There’s nothing more frustrating when it comes to your wardrobe than your favorite pair of jeans getting too stretched out to hold their original shape. This can happen from wearing them repeatedly and from washing them in a manner than isn’t gentle enough to protect the fabric. So the very best way of fixing the problem of is to prevent it in the first place.

The first surefire way to help make sure your jeans last longer in better shape is to choose high quality jeans, according to makeyourownjeans.com. A no-brainer, we know, but the quality of the fabric and stitching is likely to be better and more durable in higher end brands than those you grab at Target (though we aren’t knocking Target! Some of our favorite closet staples are from there).

Second, wash your jeans in cool water. Third, line dry them. We know: if you’re aiming to wear your favorite jeans out to dinner tonight and you just got home from work and still have to wash them, there may not be time to wait for the breeze to do its job. But if you can manage to line dry most of the time, it will prevent the pulling and tugging that happens to clothes when they are knocked around in the dryer and which can prevent the pants from regaining their original shape. Further, if you can wash your jeans less frequently (maybe get a few wears out of them rather than washing after every wear) it can help them last longer.

How to shrink stretched-out jeans

If, however, it’s already too late and your jeans are stretched out, don’t give up on them yet! There may be some tricks you can try to restore them to their original shape-hugging glory. Lands’ End says that the best way to shrink your stretched-out jeans is to not follow the care instructions on the tag (and in the above section about keeping your jeans from changing shape or size). Namely: wash them in the hottest water setting on your machine and use gentle detergent and fabric softener. Then, in spite of all previous advice, toss them into the dryer on the hottest setting. This should shrink your jeans back to a more fitted style.

If, however, you only need to shrink a certain part of your jeans, that’s possible, too. The key is moisture and heat, so use a spray bottle to target the problem areas where you need a little more tightness. Fill the bottle with three parts hot water and one part liquid fabric softener, shake, and then spray the area until it is soaked. Leave any part of the jeans you don’t want to shrink fully dry, and then toss the jeans into the dryer on the hottest setting.

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