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How to Shrink Levi's 501 Shrink-to-Fit Jeans? Also Stretch, Dye, or Fade Jeans

Here is the best way to Shrink your Levi's 501 Shrink-to-Fit Jeans:

  1. Fill your bathtub (or kitchen sink if you don’t have one) with the hottest water that will come out of the tap.
  2. Put the pants in there and let them marinate for 15-20 minutes
  3. Drain the water and hang the pants over the tub (they’ll drip. They’ll also make a mess so be prepared to give the tub a scrub down after you are done).
  4. Optional Step A few hours into drying (when they are no longer actively dripping), put them on and let them dry on your body for a bit.
  5. After they are dry (overnight) they will be so stiff you may be able to stand them upright. Even so, Try them on and see if they are close to the right size. You can repeat the above steps many times to shrink them down further. I find that after the initial shrinking, the length is less likely to change than the tightness.
  6. When you think you have the right size, wash them in the washer machine BY THEMSELVES or else they will bleed all over everything. I’ve tried to wear them in without washing first but it doesn’t work as well. After the first wash is when you can go long times between washes to get them really sculpted.

I’d recommend buying them 1″ too big in the waist and 2-3″ too big in the inseam. This will give you a skinny but relaxed fit (classic). Adjust from there if you want a tighter or shorter look.

Quick Tips:

To shrink jeans, first wash them in very hot water and then dry them in a very hot dryer.

To avoid shrinking jeans, first wash them in cold water, lightly tumble them on warm in the dryer, and then finish drying by hanging overnight.

To stretch jeans, first wash them in cold water, lightly tumble them on warm in the dryer, put them on slightly damp and dance around until they stretch to where you want them.

To dye jeans (or freshen their faded color), first wash them in cold water with no soap, then use a commercial dye like ProcionMx or Jacquard and soda ash, soak and aggitate for several hours, rince well in vinegar, hang in the shade to dry.

To fade jeans (or remove their new color) first wash them in cold water with extra soap, rinse them several times, hang in the sun for a couple of days.