Do Carhartt Jackets Shrink? – You Should Need to Know


If you are someone who loves wearing jackets everywhere, no matter if it’s your office or an event, then you for sure have heard of the brand of Carhartt. They are one of the most famous brands for making heavy clothing like jackets. They are known for their rugged design and heavy materials.

Have you ever felt like your jacket shrunk a bit as a Carhartt jacket user? And now, are you confused on whether you have grown bigger or do Carhartt jackets shrink? Today, in this article, we will be answering that question for you. So let us continue ahead.

Do Carhartt Jackets Shrink?

do carhartt jackets shrink

Carhartt has several types of coats and jackets that they sell. However, most of them are 100% cotton. Even though not all of them have the same materials, some may have nylon or a fabric blend. So, whether it shrinks on not depends from fabric to fabric.

As for the Carhartt 100% cotton jackets/coats, you can expect it to shrink over time. However, the shrinking is minimal and, in most cases, does not affect the size you are wearing. It is very normal and expected that after a wash or few, the cotton fabric shrinks a bit.

So to answer your question in simple terms, Carhartt coats do shrink a bit. The company advises people to buy or order a size above their actual size to counter this problem. So that shrinking won’t affect how long you will be able to use the jacket.

To What Size Does A Carhartt Jacket Shrink?

To What Size Does A Carhartt Jacket Shrink

To give you a clear example of how much your Carhartt Jacket may shrink, we will use Carhartt’s J140 jacket as a prop as it gets made out of 100% cotton. 

After a few uses and washes, the jacket did shrink a bit. If we keep the old J140 above a new one, the shrunken size is minimal. One thing to add would be that the arms did shrink a bit. If the arms were tight for you before you washed the jacket, it might be hard to wear now.

Moving on, after the wash, the waist of the Carhartt jacket did slim up a bit. However, many users have claimed the shrink was minimal and hard to notice. Furthermore, they said the shrinking didn’t change their user experience.

How Do I Stop My Carhartt Jacket From Shrinking?

How Do I Stop My Carhartt Jacket From Shrinking

It can be rather painful if your Carhartt jacket shrinks to an unusable point, especially if you paid a lot of money. So here are some tips and tricks to stop your Carhartt Jacket from shrinking.

  • Take Proper Care

It is the first and obvious step to stop your Carhartt jacket from shrinking. Usually, there is a list of instructions given on the tag of your jacket to aid you in preventing it from shrinking.

Furthermore, how you store in and what place also plays a part in it.

  • Choose A Different Fabric                                 

Well, other than measures on taking care of your jacket, what fabric your jacket has in it plays a crucial role in its shrinking. As mentioned above, 100% cotton Carhartt jacket does shrink a little.

So if you are looking for something that does not shrink at all, Carhartt does have a variety of jackets and coats made out of different fabric blends. They also have options like a nylon duck jacket.

We recommend considering two fabrics when buying a jacket to avoid shrinking.

  • Cordura Nylon: It is a 1000 denier nylon that is very durable and is capable of bearing harsh conditions and work sites. Carhartt J133 is a jacket made out of Cordura nylon fabric. It is a good option if you are worried about the 100% cotton jacket shrinking.
  • Quick Duck: This is a special fabric blend Carhartt uses to make jackets lighter than normal duck fabric. It gets made while keeping the shrinking problem in mind, so it is less likely that buying a Carhartt jacket made out of quick duck will shrink on you.

Here Are Top 5 Carhartt Jacket We Recommend;

Model NameDescription
J133Yukon Arctic Quilt Lined Active Jacket
J131Big & Tall Thermal Lined Duck Active Hooded Jacket
C61 sandstoneRidge Sherpa Coat
J162Shoreline jacket in breathable waterproof nylon
C26Traditional Coat in sandstone

Do Carhartt Jackets Break In?

Carhartts is often made with heavy cotton canvas material to provide a heavy, durable and warm jacket. It may result in them being stiff or hard.

Nevertheless, most Carhartt jackets do break in naturally after a few uses, but if you want to soften your jacket quicker, there are several ways to do it, like washing it.

Ways To Soften Your Carhartt Jacket

Ways To Soften Your Carhartt Jacket

Despite it being warm and long-lasting, Carhartt jackets can be a bit stiff. To get a comfier experience, you can break them in. Breaking in a Carhartt jacket is very easy if it is softened up beforehand.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to soften your Carhartt jacket.

  • To start, close all the zippers, hooks, and snaps on your Carhartt jacket. Then proceed by placing the jacket into the washer by itself. Make sure to set your washer to its smallest capacity setting. The jacket can shrink, so use a cold wash setting and cold rise.
  • Now, pour a cup of plain white vinegar into the water. Start your machine and wait until it reaches the agitation cycle. Let it run, stop your washing machine off, and let the jacket soak in the water for a few hours. The vinegar in the water will help soften up the fabrics without damaging them.
  • After a few hours have passed, restart your washer and allow it to finish the rinsing cycle. If you smell traces of vinegar on your jacket, run an extra cycle of rinsing. Remember not to add any sort of washing powder, detergent, bleach, or fabric softener, as they may alter the properties of the canvas in your jacket.
  • It’s time to move your jacket to the dryer. Set your dryer to a low heat fluff cycle, and let it dry. If you are worried that your jacket may shrink even more, you can hang it in a well-ventilated area. Make sure you dry it thoroughly before putting it on, so avoid unusual shapes.
  • Lastly, when dried, put it on to check its softness. If you think it is still too stiff, put your jacket into the dryer with a clean tennis shoe. And repeat the drying cycling. Do not worry the jacket will not shrink as it has completely dried, and the tennies shoe will bounce around press the stiff parts of your jacket. It will become soft; you may repeat the process as many times as you want until you reach the desired softness.


  • Can you put Carhartt jackets in the dryer?

Yes, you can, but make sure you put it in a low heat setting. High heat may ruin the fabric, and too low heat may result in your Carhartt jacket remaining wet. Make sure not to tumble dry your Carhartt jackets.

To keep the flame retardant properties of your Carhartt jacket, follow these steps: Put your washing machine temperature below 70°C(160°F), and do not use bleach, plasticizer, or starch.

  • Will a Carhartt jacket shrink in the dryer?

Whether it will shrink or not depends upon the fabric. If your Carhartt jacket is 100% cotton, there is a chance it may shrink a little. However, if the jacket is pre-washed, the odds of it shrinking are low. As mentioned above, even if it shrinks, it is very minimal and hard to notice.

  • Is It Okay To Wax My Carhartt Coat?

It is completely okay to wax your Carhartt coat. We recommend using Otter Wax. You can melt the wax using a butter warmer or microwave. When it is completely liquid, you can apply it.

Make sure you put your jacket or coat on a flat surface beforehand.

  • How Long Do Carhartt Jackets Last?

Carhartt is known for making lost-lasting jackets. Their jackets usually last for 15 years or more if kept under proper condition and care. Even if you put it under challenging conditions and stress, it should still last you a while.

In A Nutshell

We hope your confusion about do Carhartt jackets shrink got cleared. For most fabrics, shrinking is inevitable. However, in most cases, it is too minimal even to notice.

Yet as mentioned above, you can take measures to minimize or stop the shrinking, or it will be wiser to choose jackets made out of material that doesn’t shrink. To conclude, we hope our article helped to clear your confusion.

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