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Do Old Navy Jeans Shrink? (I’m Surprised!)

The Gap stores own the Old Navy both are great stores for fashion lovers. Though, the Old navy is people’s 1st choice if they want to be fashionable on a budget.

The store offers hundreds of jean styles to choose from, yet the main question arises – can I shrink old navy jeans to reduce their size? Let’s find out.

I am surprised to know that none of the Old Navy jeans shrink. After communicating with the Old Navy support team they have told me that the jeans are made with high-quality materials that don’t even allow 100% cotton jeans to shrink at all.

Prior, to writing and researching about Old navy clothes, I was confident with the knowledge of the material that I acquired while writing on Patagonia, wrangler jeans, and lululemon pants shrinkage that no matter which brand of the garment it is if it is made of 100% cotton it will result in 3-15% shrinkage when washed in hot water. That was not just my presumption, it is scientific.

However, after reading countless reviews and personally talking with old navy product staff, no one who owns jeans of this brand saw any shrinkage in length or width. Yet, everyone experienced that once you put your jean in a hot drier they will feel tighter at first but slowly relax back to their original size.

Thus the best way is to return the bigger jeans to get a size smaller old navy jeans. But, if you really the jean and don’t want them to return then contract the seamstress and see what she can do.

How & Why Jeans Shrinks?

To understand why it is hard to shrink old navy jeans compared to other brands we need to look at the process of fabric shrinkage. When we wash our jeans in water or introduce them to high temperatures, they act as a catalyst to release the tension and stresses which are inevitably imposed on the fabric while manufacturing due to exposure to chemical and mechanical forces.

3 main causes are responsible for the shrinkage of jeans::

  • Type of material used; synthetic is less prone to shrinkage than natural fibers. For example, Viscose stands on top, cotton in middle, and polyester on the bottom on a scale of shrinkability where viscose is highly shrinkage and polyester is hardly shrinkable.
  • Type of fabric used, the loosely knitted fabric shrinks more than tightly knitted fabric.
  • When fibers are turned into yarn to fabric, mechanical tensions and forces are inevitable that result in creating tension, so, when we wash our jeans, water acts as a medium to release all tensions for dimensions of fabric to return to the original.\

Why Do Old Navy Jeans Do Not Shrink?

Pick any piece from over a thousand jeans available at, whether it is Rockstar or Slim 360° series, straight or boot cut jeans (Including 100% cotton & Poly blend), it is very rare to see any noticeable shrinkage even when washing in hot water or drying in high heat. OK, heavy blend polyester jeans are understandable as they are synthetic fibers that demonstrate a thermoplastic and crystalline nature.

Whereas cotton is supposed to have more amorphous regions, giving them more room to absorb water and higher lubricity that makes cotton susceptible to shrinking by nature, yet, everyone including old navy staff experienced inconspicuous shrinkage. How come?

It all comes past due to following practices that make sure the jeans do not shrink to reduce the customer complaints by providing described fit/size even after dozens of washes.

  • To make sure jeans fabric does not shrink, manufacturers need to check all these boxes:
    • Is the yarn count selection made keeping shrinkage in mind? Because, as yarn count increases, the shrinkage of fabric increases.
    • Is the cotton resinated, Apply for woven material only.
    • Increased weft density also increases the fabric shrinkage, brands like Old Navy have to check this.
  • Now there are various chemical and mechanical treatments to reduce or cease the shrinkage of fabric used in jeans, these are:
    • Pre and post-heating of synthetic and blended fabric like poly cotton give then the dimensional stability.
    • Preshrinking of fabric using mechanical shrinking or sanforizing. This treatment forces the fabric to shrink the fabric in length/width so that it won’t have to use water or heat as a relaxing agent because due to sanforizing treatment the dimensions of the fabric are relaxed in their original position. If I am right, preshrinking is the main technique that Old navy uses to make sure the jeans retain their shape even after washing in water (hot or cold.)
  • One more important thing you can do to avoid any unnoticed shrinkage in Old Navy jeans; though, it would be a rare occurrence based on my research and other people’s personal experience.

How To Shrink Old Navy Jeans?

There are two types of shrinkage – plus and minus shrinkage. The expansion in dimensions (length & width) after washing or drying is known as plus shrinkage, and contraction in length and width refers to minus shrinkage. In general, when we want to shrink our clothes, the common understanding is to reduce the dimensions of the cloth for all those jeans that run big.

The problem here is, depending on many things, your jean can yield plus or minus shrinkage. That’s the gimmick, there’s always a risk of your jean becoming even bigger when in reality you want them to get small.

The chances of noticeable shrinkage in Old Navy jeans are very rare; so if you listen to me, don’t waste your energy on shrinking your jean to get a good fit. Instead, follow the size chart and order the correct size of Old Navy jeans based on personal reviews so that you don’t even have to think about shrinking them.

However, if you wish you could try shrinking the old navy jeans using these tips, yet it is not guaranteed:

  • Get 4-6 liters of water in a big bowl and boil it
  • Once the water is started to boil, put your jean in boiling water and let the water on the fire for another 5-10 minutes
  • Now turn off the stove, and let your jeans be soaked in hot water for the next 15-20 minutes or longer.
  • Remove your pant, put in a tumble drier
  • Move the button to the highest heat setting.
  • Let it dry for 5-7 minutes and then switch off the drier
  • Wait for it to cool down, and put the jean on the clothesline to dry them completely.
  • Hopefully, now your Old Navy jeans may have shrunk to give you a little better fit.

However, it is completely possible, that your Old Navy jeans may feel tighter after doing the process which may make you think that the jean has shrunk, but as you go along the day, they may come back to their original size as experienced by many Old navy jeans wearers.

Though, there’s nothing harm in trying if you’re serious about shrinking the jeans, who knows you may have a pair that will show some shrinkage.


it is very rare to see Old Navy jeans shrinking, though you can still try the extreme shrinking process provided in this article to give it a try. Yet, it is a caution that it is 100% possible your jean may become even bigger (plus shrinkage) instead of reducing the size (minus shrinkage).

Also, it is not advisable to shrink 80-100% polyester jeans as they are much harder to shrink and need very high temperatures which may result in the melting of fibers (you know that polyester is plastic, essentially.)