Last Updated on November 18, 2023 by Sarah Keene
Do your leggings sag and too stretchy now? That’s what happens when they are old and worn out, too big for you, or not washed properly. But there are techniques you can use to shrink leggings right at home without buying specialized tools.
If you are desperate not to buy another set of leggings while the old ones are already loose, you can shrink them and will look new again! Like stretchy jeans, leggings are now ‘must-haves’ for most modern women (and some fashionable men) because of their versatility and fashionable looks.
But first, you must know the materials of your leggings before you shrink them. This article will teach you how to shrink leggings in the comfort of home without spending extra money with less time.
What Are The Materials For Leggings?
Today’s leggings are blends of materials such as polyester, cotton, nylon, Spandex, or Lycra. Each blend corresponds to different lifestyles and offers diverse stretchability.
Depending on how you would like to hug or fit your body, leggings are comfortable and versatile. You can wear them during workouts or as daily outerwear.
Just like any other garment, your leggings will reach their prime and may become saggy over time. But don’t worry! There are ways on how to shrink them!
Heat Is What You Need To Shrink Leggings
That’s right! Heat plays a major role in shrinking leggings and other thermal wear on your closet. You only ought to know how heat is properly applied to your leggings without damaging the fabric.
You can shrink your leggings by using common household appliances, such as a washing machine, an electric iron, and other stuff. But first of all, know the materials or blends of your leggings.
You can do this by taking a look at your leggings’ product label. Once you know the material blend of your leggings, you are now ready to shrink them and make them fit your body snugly again!
How To Shrink Polyester Leggings
Polyester needs higher heat to shrink as it is a synthetic material that is durable, fade and wrinkle-resistant, and lasts longer than other fabric. For stretchy leggings, polyester is commonly blended with elastic Spandex.
These combined materials need several runs (about 5-10 cycles) in the washing machine with temperatures ranging from 155 to 178F (68 to 81C). Use a small amount of water when washing to easily increase the temperature.
Once you are done washing, put the leggings in a washable bag or pillowcase before drying them in the dryer. Then, dry the leggings on high heat for about eight minutes. Let the leggings air dry on a flat surface (do not hang them).
How To Shrink Lululemon Leggings
Lululemon leggings are proprietary blends of nylon and Lycra called “luon” fabric. The cloth is 86% nylon and 14% Lycra. Furthermore, most Lululemon leggings are pre-shrunk. The high concentration of Lycra on Lulu leggings makes it more durable from sagging.
In this sense, the Lululemon legging manufacturer recommends not to shrink the pants, instead, buy the right size and fit.
How To Shrink Spandex Leggings
Spandex alone can withstand heat up to 104F (40C) during washing. This elastic is used in leggings in combination with other fabric (such as nylon, cotton, polyester, or rayon) making it withstands much higher temperatures.
Additionally, Spandex does not shrink at this temperature (40C): you have to use the hottest setting of your machine to shrink the garments. If your machine has the “heavy-duty” setting, use it, and run it in a full cycle.
To dry the leggings, place them in a pillowcase to avoid the pants from stretching further before you put them on the dryer. Set the dryer to the highest (hot) setting and the longest cycle.
After the cycle is done, wait for about 15 minutes before you take out the leggings, so it is cooler to handle. You can fit the leggings when they are cooled. Repeat the process if the desired shrinkage is not attained.
How To Shrink Gymshark Leggings
Most Gymshark leggings contain 5% to 33% elastane (in combination with nylon and polyester), depending on the style. The best way to shrink Gymshark leggings is to wash them in the washing machine at the hottest water setting.
Moreover, turn the leggings inside out, and put them inside a laundry bag before washing. Set the machine in a full cycle. Then, dry them in the dryer (also, at the highest setting), but still inside the laundry bag.
How To Shrink Nylon Leggings
Shrinking nylon is similar to shrinking polyester. However, nylon is also a synthetic material that does not shrink easily compared to cotton. You can shrink nylon in a washing machine, like polyester, or by using an electric iron.
If you don’t have much time for full wash-and-dry activity, the best thing to use is the electric iron. The process is shorter, so you don’t have to spend much time if you are busy with work or other chores.
When using an electric iron, don’t use steam. Instead, sprinkle the leggings with water mist, then, cover them with a clean cloth to prevent overheating that may damage the fabric.
Set the iron into medium heat, then, move it around the leggings while applying pressure. The heat and friction will eventually shrink the leggings into your desired fit.
How To Shrink Nike Leggings
Most Nike leggings (such as Pro & Dri-Fit) have 17% elastane (mostly Spandex) combined with polyester. You can shrink these leggings using your washing machine.
Just like other pants with Spandex, turn the fabric inside out and wash it with hot water. The hotter the water, the bigger the volume of shrinkage you can get. You can use detergent if you want if the leggings are dirty.
The detergent won’t interfere with the shrinking process. After making a full cycle on the wash, dry the leggings on high heat for about 10 minutes. Then, let it air dry on a flat surface.
Some Legging Hacks For Your Legging Problems:
1. Can you shrink leggings in the wash?
As we have discussed above, most leggings have elastane (Spandex & Lycra) combined with other materials such as polyester, nylon, cotton, and rayon. Yes, they can be shrunk in the wash with hot water and low water cycle but with different duration.
The cotton fabric takes longer in shrinking because it is a natural fiber that is breathable and soft. But when combined with synthetic fiber, such as polyester, the shrinking process takes a little faster.
The quickest to shrink are polyester and nylon because they are plastic compounds that are lighter when made into the fabric.
2. How do you fix leggings that are too big in your waist?
If your leggings lose their waistband fit but the hips and leg stretch are still in perfect shape, we got you covered!
This trick will probably take you less than five minutes to do. Get a pair of scissors, an elastic waistband, and a big safety pin.
Here are the steps in fixing a sagging waistband:
- Turn the leggings inside out.
- Slit a little hole on the inside front of the legging waist using scissors.
- Separate the fabric from the other layer of the waistband.
- Measure the elastic band around your waist.
- Be sure that it covers the waistline and you can tie it easily.
- Put the safety pin at one end of the elastic band.
- Insert the safety pin into the slit and feed through the legging waist until it reaches the other end.
- You can now try the leggings and tie them the way you want them to be.
For detailed instruction on how to fix leggings with loose waistband, watch here:
3. How do you shrink pants that are too big?
If you don’t have time (or knowledge) to cut and sew pants that are now too big, you can boil them! Yes, you heard it right!
Boil your pants in a large pot for about 20 to 30 minutes, but be careful handling boiling water as this may burn your skin. After boiling your pants, dry them in the hot dryer. Let the pants lie on a flat surface after drying to keep the shrinking process more effective.
There are several ways of shrinking your leggings at home, so you can still use them comfortably. With this new knowledge in mind, you can save a lot of money by utilizing old but reusable leggings until they totally wear out.