Do Carhartt Shirts Shrink In Washer And Dryer – How To Unshrink Carhartt Shirt

  • By: Tiffany Peris
  • Time to read: 11 min.

We are all familiar with Carhartt. If you don’t have one, you know someone who has one, and you have at one point thought of buying one – right? So it’s good to understand Carhartt to take good care of your Carhartt clothing. For example, if you have an oversize Carhartt shirt, you will likely ask whether Carhartt shirts shrink.

If your Carhartt shirt is preshrunk, you will have negligible shrinkage. However, if the shirt is not preshrunk, the Carhartt shirt can shrink anything from 4 to 5%. You can shrink your Carhartt shirt with a washing machine and a dryer.

What Is Carhartt?

Carhartt is a fashion brand designed and made by Carhartt Inc., based in the US. The company was established in the year 1889. Over the years, Carhartt company has positioned itself as the ideal brand for blue-collar workers.

A few decades ago, many hip-hop artists started to wear Carhartt clothing and featured them in their videos. This helped create publicity for Carhartt and made it a cultural phenomenon that is now considered a working-class brand.

Even though Carhartt is a US company, Carhartt is mainly made in the United States and Mexico. Thus, not all Carhartt is made in the USA. Carhartt, made in the USA, has a ‘Made in USA’ tag. If you can’t find that tag in your Carhartt, it is most likely that your Carhartt was made in Mexico.

Some of the everyday Carhartt work clothes comprise; vests, jackets, overalls, dungarees, shirts, jeans, hats, and fire-resistant clothing. Carhartt clothes are popular in the US because they are made from quality material and are highly durable as they can be worn daily and last a long time.

In most Carhartt clothing products, the fabric material mainly used is a cotton canvas that is 100% cotton and a lightweight 9-ounce. However, for outerwear, Carhartt mainly used cotton duck fabric. The 100% cotton duck fabric is 12- ounces.

Most of the popular Carhartt shirts are made from 100% cotton fabric. The fabric is perfect for work-wear shirts since it is soft, durable, comfortable, and easy to maintain.

You can easily spot the Carhartt logo on different clothing products made by the company. The logo features a bright yellow figure with a wave on the top right side. The wave is meant to convey the message of innovation and advancement.

Do Carhartt Shirts Shrink?

For any fabric material, the content of fabric fiber, surplus moisture, and heat and tension on the fabric determine whether a fabric will shrink or not. For example, when the fiber of a material is highly resistant to heat, the clothes made from that fabric are likely to be resistant to shrinking. To determine whether the Carhartt shirt can shrink, we thus need to look at the cotton fabric fibers that make Carhartt shirts.

Cotton is a natural fabric that is made from cotton seeds. Cotton fibers shrink mainly due to relaxation after the fabric is exposed to high temperatures and moisture. During the spinning and weaving of cotton, a lot of tension is created on the cotton fibers as they are straightened, strained, pulled, and twisted.

When the fibers are exposed to heat and moisture, they relax to get back to their original position. This relaxation of the cotton fibers is what makes cotton shrink.

Since the Carhartt shirt is made with cotton fabric, the shirt will shrink when it comes into contact with heat. To shrink your Carhartt shirt, you can wash it in a washing machine with a high water temperature setting and then dry it with a dryer. Carhartt shirt can shrink anything between 2 – 5%.

As Carhartt shirts are preshrunk, you will find it hard to shrink your shirt if the shirt is new. However, as you wear and wash your shirt a couple of times, the preshrunk effect will decline, making it possible to shrink the shirt quickly.

If you don’t want to shrink your Carhartt shirt, you should make sure that you wash the shirt at the correct water temperatures. Carhartt’s shirt should be washed at temperatures that don’t surpass 140°F (60°C).

In addition, when washing your Carhartt shirt, you should never use softener, chlorine bleach, or hydrogen peroxide. If you use any of those substances, you will damage your Carhartt shirt.

Do Carhartt Shirts Shrink In The Washer?

Even though it is known that many fabrics shrink in a washer, that does not imply your Carhartt shirt will shrink once placed in the washer. Many factors will be crucial in shrinking your Carhartt shirt in the washer.

What Temperature Does Carhartt Shrink?

The temperature at which 100% cotton starts to shrink is the temperature you will require to shrink your Carhartt shirt. Therefore, the shirt can shrink when you wash your Carhartt shirt in the washing machine with a water temperature above 140°F (60°C).

If you are looking for a bigger shrink, you can use a higher water temperature and higher spin speed. In addition to that, your Carhartt shirt will shrink to a bigger size by using the most extended wash cycle.

If your Carhartt shirt has been preshrunk (this is common), shrinking a new Carhartt shirt might be a challenge. However, if you are patient enough, you will be able to shrink the shirt with your washing machine and dryer.

For preshrunk Carhartt shirt, you can use a water temperature of at least 165°F in the washing machine. It would help if you also used high spin speeds. The high-water temperature and high spin speeds will ensure that there is a lot of heat and agitation inside the washer. That heat and agitation will release the tension on cotton fibers resulting in the shirt shrinking.

To prevent your Carhartt shirt from shrinking in the washing machine, you should make sure that you wash the shirt at temperatures that don’t exceed 140°F (60°C). You should also set the spin speed between 900 – 1400 rpm. You can also select the cotton wash cycle in the washing machine and ensure that your Carhartt shirt will not shrink in the washer.

Do Carhartt Shirts Shrink In Dryer?

Heat is a crucial factor in shrinking any fabric. Since there is a lot of heat in the dryer, the Carhartt shirt can also shrink in the dryer. Even when you have not washed the Carhartt shirt before placing it in the dryer, the shirt can still shrink in the dryer.

However, for good shrink results, you should always place your Carhartt shirt in the dryer immediately after the shirt is from the washer (when it’s still damp).

Use a high heat setting in your dryer to get a good shrink. You, however, need to inspect the shirt every 15 minutes. If you leave the shirt in the dryer for a long time, you might over shrink the shirt.

To ensure that your Carhartt shirt will not shrink when in the dryer, you should use a delicate drying cycle. Alternatively, you can hang the shirt on a clothesline and leave it to air dry. Make sure that you hang the shirt away from the sun since if you hang it in direct sunlight, your shirt could be faded by sun.

Do Carhartt K87 Shirts Shrink?

Yes, Carhartt K87 shirts shrink. This is because the shirts are made from 100% heavyweight cotton, which is shrinkable. To shrink the K87 shirt, you can wash the shirt at a very high water temperature and use the hottest drying heat in the dryer.

Alternatively, you can also boil the K87 shirt in hot boiling water. K87 shirt can shrink 2 -5%. You will shrink the shirt by washing your Carhartt incorrectly (using boiling water).

How To Shrink Carhartt Shirt

To shrink your Carhartt shirt, there are three different methods that you can use. The methods are; washing and drying the Carhartt shirt in hot heat settings, boiling the Carhartt shirt in water, and using an iron to shrink the Carhartt shirt.

Method 1: Shrinking Carhartt Shirt With Hot Wash And Hot Dry Setting

What you will require

Washing machine.


Step 1: Read the care label of the Carhartt shirt

Even if we know that the Carhartt shirt is made of 100% cotton, it is always essential that you read the care label to confirm that the shirt is indeed made of 100% cotton. Knowing the shirt’s fabric is critical since the type of fabric will determine the heat temperature to use in both the washer and dryer.

Step 2: Place the Carhartt shirt in the washing machine

Place your Carhartt in the washing machine. Make sure you only have the Carhartt shirt in the machine since if you attempt to wash the Carhartt shirt together with other clothing, the high temperatures might make other fabrics in the machine bleed. If that were to happen, your Carhartt shirt would be damaged.

Moreover, if you place many clothes in the washing machine, the Carhartt shirt could receive minimal agitation, which would impact the outcome. Thus, only the shirt to be shrunk is in the washing machine.

Step 3: Set the water temperature of your washing machine and turn on the washing machine.

In your washing machine, set the water temperature of the wash and rinse cycles to hot. For shrinking to happen, cotton fibers will need to be relaxed. The heat from the hot temperature and the agitation will help trigger the relaxation of the cotton fibers.

If your Carhartt is dirty, you can wash it in this step by adding washing detergent. If it’s clean, then there is to need to add detergent.

Step 4: Place the Carhartt shirt in the dryer after the wash and rinse cycles are completed.

Once wash and rinse cycles are over, place your Carhartt shirt in the dryer.

Step 5: Set the dryer’s heat to the highest heat setting

Set your dryer’s setting to the highest heat setting and turn on the dryer. Halfway through the dry cycle, open the dryer and inspect whether the shrinking size you want is achieved. If not, return the shirt to the dryer and wait for the dry cycle to complete.

If the shrinking size you want is not what you got during the first shrinking attempt, you can repeat the process to shrink your Carhartt shirt further.

Method 2: Shrinking Carhartt shirt by boiling in hot water

What you need

Big pot – large enough to submerge your Carhartt shirt.

Wooded spoon or metal tongs.



Step 1: Boil water in the big pot

Put clean water in the pot and bring it to a boil using the cooker. The pot must be big enough to facilitate complete immersion of your Carhartt shirt. If you are not sure whether the color of the Carhartt shirt will bleed, you can add one cup of white vinegar to the boiling water.

Step 2: Place your Carhartt shirt in boiling water

When water starts to boil, place Carhartt’s shirt in the boiling water. Use metal tongs or a wooden spoon to ensure that the shirt is fully immersed in boiling water.

Step 3: Switch off the cooker and leave the shirt in hot water for 5 minutes.

After you have immersed the Carhartt shirt in hot water and made sure that it is fully immersed in the water, switch the cooker off. Let the Carhartt shirt soak in hot water for 5 minutes.

Step 4: Remove the Carhartt shirt from hot water and place it in the dryer

After five minutes, remove the Carhartt shirt from the hot water and put it in the dryer. Set your dryer to the highest settings and turn it on.

Step 5: Check the Carhartt shirt in the dryer

After fifteen minutes, check the Carhartt shirt in the dryer to determine whether you have the required shrink size. If you need the shirt to shrink further, put the shirt back in the dryer, and let the dry cycle end.

If you need the Carhartt shirt to shrink further, you can repeat the process as often as required.

Method 3: Boiling Carhartt shirt and shrinking it with Iron

What you will need


Iron board or craft table

Piece of cloth

Step 1: Boil the Carhartt shirt in water or wash it with the highest water temperatures in the washing machine

You will boil your shirt in hot water or wash it in a washing machine using the highest temperatures possible. This process is very important since it triggers shrinkage.

Step 2: Place the Carhartt shirt on the iron board or craft table

After boiling or washing the Carhartt shirt, place it on the iron board or the craft table.

Step 3:  Place the piece of cloth on top of the Carhartt shirt

Take the piece of fabric and place it on top of the Carhartt shirt. The piece of cloth will be crucial in ensuring that the Carhartt shirt is shielded from direct heat.

Step 4: Iron your Carhartt shirt

Iron the Carhartt shirt till it is totally dry. By the time the shirt is dry, it will have shrunk.

If you want to shrink the shirt further, you should repeat the process.

How To Unshrink A Carhartt Shirt?

Have you washed your Carhartt shirt incorrectly and realized that the shirt has over-shrunk? Don’t worry; if you are patient enough, you can unshrink your shirt. But, first, let me briefly detail what you need to do.

What you require

Warm water.

Hair conditioner or baby shampoo.

Wash basin/sink.



Flat surface/Craft table.

Step 1: Pour warm water into the sink or washbasin

Put the warm water in the sink or washbasin. Make sure that you put enough water to immerse your Carhartt shirt fully.

Step 2: Add hair conditioner or baby shampoo to the warm water

Add about five tablespoons of the baby shampoo or the hair conditioner to the warm water. Use your hand and agitate the mixture to ensure that the warm water is well mixed with the shampoo.

Step 3: Soak Carhartt Shirt in the warm water mixed with shampoo

Place your Carhartt shirt in the mixer of warm water and shampoo. Make sure that the shirt is fully immersed in the water. Leave the shirt in the water for 30 minutes.

Step 4: Drain water from the basin/sink

After 30 minutes, drain water from the basin and gently squeeze any excess water from the Carhartt shirt. Do not rinse the shirt.

Step 5: Place a towel on top of a flat surface

Take the Carhartt shirt out of the water and place it on the towel. Roll the shirt inside the towel to get rid of any surplus water on the shirt.

Step 6: Lay the shirt on a flat surface to dray

Lay the Carhartt on a flat surface and lightly stretch it. Use the pins to ensure that the stretched shirt stays in shape until dry.

How To Prevent Carhartt Shirt From Shrinking

To prevent the Carhartt shirt from shrinking, you need to read and understand the care guidelines on the care label. Then, if you wash and iron your Carhartt shirt as per the manufacturer’s guidelines, you can be assured that your shirt will never shrink a lot.

Moreover, you should always use a cotton setting when washing, rinsing and drying your Carhartt shirts. Alternatively, you can wash and dry your Carhartt on a gentle cycle. 

Final Thoughts

We all love our Carhartt clothing. The last thing you want with your Carhartt shirt is to shrink it unintentionally. Always ensure that you wash your Carhartt shirt correctly, and it will never over shrink. If the Carhartt unintentionally shrinks, you can unshrink the clothing using the process I have given.