Let’s start this guide on how to shrink Dickies pants with a friendly reminder:
Dickies can offer replacements or refunds for your work pants if they are new—never worn, altered, or washed—and if you present your original receipt within 90 days from the date of purchase.
If you got the wrong size, we recommend availing of this service because shrinking your pants voids the warranty. Follow the tutorials below only when you have laundered your pants several times and lost the receipt.
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Know the Fabric Before Shrinking Your Pants
Fabrics made of natural fibers like cotton contract easily when exposed to heat hotter than 130℉ in the washing machine. Meanwhile, polyesters are less susceptible to such issues, although minor shrinkage may still occur should the heat is too high—over 230℉.
Since the brand’s line of pants varies in terms of the amount of cotton and polyester composition, know that some Dickies work pants shrink faster than others.
For instance, you need more time to shrink Dickies 874—which is composed of 65% polyester and 35% cotton—than downsizing a pair of 100% cotton uniform pants. We’ll go into more detail regarding different types of Dickies pants that can shrink below.
In any case, the last thing you’d want to do is to damage the fabric beyond repair. So, take our advice: read and understand your pants’ fabric composition first before tossing your pants into a boiling pot of water.
Ways to Shrink Dickies Pants
Below are some pointers to remember before you begin:
- Practice precautionary measures when using hot water or steam iron.
- Natural fabrics can shrink more if exposed to high temperatures for longer. However, overdoing this can be damaging to the fibers of your cotton pants—the specific length you can expose your pants to high heat will depend on each method, so read on to find out.
How Much Do Dickies Pants Shrink?
On average, Dickies pants can shrink up to 3% or 4% of their sizes, which is about one to two inches in terms of width and length.
Since Dickies pants are bound to shrink slightly – be it in the washing machine or when dried on the clothesline, you should buy a Dickies size about two inches larger than your original.
Different types of Dickies pants that shrink
Don’t get us wrong—we are not singling out Dickies. Any brand of cotton work pants can decrease in size if you wash or dry them in high heat.
But if you want to know which Dickies pants are susceptible to shrinking, here are some of them:
Dickies pants made of 100% cotton are more prone to shrinking. Examples include the stone washed duck Dickies carpenter pants and double-knee utility painter’s pants.
Even their stretchable performance pants contain 98% cotton and 2% spandex, which are just as prone to shrinking.
- Khaki pants
In 2016, Dickies produced a new line of khakis that were lighter and stretchier than their signature 874®.
For this, the brand used 35% polyester and 65% cotton—the reverse of its original 65% polyester and 35% cotton.
With the same formula, its FLEX version is made of a 7.25 oz Mechanical Stretch Twill. Still, higher cotton content means higher chances of shrinking
Constructed with 100% cotton heavyweight denim, these Dicies jeans will downsize in the washing machine and dryer, as confirmed by several user reviews.
Note that Dickies have plenty of other cotton fabric blends in its inventory. The list above is by no means an exhaustive one.
Because the brand keeps releasing new models, we encourage you to check the tag or product page to determine how much cotton is incorporated into the fabric.
Can you wash Dickies in hot water?
Unless you want to shrink it, the answer is no. Normally, Dickies pants should be washed with lukewarm water under 130℉ or cold water.
Tips to prevent Dickies pants from shrinking
If heat causes cotton to shrink, then logic dictates that avoiding it will help in maintaining your Dickies pants’ original size.
Here are the specific steps you can take:
- Follow the care tag down to the tee.
- Sort your laundry before putting them in the washer. This way, you don’t accidentally include your Dickies jeans with the clothes that you need to wash with hot water.
- Use cold water or lukewarm water when hand washing or machine-washing your pants.
- Steer clear from the dryer and air-dry your pants.
- Put the pants in a cool shade when air-drying them, as the heat from the sun can still alter the fabric’s size.
We normally advise our readers to read the care tag when doing the laundry. But for this tutorial on how to shrink Dickies pants, we are breaking some rules to shrink cargo pants, Dickies jeans, or what-have-you in the wash-and-dry process.
That said, there is no fixed timeframe when downsizing Dickies pants. If your trousers have more polyester than cotton, it may take a while before you see the effect.
Of course, you have the option to fast-track the process by boiling water. However, you have to be extra careful not to damage your pants!
Veronica is our content editor. She is a talent in delivery. Her main work is editing and writing articles that are both informative and simple to follow. She is in charge of synthesizing our understanding of what personal protection equipment (PPE) is needed in each job, how to best apply it, and how to visualize that equipment.