Skip to Content

How to Shrink Spandex Leggings

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

Sharing is caring!

Are you shrinking a pair of spandex leggings correctly? Spandex is a good option for sports and fashion because it is form-fitting, however the material easily stretches over time. 

The good news is that you can shrink leggings at home without sewing. Regain that form fitting snugness within just a few minutes.

How do you shrink spandex leggings? In order to shrink spandex leggings, adjust the washer machine and dryer to high heat setting to achieve the perfect shrinkage. 

Flip the spandex leggings inside out and use high heat wash cycle with mild detergent. Then, place the leggings in a dryer bag or pillowcase and use hot heat dryer setting to shrink the legging to the desired size.

When stretched and saggy, spandex leggings become less functional and definitely unfashionable. Similar to polyester leggings, spandex does not contract with regular washing. 

However, when spandex is subjected to heat above 180 degrees Fahrenheit, the fabric will shrink since Spandex is a synthetic polyester-polyurethane fiber. The material stretches over time and after several uses it may need to be shrunk back to its initial size by contracting its elasticity.

In this article you will learn everything there is to know about shrinking spandex leggings. Detailed below are answers to frequently asked questions about shrinking spandex leggings the right way.

Can I shrink spandex?

Yes, you can shrink spandex by washing it in hot water. For spandex to shrink, it is essential to wash and dry on a high heat setting.

Spandex blended with cotton can shrink more as compared to 100% Spandex when washed on a higher temperature setting. You can also shrink spandex leggings by putting them in a machine dryer for 10 minutes on high heat. 

This will lock in the spandex shrinkage obtained in the washing machine. Pop the leggings in a pillowcase and knot the opening before dropping them in the dryer in order to avoid damage and provide added protection to the fabrication.

Can spandex go in the dryer?

Yes, spandex can go in the dryer if you want to shrink the material. However, there is a mixed opinion about this as some consider the quite opposite opinion that spandex should not be dried with heat. 

Manufacturer recommendations generally state to machine wash on a gentle cycle with lukewarm water and air dry instead of putting them in a dryer.

Spandex life is enhanced with hand washing or machine washing on gentle cycle and then air-drying. But, if your motive is to shrink the material, then pop the leggings in a machine wash at a higher temperature setting and dry with high heat. 

Spandex is not very responsive to heat as the fibers of the fabric may break and weaken with repeated exposure to intense heating.

Does spandex shrink in the dryer?

Yes, spandex shrinks in the dryer due to heat from the dryer as a heat treatment will certainly shrink spandex. However, avoid any direct heat and use a pillow case to protect and flip the leggings inside out to prevent from damaging the surface.

The majority of polyester shrinks from 1 to 3 percent based on the knit and finish of the fabric. When washed or tumble dried at high heat, spandex will shrink. 

Be aware that high heat in the dryer most likely will produce static and may permanently create wrinkles, so keep the dry time short. Remove the leggings immediately after the dryer has stopped, do not leave them sitting in the dryer after the machine is off.

How to shrink spandex leggings?

Spandex leggings can be shrunk in two primary ways, firstly by washing them on a high-temperature setting and secondly by putting them in a machine dryer set on high.

Shrinking spandex legging in the washing machine

  • Read the spandex leggings label to note what other fabrics are present other than spandex in the leggings. This is because they come in different fabric blends, and the shrinkage impacts and gets more or less efficient based on the blend.
  • The majority of the spandex leggings are recommended for a wash in lukewarm water and should be air-dried. Wash ought on a high-temperature setting if your sole purpose is to shrink spandex leggings.
  • Turn the leggings inside out since washing on heat can drain or fade the garment color. When flipped the exterior of the leggings is less affected.
  • Pop the leggings in the washing machine with heat to high for the wash cycle. With regular washing, there is no impact on spandex. Set to heavy-duty and to hottest setting to run the washing machine to operate in a full cycle.
  • Use mild homemade detergent only if you wish to clean the spandex leggings while washing. When just shrinking, there is no need to add detergent.

Drying the spandex legging in the machine dryer

  • Transfer the spandex leggings into a pillowcase and tie a knot on the opening.
  • Put the pillowcase into the dryer. Placing the leggings in the pillowcase avoids any unnecessary stretching while tumbling in the dry cycle.
  • Put the dryer settings to the highest heat and set for a 10 minutes dryer cycle.
  • The vigorous tumbling and the high heat drying will shrink the spandex legging. Select a heavy dryer setting for this cycle.
  • Try the garment size after cooling to check for the shrinkage or wait an extra 15 minutes in the dryer after the cycle has finished. Let it cool before you try them on. Repeat if the size is not suitably shrunk for you.
How to shrink spandex leggings

Shrinking Spandex Leggings: Final Thoughts

When you want to shrink spandex leggings, it is essential to run the spandex leggings on the highest temperature settings in the wash cycle in the washing machine and hot dry on the longest cycle in the dryer. 

Read the clothing care label inside of legging to identify if the leggings is made of 100% spandex or if it is blended spandex. This will determine how much time or heat will be needed to shrink since blended spandex does not require long cycle to shrink due to the mixed fabric content.

Always flip the leggings inside out to prevent from direct contact of heat which may fade the color or damage the surface of the leggings. This harm will be impossible to recover from. 

Add a mild detergent into washer if you also need to clean the leggings and set it on high water temperature on the washing machine. Air dry the leggings away from direct sun or pop them in the dryer cycle on high heat for around 10 minutes for them to shrink down. 

Since spandex can ruin due to high heat, it is best to put them in a pillowcase cover and tie the opening before placing them into the dryer.

When using a dryer to shrink spandex leggings, set it as high heat and medium to longest time. Don’t forget to flip inside out and use pillowcase when shrinking.

Since spandex does not react well to heat, putting into the dryer can cause the fabric fibers to weaken and potentially break. This is an inherent risk to attempting to shrink spandex leggings.

It may sound impossible to shrink spandex leggings, however with washer and dryer method it is easily achievable to make it into your desired size. Make sure that the heat you apply is over 180 degree Fahrenheit so that the spandex leggings will start shrinking. 

Spandex has the ability to stretch in all directions and the shrink back to its original size without loosing any elasticity. So, repeat the process to improve the sizing and shape of your leggings for a perfect fit every time.

Sharing is caring!

Maisey dress thumbnail
← Previous
Maisey Dress Tutorial | DIY Peasant Boho Tunic Dress
Best way for washing leggings no pill
Next →
How To Wash Leggings So They Don’t Pill?