How to Shrink a Pair of Socks: The Ultimate Guide

Do you have a pair of socks that are just too big for your feet? Or maybe they are bunching up in the toes or heels? You may want to consider shrinking them!

Shrinking is an easy process, but there are some things you need to know before starting – and, of course, how to do it.

This article offers an in-depth guide on how to shrink a pair of socks so they fit better.

Method 1: Shrink Your Socks with Warm Water

This works best with cotton socks, but any type of sock will get shrinked if you wash it in hot water (like most clothes will too).

In order to do this, fill a sink full of hot water and add in your socks. Let them soak for at least an hour. You can also use this time to get other laundry done or do something else that doesn’t require you to be by the sink!

shrinking a pair of socks
If you have a pair of socks you love, but they don’t fit – you can try to shrink them

Another – and probably easier way to do this – is to simply wash the socks in the washing machine at a higher temperature setting.

Most socks will shrink a bit if washed at 40 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher, and a lot if washed at 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).

So start a power cycle at this temperature, and your socks will shrink.

The problem is that you don’t really have any control over how much they will shrink… but it’s worth trying if they are not a good fit anyway.

Tip: Since washing at 60 degrees C (140 F) can ruin your socks, it’s best to go for a lower heat setting. In order to make them shrink faster, right before starting the washing cycle, soak the socks in cold water (ice water if possible).

This will make the upcoming hot water contract the material even more, giving better results.

Method Two: Shrink Your Socks with an Iron

shrunken socks

This method is best when you have a pair of jeans or sweatpants that are too baggy, but it works with socks too.

It’s very easy. Simply place your socks on the ironing board (ideally a bit damp and cold). Then iron them on each side for about 15 seconds. Do this a few times.

This method will not only make your socks smaller but also help them keep their shape.

Method Three: Shrink your socks in the dryer

This is by far the easiest (and fastest) way to shrink your socks. Also, it’s great when you’re in a hurry and don’t have time for any other method.

Simply put them into the dryer with some other clothes that need drying or pieces of cloth you no longer need.

Run on high heat for about 15 minutes or until they feel nice and dry.

Tip: This method will not only shrink your socks, it’ll also make them softer which is great for some types of wool or cotton socks!

Tips & Warnings

If you’re in a hurry to shrink your socks, try one of the faster methods above. Socks are usually made from natural fibers like cotton and wool, and it’s these types of materials that shrink the most.

Only use medium heat when drying them in the dryer – high heats can ruin your socks! If you want to make sure they don’t shrink too much, tumble dry them in shorter sessions until they get to the size you need.

Or just buy a new pair of socks – they’re not as expensive and going through all the trouble of shrinking them to the right size might not be worth it!


This would be our guide on how to shrink a pair of socks. Since there are many ways to do it, you can pick the one that works best for your needs.

If you have any other tips or tricks on how to shrink socks – please let us know in the comments below! We’d also love to hear about which method worked best for you if you’ve tried more than one.

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