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How To Shrink Dickies Pants In 5 Steps

December 21, 2022
How To Shrink Dickies Pants In 5 Steps

Dickies is renowned for making quality pants, including work pants and khakis. However, if you’re a first-time buyer, buying the right size for you can be difficult. So, can you shrink Dickies pants?

Dickies pants can be shrunk by exposing them to high heat. However, it must be done correctly. Wash your pants in the washing machine on a high-heat setting. This is followed by a short, high-heat cycle in the dryer.

Disclaimer: Be wary that there’s always a risk of shrinking the pants too much or damaging them. 

With that in mind, let’s dig deeper.

How To Shrink Dickies Pants In 5 Steps

This post will give you 5 steps to help successfully shrink Dickies pants every time.

1. Research Your Pants

Sufficiently researching your Dickies pants is arguably the most important factor in shrinking them.

By researching your pants thoroughly, you can find out a lot of information relevant to their ability to shrink.

Because different materials have different shrinking conditions as well as varying resilience to heat etc., it’s essential to make sure that you know as much about them as possible.

Doing so will minimize the risk of damaging your pants or shrinking them too much.

Usually, you’ll be able to find the materials’ washing and drying requirements on the labels on the pants’ interior.

If it isn’t there for whatever reason, using their website to search for your particular type of pants is an effective alternative.

While there are many different types of Dickies pants, the majority of them are a cotton blend with 65% cotton and 35% polyester.

There are several benefits to using a cotton-polyester blend over 100% cotton or polyester. 

Durability is arguably the greatest benefit to using a cotton-polyester blend – especially taking into account that Dickies pants are often used as workwear.

Other advantages of using a cotton-polyester blend include being less prone to wrinkling, warmth, and slower color fading.

However, on the other hand, a blend of cotton and polyester is harder to shrink than 100% cotton. This is because of the artificial polyester fibers.

2. Wash Your Pants

The next step to shrinking your Dickies pants is preparing them. You can do this by putting them in the washing machine.

Agitation and high heat from the washing machine will make the cotton-polyester blend more susceptible to shrinking.

image of a washing machine
Image From Deposit Photos

To do this properly, putting the pants in the washing machine on a high heat setting is recommended.

Additionally, some washing machines have “agitation” settings. If this is the case for your washing machine, you should use it.

Cotton is more vulnerable to agitation than heat, meaning that using the “agitation” setting on your washing machine will increase the chances of your pants shrinking.

3. Put Your Pants In The Dryer

The dryer is where the main shrinking process will happen. The high heat and extreme agitation from the dryer usually do the trick nicely.

image of a dryer
Image From Deposit Photos

Furthermore, putting the pants straight into the dryer after being washed is recommended as the fibers will already have weakened by the washing machine cycle. 

When putting your pants in the dryer, choose a high heat setting and a short cycle. A 10-minute cycle is good enough, to begin with.

Checking on your pants regularly (once every 3 minutes works well) throughout the cycle is important. This is to ensure they haven’t shrunk too much.

If your Dickies pants aren’t the desired size after following this procedure, you can put them back into the dryer for the same amount of time, on the same setting, until you get the outcome you want.

Remember that extreme heat also has the potential to damage your pants or shrink them too much. So, you should always be wary of this as a risk when home-shrinking your clothes.

4. Use The Iron

Ironing your Dickies pants after they’ve been in the dryer can further aid the shrinking process.

It’s best to use a steam iron rather than a standard iron, as this will help shrink the pants without getting them wet. 

Additionally, steam irons are the best iron type for garments with high cotton content. Because Dickies pants are typically 65% cotton, steam irons are your best bet.

Steaming your pants is simple. Lay them flat on an ironing board and hold the steam iron about half an inch from the pants. Then, release steam onto them.

This is also a fantastic way to control the shrinkage of particular areas. 

Remember, there’s always a risk of injury when dealing with heat from a steam iron so be extra careful. 

5. Try Them On

Finally, it’s crucial to try your Dickies pants on after attempting to shrink them. This will tell you if you’ve shrunk them enough or if they need more shrinking.

If they need additional shrinking, simply repeat the steps in this post. 

On the other hand, it’s always possible that they have shrunk too much during the process. 

While it’s unlikely, if this is the case, you should consider attempting to stretch your pants. 

Knowing whether or not your pants fit well can be challenging. Luckily, there are some general guidelines that are pretty much always worth following.

If your waistband feels constricting or overly tight, it’s too small. A good rule of thumb is if you can put one or two fingers between your waist and the waistband, it’s a good fit.

It’s worth mentioning that if your pants are sliding down your waist, they are likely too big. In this case, you should consider shrinking them further or wearing a belt.

Comfort is essential when wearing pants – especially workwear like Dickies. Therefore, the crotch of your pants shouldn’t be too tight. Snug but comfortable is a good motto to go by.

Leg length is also an important factor. Ideally, there will be no bunching at the bottom of your pants; this would mean they are too big. 

On the other hand, there should be minimal ankle exposure, as this would mean they are too small.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a couple of frequently asked questions on the topic to really round things off.

Do Dickies 874 Pants Shrink?

Dickies 874 pants are made of a cotton-polyester blend, meaning they are shrinkable. To shrink Dickies 874, you should first wash them in hot water, followed by a high-heat, short cycle in the dryer.

Dickies 874 pants are pretty much always made of a 65-35 cotton-polyester blend. 

This means that you can shrink them by following the procedures in this post.

When your Dickies 874 pants are in the dryer, it’s important to check on them regularly to ensure they are shrinking to your desired size.

You should always be aware that home-shrinking clothes can be damaging to your garments. It can also shrink them too much. 

Do Dickies Overalls Shrink?

It’s possible to shrink Dickies overalls, though it can be difficult. They are made of a cotton-polyester blend. This means that the best way to shrink them is first washing them in hot water, then putting them into the dryer on a high heat setting and a short cycle.

Like most other Dickies garments, Dickies overalls are made of a cotton-polyester blend.

Usually, this cotton-blend is 65% cotton and 35% polyester. Therefore, they are shrinkable following the steps in this post.


By following these steps, you should be able to shrink Dickies pants successfully. Remember that if you don’t get the desired result after the first attempt, you can repeat the steps until you do.