How to Shrink a Bathing Suit: 3 Effective Ways


A sagging bathing suit is not fashionable. When trying to look presentable, nobody wants to flash their privates or appear to be wearing a wet diaper. Tossing the old one out and spending money on a new bathing suit, however, might make some people want to continue wearing their old swimsuit. The good news is that you have other choices as well.

If your swimsuit has become saggy for any reason, you might be able to slightly shrink it so that it will fit snugly on your body once more. And no, we’re not about to advise you to get out your needle and thread because that would be challenging and there’s a much simpler way to solve this issue.

You can put your old swimsuit through one or more heat treatments, such as ironing, boiling water, or drying it, to make it shrink, as opposed to throwing out a perfectly good suit or spending money on a new one. By doing this, you might be able to reuse your old bathing suit longer and save money on a new one.

If you already own the necessary appliances, which is likely the case, these simple methods can be completed at home with ease. To find out the precise steps you must take, keep reading.

Reasons Why One Might Want to Shrink a Swimsuit

A person might want to shrink their swimsuit for a few different reasons. Perhaps the swimsuit is too big and uncomfortable, or perhaps it has stretched out from being worn too frequently. Whatever the reason, there are a few techniques for shrinking a swimsuit so that it fits better.

You should be aware that shrinking your swimsuit will have a permanent, irreversible effect. Make sure you really want to shrink your swimsuit before doing it because it cannot be unshrunk once it has been done.

It’s also not an exact science to shrink a swimsuit. The techniques listed below will affect different suits in different ways. Your swimsuit will shrink, but there is no way to predict how much.

Always start out slowly and build up if necessary rather than shrinking drastically and being unable to wear your swimsuit at all.

Last but not least, bear in mind that some materials shrink more easily than others.

In light of the above, here are some techniques for making your swimsuit smaller.

How Does Heat Shrink a Swimsuit?

When you take your clothes out of the dryer and discover they no longer fit, it is a terrible feeling that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Say goodbye to your favorite pair of pants, shirt, dress, sweater, or whatever; they no longer fit. The question is, how does this phenomenon begin?

Wool and cotton are the materials that shrink the most when heated, but this rule is true for all organic fibers. The non-scientific layperson’s explanation is that heat causes the fibers to contract, and it seems to affect organic fibers more so than synthetic ones.

A cotton blend shrinks more than something made entirely of synthetic materials like spandex or Lycra, and a cotton blend shrinks more than a garment made entirely of cotton because there is less cotton in it.

Natural Vs. Synthetic Fabrics

Find out what material your swimsuit is made of before attempting any of the techniques listed below. You might be unable to use some of the techniques we suggest depending on the subject matter. This is a useful chart that shows what kinds of fabrics can withstand different temperatures.

As previously stated, natural fabrics, such as cotton and cotton blends, shrink much more easily than synthetic fabrics, such as polyester. spandex, polyester, nylon, and swimming suits made of lycra). Pure cotton will shrink much better than cotton blends which means you need to be careful not to expose it to too much heat, otherwise, it will shrink more than you want.

High temperatures will cause synthetic fibers to shrink as well, but this time there’s a catch. If you look at the article we linked above, you’ll see that synthetic fabrics can only withstand temperatures up to 230 F (110 C) and that the drying temperature shouldn’t go above 180 F (82 C) to prevent damage.

Turn your swimsuit inside out to prevent color fading before subjecting it to high temperatures, such as those experienced during a hot wash cycle. If done correctly, shrinking your bathing suit to the proper size should only require one heat treatment.

Best Ways to Shrink a Bathing Suit

Read the material described on the label of your swimsuit. Ignore the washing and drying directions; the manufacturers do not advise what we are attempting to do, and they obviously do not want to hear from customers who unintentionally shrunk their bathing suits. But it doesn’t apply to us because we’re doing it deliberately.

The Dryer

The Dryer

The simplest and first option is to use the dryer to shrink a bathing suit. Everyone has first-hand experience with accidentally shrinking a bunch of clothing they did not intend to, but in this case, it can be quite a useful “feature”.

There are a few things you need to do before you put your suit in the dryer. Turning the bathing suit inside out will keep the color from fading, so we highly advise doing this. Additionally, if there are any pads, take them off to prevent deformation. Later, it will be simple to put them back.

Next, use a mild laundry detergent (that shouldn’t contain any bleach) to hand wash your bathing suit in cold water to remove any stains, grit, or oil. Don’t use a washing machine if you thought you could skip this step. Your suit may stretch and become worn out in a washing machine’s tossing and spinning motion.

The swimsuit should be squeezed between two dry towels to dry if it is still drenched in water after washing. This can be accomplished by placing a towel on the ground, placing the swimsuit on it, covering it with another towel, and then stepping on it with your feet. Wringing your suit dry could cause damage and add a lot of wear and tear. For the remainder of this article, assume that when we talk about drying a wet swimsuit, we mean with towels, not by wringing it out.

We can now finally put the bathing suit in the dryer. Set the dryer to the highest heat setting and the longest drying time. Make sure the dryer isn’t too full or empty; if it is, the swimsuit won’t get heated sufficiently, and if it is, it will get heated excessively.

Wait until it has cooled down to at least room temperature after the drying cycle is finished. It might still be quite hot, so take your time putting it on. Your bathing suit ought to have shrunk at least a little. If it still hasn’t shrunk enough, you can try this method again or one of the other heat treatments below.

Boiling Water

You can combine the dryer with our second technique, which involves putting the bathing suit in boiling water if the dryer wasn’t effective enough.

Make some water boil first. The simplest method is to boil a big pot of hot water, and once the water starts boiling, you can just throw the bathing suit right in the pot. Alternatively, if you’re using a kettle or another method to boil water, you’ll need to pour the hot water into a different container afterward to submerge the bathing suit in.

Put the bathing suit in the hot water after the heat has been turned off once the water has boiled. It is preferable to let the water’s temperature naturally drop over time rather than keeping it constantly boiling. You can remove your bathing suit and use towels to dry it after about 20 minutes or once the water is hot enough for you to remove it by hand.

As previously mentioned, this procedure can be combined with the dryer technique. After washing the swimsuit, before putting it in the dryer, you would carry out this step. This gives the bathing suit two chances to be in direct contact with hot surfaces, causing it to shrink even more.


An iron effectively causes a bathing suit to shrink due to its high temperature and direct application to the garment.

Another preparation step is necessary. The bathing suit should be hand-washed in cold water with a gentle laundry detergent. Before ironing, it is crucial to get rid of any stains because the iron may make them permanent.

Using the towel trick we previously mentioned, dry the bathing suit until the majority of the water is gone. You ought to have left a dry, clean, and iron-ready bathing suit.

Cover the ironing board with a cotton cloth and place the wet swimsuit on top of it. Despite preventing the iron from coming into direct contact with the bathing suit, this thin layer still allows for a lot of heat to pass through.

The iron should then be set to the lowest temperature. The bathing suit should still be damp if you’re using a steam iron, so no need to add more water.

Beginning at the top, begin ironing the bathing suit. When you begin to see water vapor, gently press each section. Anything more than that could cause the fabric to burn if left on for an extended period of time. Flip it over and iron the opposite side after you have finished ironing the first side. Otherwise, after everything is said and done, one side might have contracted more than the other.

Once your bathing suit is completely dry and all the water has evaporated, you are done ironing. At the lowest temperature setting, this can take some time. If you think the lowest temperature is too low, you can raise it to a medium setting. Please be patient as this procedure can take up to 20 minutes.

Beginners frequently make the error of forgetting to cover their swimsuit with an additional layer, which exposes it to the iron’s direct heat and causes it to burn. They might also fail to notice that all of the water at a particular spot has evaporated, leaving the iron there for an excessive amount of time rather than moving on.

You might ruin your bathing suit if you don’t have much ironing experience. Try the other two methods mentioned above if ironing doesn’t come naturally to you.

Can I Shrink a Large Swimsuit?

You can attempt to shrink a bathing suit if it is significantly too large for you right now but there is a chance you won’t be successful.

The swimsuit needs to be submerged in cold water for at least an hour before you can proceed. This aids in softening the substance and might make it more receptive to the techniques mentioned in the sections above. Be prepared to purchase a new swimsuit that is closer to your current size, though.

If it’s too loose, you could also try it on a burkini.

Can I Shrink a Swimsuit That is Already Misshapen?

Yes, try putting a towel in the dryer with it to see if you can get it back to how it was. It might lose its wrinkles and resume its normal appearance with the help of the dryer’s heat. Although you might not receive a swimsuit that has taken on its original form, you might only receive a smaller version. Since it is already deformed, trying doesn’t hurt.

Can I Shrink a Neoprene Swimsuit?

Although it’s generally advised against doing so, a neoprene suit can be shrunk by being dried in the dryer or washed in warm water. Neoprene is easily damaged by heat, and the tumbling motion can exacerbate the damage.

The neoprene layers trap nitrogen gas, which, when subjected to high heat, begins to shrink and eventually disappears, resulting in the suit’s own shrinkage.

Beyond the suit shrinking, there are other effects to this. You receive less insulation and positive buoyancy from your suit when the bubbles are smaller and fewer. This implies that you won’t stay as warm in the water, and you can’t rely on it to keep you afloat as much.

Although a neoprene suit can be dried in the dryer, it is best to hang the suit inside out on a drying rack in a well-ventilated space that is out of the sun, like a closet.

Tips to Keep in Mind

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  • If you don’t have a dryer, you can also hang your nylon bathing suit in the sun to shrink it.
  • Make sure to wash your swimsuit in cold water and hang it up to dry rather than tumble drying it to stop it from shrinking even more.
  • It will be simpler for your swimsuit to shrink if it contains some spandex as opposed to only nylon.
  • A chemical treatment that makes nylon swimwear resistant to shrinking may have been applied when the garment was newly manufactured. It’s possible that you won’t be able to shrink it at all in this situation.
  • Be extremely cautious not to over shrink a nylon swimsuit if you’re trying to shrink it.
  • Never attempt to shrink a nylon swimsuit that is too big for you. Purchasing a new, properly fitting one is preferable.

How to Make the Shrinking Process Efficient?

To make the shrinking process as efficient as possible is important to choose:

  • The ideal swimsuit material is either spandex, nylon, or a combination of the two, or in some cases cotton blends. Therefore, before you begin, be sure to know what material your swimsuit is made of.
  • The proper technique is boiling, salt water, or a clothes dryer. Pick the approach that will work best for your fabric because different types of fabric respond to different approaches differently.
  • For nylon, 15 minutes, and for spandex, 30 minutes is the appropriate amount of time. You run the risk of fabric damage if you dry or soak your swimsuit for an excessive amount of time.
  • Too big or too small is not the ideal size. You run the risk of over shrinking your swimsuit. You might be unable to shrink something if it is too large.
  • The appropriate environment is a sink or basin with lukewarm water for boiling, a sink or basin with cold water and salt for saltwater, or a dryer set to the lowest heat setting for the dryer.

You ought to have no trouble shrinking your swimsuit if you keep these suggestions in mind. Just be sure to take your time and be cautious not to harm the fabric.

Wrapping Up

Has shrinking a swimsuit ever been attempted? The three techniques we’ve described are all fairly simple, but there are a few things you should remember before shrinking your swimsuit. If you’ve tried any of them, how did it go?

Remember that once you shrink the swimsuit, it cannot be unshrunk; this is a permanent process. Make sure you’re really interested in doing this; if the swimsuit fits perfectly as is, there’s no need to alter it.

Finally, be careful when washing and drying the swimsuit because both processes have a high potential for causing fabric damage or distortion. In spite of these limitations, shrinking a swimsuit is typically a simple process that can produce a better fit. Inform us of your progress!

Lavin Qian

Lavin Qian