3 Easy Ways To Shrink A Carhartt Jacket

  • By: Tiffany Peris
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Carhartt jackets are loved for their rugged looks and their sturdiness. If your Carhartt jacket is loose or it appears stretched out, you can shrink the jacket on your own.  

Carhartt jackets shrink since they are made from Duck and Sandstone Duck fabrics which are 100% cotton. Thus, as the cotton fibers of the jacket are subjected to heat, the fibers relax, resulting in the Carhartt jacket shrinking.

The methods to shrink Carhartt jackets include using a washing machine, hot water, and a professional tailor’s services to alter the Carhartt jacket. For Carhartt jackets with pre-wash, the shrinking size will be minimal. However, for Carhartt jackets that are not pre-wash, you will be able to achieve a shrinkage between 3% – and 5%.

Method 1: Using A Washing Machine to Shrink A Carhartt Jacket

What You Need

Normal washing machine

Cloth dryer

Step 1: Check The Tag Of Your Carhartt Jacket

Check the tag of your Carhartt jacket to make sure that the jacket is indeed machine safe.

It is important to note that, even if duck and sandstone duck materials used to make the Carhartt jacket are cotton and durable, sandstone material is known to be ‘broken’ when it goes through the washing cycle.

You should proceed to the next step if the tag of your Carhartt jacket states that the jacket is safe for machine wash.

Step 2: Put The Carhartt Jacket In The Washing Machine

Once you have confirmed that the jacket is machine safe, put the jacket in the washing machine. It is also essential that you make sure there are no other clothes in the washing machine as they could ruin the jacket or the jacket would ruin them.

Step 3: Set The Washing Machine To The Warm Water Setting And Turn It On

We will not use any detergent when shrinking the Carhartt jacket with a washing machine since we are only shrinking the jacket and not washing it.

Set the water to the warm temperature setting and switch on the machine. Let the machine complete the wash cycle.

Step 4: Inspect The Carhartt Jacket And Find The Extent To Which It Has Shrunk

After the wash cycle is completed, take the Carhartt jacket out of the washing machine and hold the jacket close to your body to find out whether it has shrunk the size you wanted.

If you find that the Carhartt jacket has not shrunk to the fit that you wanted, put the jacket back into the washing machine and repeat the wash cycle.

If you are not sure whether the size the jacket has shrunk is fine, you can wait for the Carhartt jacket to dry and try it on.

When you wash the jacket in the washing machine two times, and you cannot see any changes to the size of your Carhartt jacket, I recommend that you try another method of shrinking the Carhartt jacket.

Step 4: Dry Carhartt Jacket If The Shrink Size Is Fine

If you are happy with the shrinking size, you will then hang the jacket so that it can dry. Before hanging the jacket, make sure that you squeeze out any excess water on the jacket.

Even if you can use a dryer, the best option to dry the Carhartt jacket is to hang it since it cannot shrink any further when you hang it.

Step 5: Put The Carhartt Jacket On The Dryer

You only need to use this step if you realize that you want to shrink your jacket further after shrinking it in the washing machine. Otherwise, if you are happy with the shrinking size achieved by washing the jacket in the washing machine, you will not need to put the jacket in the washing machine.  

If you need the Carhartt jacket to shrink further, you will put it in the dryer and set the dryer to the lowest heat setting available. Then, please take out the Carhartt jacket once the cycle is over and try it on.

The dryer must be set at the lowest temperature available. If you subject your Carhartt jacket to high temperatures, there is a high chance that the jacket will lose some of its thermal protection aspects.

Method 2: Using Hot Water To Shrink A Carhartt Jacket

What You Need

Large plastic bin


Big pan or pot

Stove/cooker to warm water

Step 1: Use Stove/ Cooker To Warm The Water

Put water in the pan or pot. Place the pan on the stove and turn the burner to its highest temperature setting. Leave the water on the stove until it’s warm.

Step 2: Pour Warm Water In The Large Plastic Bin

You will now pour the warm water into the large plastic bin. It is essential that you make sure the water is warm and has not reached the boiling point. Also, the bin needs to be big enough so that the jacket can be fully immersed in the warm water.

Step 3:  Put The Carhartt Jacket In The Warm Water

Take your Carhartt jacket and put it in the warm water. Ensure that the jacket is fully immersed in the water. Leave the jacket in warm water for about 10 minutes.

Step 4: Remove Carhartt Jacket From The Warm Water

You will carefully remove the Carhartt jacket from the plastic bin with warm water. Make sure that you squeeze out all the extra water from the jacket against the walls of the plastic bin.

Step 5: Use A Dryer To Dry Carhartt Jackett or Hang It In The Cloth Line

After wringing out water in the jacket, you can dry the jacket with a dryer or hang it to the cloth line.

If you opt to use a dryer, set it to the lowest temperature. If you are not sure whether you have achieved the shrinking size you wanted, you should hang-dry your jacket.

Once the jacket is dry, try it on, and if you find that you still need to shrink it further, you can repeat the process.

Method 3: Using A Tailor To Alter Your Carhartt Jacket

Step 1: Identify A Tailor Who Is Capable Of Altering The Jacket

In this method, you will enlist the services of a professional tailor who is capable of altering your Carhartt jacket.

You can search online for tailors to alter the jacket or ask friends and relatives to recommend tailors capable of professionally altering the jacket.

Step 2 : Take The Carhartt Jacket To The Tailor

Once you have found a tailor, you will take the jacket to the tailor.

You must take the jacket to the tailor so that the tailor can take the correct measurement.

Agree on a fee with the tailor and then on the date when the jacket will be picked up or delivered to your location.

Step 3: Pick up The Altered Jacket And Try It On

After the tailor finishes altering your Carhartt jacket, you will collect it from the tailor and try it on.

If you try on the jacket and find that some modifications are still needed, you should not hesitate to ask the tailor to make those changes. Tailors are well experienced and will gladly attend to your request to further alter the Carhartt jacket.

How Much Do Carhartt Jacket Shrink?

As Carhartt jackets are made of cotton fabric, these jackets can shrink on purpose. However, it is essential to note that Carhartt jackets with pre-wash have minimal shrinking, while those with no pre-wash can shrink between 3% and 5%.

How To Wash A Carhartt Jacket  

You can wash your Carhartt jacket with a washing machine. However, to ensure that you don’t ruin the jacket by destroying the jacket’s thermal protective properties, you must make sure that you only wash the jacket at machine wash temperatures that are not more than 1400 F or 600 C.

Moreover, you should never use softeners, chlorine bleach, or hydrogen peroxide. Finally, if using a dryer to dry the jacket, you should dry the jacket at the dryer’s lowest temperature.

How Can I Soften My Carhartt Jacket?

If your Carhartt Jacket is stiff, you can use your dryer to make it soft. Put the jacket inside the dryer and put clean rubber shoes in the dryer. Set your dryer to a low-temperature cycle and turn it on.

The clean rubber shoes in the washing machine will bounce on the jacket throughout the cycle. The rubber shoes will pressure the thread of the jacket’s fabric by bouncing, thus making the jacket soft. It is important to note that the Carhartt jacket will not shrink even if it is in the dryer since the jacket will already be dry.

Final Remarks

You can shrink a Carhartt jacket on purpose if your jacket is either stretched out or loose. If you don’t want to shrink the jacket, take the jacket to the tailor and have it altered. Moreover, when buying the Carhartt jacket, I recommend you always buy the correct size so that you don’t have to be bothered with how to shrink it.