Do Levi Jeans Shrink After Washing – All You Need to Know

Being a messy eater myself, I often spill food or drinks on my Levi jeans. People often suggest that I wash them, but I always wonder, do Levi jeans shrink after washing?

The answer is it might shrink but not completely as most Levi jeans are preshrunk. But the shape and size of these pants usually change with every wear and wash. So, you should avoid buying too tight Levi. Furthermore, incorrect washing methods may also lead to shrinking more than usual.

Continue reading to know every tit and bit about Levi jeans – whether they shrink or not after washing and how to wash them correctly.

Do Levi Jeans Shrink After Washing?

Do Levi Jeans Shrink After Washing

All jeans do shrink a bit after washing. You may not notice it if your jeans were a size bigger than you when you bought them.

Usually, a pair of raw denim jeans typically shrink 7-10% after the first wash. It changes its shape and size as you wear it and wash it more.

It happens because as the fabric gets wet, it weighs everything down. It leads to the fabrics shrinking. So, it is crucial to make sure you don’t buy too tight raw denim jeans, or else after the first wash, they will be unwearable.

However, the jeans will likely only shrink about 1% after sanforization.

So it is very crucial to calculate the right size before buying Levi jeans. Levi’s 501 shrink calculator has three main techniques to determine the correct size of jeans you should buy.

After thorough research by the Levi experts, the method considers one size smaller on the waist and length. It is because when washed, it will shrink a size smaller. So buying a size bigger solves this issue.

Ways to Wash Levi Jeans Without Shrinking

Ways to Wash Levi Jeans Without Shrinking

Jeans being a staple item in everyone’s closet, it requires to be washed every now and then. But most people worry about the whole shrinkage thing leading them to buy a new pair of jeans.

Here are some ways to wash Levi jeans without them shrinking too much.

  • Read the Label

Most often than not, Levi jeans have a label attached to them with washing instructions. Check the instructions that are specific for your jeans to ensure minimal shrinkage. You can find the label on the back of the waist or near a pocket.

  • Inside Out

Turning your jeans inside out is another great way to ensure minimal shrinkage. It is because turning it inside out protects your denim fiber and also cleans the dirtiest parts.

To turn it inside out, grab your jeans, put your hand inside one of the legs, and pull it out. Repeat the process to get both legs inside out.

Cold Water And A Gentle Wash

Cold Water And A Gentle Wash

Using cold water is the safest way to wash your Levi jeans, as hot water makes denim shrink instantly. Moreover, intense wash or spinning will also shrink your denim jeans. So the best way to wash them is to use cold water and a mild detergent that does not have bleach.

Then gently rub and wash it or give a slow spinning cycle on your washing machine. If you don’t have a mild detergent, you can also use 2 or 3 tablespoons of vinegar.

  • Air Dry

It is the best way to dry your Levi jeans, as throwing them inside a dryer is almost guaranteed to make them shrink due to the hot air. So just hang it in a cold spot and let it sit for a day. It should be enough to dry your denim without it shrinking. You can use Tide Free & Gentle Laundry Detergent for minimal shrinkage.

Do not worry if it’s a bit stiff after drying, as it is normal. The jeans will soften up after a few uses. Remember not to hang it directly under the sun as the heat would shrink the jeans and may cause them to fade faster.

  • Just Clean The Dirty Spots

It is another great way to clear your Levi jeans without shrinking them. If you have spilled something on it or there is a specific spot that is dirty, just dab a bit of warm water and detergent there. Then rub the area with a piece of cloth and wash it off.

However, if something like ink may smudge, just let the warm water and detergent solution sit there for a bit, then wipe it off. It should remove the stain.

Furthermore, you can also use Shout Laundry Stain Remover to remove larger stains. To do so, apply the stain remover on the spot and let it sit for at least 2 hours. Then proceed to rinse it off with cold water.

In contrast, if the stain is too old, you may require a full wash.

Trust me; by maintaining the correct washing methods, you can save the life of your Levi.

How To Shrink Levi Jeans

How To Shrink Levi Jeans

So far, we have talked about how to avoid the whole shrinkage of Levi jeans. However, what if you wrong size too much and it’s unwearable? How do you shrink it?

Even though how much your jeans will shrink depends on the jeans themselves and whether they are prewashed or not. But here are some ways you can shrink your Levi jeans

  • Hot Wash In The Washing Machine

It might be the easiest and simplest way to shrink your jeans.

Just toss your jeans into the washing machine and wash them in high heat. Once done washing, make sure to dry it in high heat. It leads to your jeans shrinking a size or two for sure.

  • In A BathTub

It may sound funny to you, but it is actually true. Jeans do shrink in a bathtub, but it takes a while.

Fill your bathtub with warm water; then, you need to put your jeans on and sit inside the bathtub for about 30 minutes minimum. It results in the jeans shrinking due to the hot water and conforming to your body perfectly.

However, you need to have the jeans on you while they dry for this trick to work. So, we recommend doing it on a warm day, so you don’t catch a cold. Furthermore, do ensure there is a proper place to sit. The reason is how you sit may also affect the shrinkage. 

  • Boiling Them

If you want your jeans to shrink down a lot in size, the best way is to boil them. Take a large pan and fill it in with water. Then soak the jeans inside the pan and start boiling it in high heat. Let it boil for at least an hour, and then hang dry.

  • Ironing It

Another way to easily shrink your jeans a bit is to iron it. It is effective if you need some areas to get a bit tighter.

First, dampen the areas you want to shrink and then iron that specific area till the jeans are dry. It will shrink that specific area giving you a perfect fit.

Go, See A Tailor

If you think none of these methods are convenient, you need to have your jeans shrunk. You can visit a specialized tailor provided by Levi. However, they are not globally present, but you should give them a visit if you can find one nearby.

They will custom size your jeans making them fit perfectly.

How Long Does Levi Jeans Last?

The answer to this question entirely depends on the usage. If you take care of your jeans properly and don’t damage the fabrics, they should last about 5-10 years. 


  • Do jeans get tighter after washing?

The answer is yes, they do. It is because washed, especially if with hot water, then the fabrics in the jeans shrink, leading to the jeans getting tighter in the waist and shorter in length. 

  • Can you shrink Levi jeans?

Yes, you can. The process is very simple just put it in a washing machine and wash it in high heat. Then proceed to dry it in high heat. It will result in your jeans shrinking for sure. If you do not have a washing machine available, you can also boil your jeans in hot water for 30 minutes to an hour to make Levi jeans shrink. 

  • Will Levis shrink in the dryer?

Levi jeans are most likely to shrink when tossed in the dried-on-high heat like any other jeans. However, if the jeans are preshrunk or prewashed, then the shrinkage may be minimum, and you won’t be able to notice it. To avoid this shrinkage, we recommend hanging drying your jeans.

  • Do Levi’s 501 shrink when washed?

Yes, they are most likely to shrink because Levi’s 501 is not sanforized. When a jean is sanforized, it shrinks only 1% when washed. However, it is likely to shrink up to 10% after the first wash.


Do Levi jeans shrink after washing? – is the question people often ask while buying the jeans or while washing them. So to summarize, yes, they do shrink when washed, but how much largely depends on how you wash it and whether it was preshrunk or not.

Most Levis are prewashed and sanforized. So, they usually shrink only 1%. However, those who aren’t may shrink 7-10%.

If your jeans were preshrunk or prewashed, then the shrinkage may be minimal when washed. So you can wash it without worry.

However, as non-prewashed jeans shrink a bit more, follow the right washing techniques we suggested above to minimize shrinkage.

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