To shrink pants, wash and dry them on high heat settings, checking them along the way for sizing. If more shrinking is necessary, wash and partially dry the pants, and then apply a hot iron to shrink the fabric.
- Check the label
Plan your process according to the material. For never-washed cotton or wool pants, plan to move cautiously. For polyester, nylon or pre-washed pants, plan on several washings. Do not attempt to shrink silk or leather.
- Wash the pants
Wash the pants in hot water. Use a gentle soap. This method is appropriate for any material except new cotton or wool that needs just a little shrinking. In that case, wash in medium water.
- Start drying on medium heat
Place the pants in the dryer on a medium heat setting. Keep the pants in the dryer until they are partially dry, and then check the size. If they need a considerable amount more shrinking, switch to a high heat setting. For polyester, nylon or pre-washed pants, start with high heat.
- Dry until the pants are the right size
Keep checking the pants until they are the right size or until they are completely dry. If the pants dry completely but are still too large, wet them again in hot water. It is not necessary to use soap the second time.
- Dry the pants again
Place the pants in the dryer on a high heat setting. Keep them inside until they are most of the way dry
- Iron damp pants
Place the pants on an ironing board, but be careful not to stretch them out. Use a hot iron on the pants without pulling the fabric taut. Once the pants are the right size, finish drying them in the high-heat dryer.