi brand inclusive have provisions for their diverse customers to get their preferred jean style.

This is why we have the preshrunk jean for consumers that love their jeans fit to size. With this jean, they just need to get their exact size and be assured that the jeans would not shrink and become too tight.

Their confidence stems from the fact that preshrunk jeans cannot shrink more than a percent and that too will only happen if you are negligent.

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