An Easy Guide on How to Shrink Leather Jackets

Leather jackets are easily the sleekest accessory any fashion lover can add to their collection. My leather jackets offer great comfort as they hug my torso effortlessly and emerge classy as I combine them with pants and stylish leather boots. Nothing matches the warm, fuzzy feeling my leather jackets give me as I slip them on.

However, I often notice a few of my jackets feeling slackened after extended use – most times, they feel too loose, and the edges even appear droopy. If you are experiencing such issues, you must also be concerned about learning how to shrink leather jackets.

Impressively, I have discovered some helpful techniques that have helped restore various types of leather jackets to their original snug fit and even made oversized pieces smaller and more comfortable to wear. Wondering how to shrink faux leather jackets and jacket sleeves? This comprehensive guide will give you all the answers you need.

how much can a leather jacket shrink

Two Ways of Shrinking Leather Jackets

No one ever wishes to wear a slacked leather jacket, as this doesn’t define style and elegance. So, what do you do if your leather coats starts loosening up? You shrink them! You might wish to hand over your oversized leather jackets to professional leather workers to get the job done – but the primary issue is that they don’t come cheap and could cost you a fortune.

Again, you might come across different tips for how to shrink leather jackets on Reddit and other online forums, but not all shrinking techniques are safe for every type of leather. Without adequate care, you could ruin your favorite leather piece.

Not to worry, you can use the techniques in this guide to shrink your leather jackets at home. Thus, here are the best ways to shrink your leather jackets without ruining them.

Shrinking with Warm Water

This technique is the most familiar option you would find when searching for how to shrink leather jackets on YouTube and various forums. I have tried it, and it is effective. You should know that real leather contains oils and other natural chemicals that keep it soft and malleable.

So when leather gets wet, moisture will penetrate the material and strip it of its protection, and while you let the jacket dry, the water seeps out with the leather’s natural moisture. Once this happens, the jacket shrinks considerably and becomes tighter.

You can perform this process in a bathtub or any sizeable water container at home. Here’s how to shrink your leather jacket with warm water.

Supplies Needed

  • A large plastic bin (about 33 gallons)
  • Warm water
  • A pair of latex gloves
  • Clean, dry towels
  • Leather conditioner


  • Begin by cleaning the leather jackets, as this helps remove dirt, debris, and stains from leather jackets before soaking them in warm water. Doing this would also prevent marks leaving on the leather after the jacket dries.
  • Next, place the plastic bin in the bathtub. Pour warm water into the bin until it is half-filled or you have enough water to submerge your jacket completely.
  • Put the jacket into the bin and ensure that the water fully covers every part of the jacket. If the jacket contains dyes and other preservative chemicals, they might bleed out of it after you soak it in water. Therefore, you must wear your latex gloves all through this process.
  • Keep the leather jacket fully submerged in the plastic bin for about 10 minutes. Rub a sleeve over the entire jacket. This way, more of the dye will bleed out, enabling the water to penetrate the jacket better.
  • After thoroughly soaking the jacket, please remove it from the plastic bin. Wring out the excess water in the jacket. Ensure that the excess water gets into the plastic bin. This way, you prevent the dyes from leaving permanent stains on your bathtub. Get as much moisture as you can from the leather jacket, and only stop when the jacket is no longer soggy wet but just damp.
  • Lay out a clean, dry towel on a flat surface. Next, lay the jacket on the towel and leave it to dry. Hanging wet jackets will stretch the leather jackets as they dry. Monitor the jackets regularly during this drying stage and change the towels whenever they become too damp. Do not dry the jacket under direct sunlight or with a hair dryer. This will cause a rapid loss of moisture that might make your jacket much smaller. It could also leave your leather jackets with wrinkles.
  • Finally, condition the leather after it is dry. This way, you replenish lost oils and make the jacket more durable. Conditioning leather jackets will also improve their appearance after shrinking them.

Note: Do not use boiling water to shrink leather jackets. Mildly warm water will get the job done. Also, avoid putting suede or nubuck leather jackets in the dryer; using a dryer will alter the texture of your leather jacket.

It would help to use a plastic bin to soak the leather jacket. This way, dealing with the stains from any dyes in the leather jacket is easier.

Alternatively, you can fill a hand-held spray bottle with warm water and spray the leather jacket instead of soaking it. With this, you can avoid soaking non-leather pieces that could be damaged due to moisture. Using a spray bottle is best if you wonder how to shrink leather jacket sleeves.

Shrinking in the Washing Machine

This might sound razz, but another way to shrink your favorite leather jacket is by washing it in a machine. Just like the first technique, it involves soaking your leather jacket. But rather than leaving the damp jacket to air dry at room temperature, you throw it in the dryer to speed up the shrinking process.

This method is just like regular laundry and is relatively easy and cheap. Here’s how to shrink your leather jacket in the washing machine.

Supplies Needed

  • A washing machine
  • Leather conditioner


  • Place the leather jacket in the washing machine. Add some cold water and run the machine on a regular cycle. Kindly note that you do not need to add detergent to the washing machine. Also, wash the jacket alone to avoid ruining other fabrics with the dyes in the leather jacket.
  • Take the jacket out of the washing machine. Squeeze out as much water from the jacket as you can. Such an action would help the jacket dry faster and reduce the chances of leaving stain marks on the leather accessory after it dries.
  • Next, put the damp jacket in the dryer. Run the cycle on medium heat. After completing the cycle, please remove the jacket and try it on. If it still doesn’t fit, put it in the washing machine and repeat the process. You can do this until the leather jacket is as fit as you wish.
  • Finally, condition the leather jacket to restore its luster and increase its durability.

Using a dryer for your leather jackets requires utmost care. Adjust the heat settings to low and monitor the process for any signs of charring or burning. Also, use a leather conditioner to protect the jacket from getting too brittle and possibly cracking.

how to shrink faux leather jacket

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Q: How can I make my leather jacket tighter?

You can make your leather jacket tighter by shrinking it. Most leather jackets come with adjustable straps and other provisions that you can use to reduce their size and make them more tight-fitting. However, these provisions might not let you adjust the jacket to your desired fit.

Adjusting the seams, you may also make your leather jacket tighter. But without professional help, you could ruin the appearance of your jacket or even damage it permanently. Therefore, shrinking your leather jacket is the safest way to your leather jacket tighter.

Q: How can I shrink my leather jacket at home?

Instead of searching for “leather jacket alterations near me,” there are several DIY techniques that you can use to shrink your leather jacket at home. These techniques operate by wetting the jacket and stripping the leather of its protection before letting it dry.

You can shrink your leather jacket by soaking it in a tub of water. After thoroughly soaking, lay it flat and leave it to dry. However, it would help if you took adequate measures to protect your living spaces and any home appliances you might have from moisture.

Adding some rubbing alcohol to the water will help strip the leather of its protection and allow it to penetrate the material better. However, this method could affect any dyes in the jacket and is only advisable if you are looking for how to shrink leather gloves.

Q: How do you shrink a leather jacket one size?

The best way to shrink any leather jacket one size down is by soaking it in water and then laying it on a flat surface to dry. Hanging wet leather to dry will cause it to stretch further due to the pull of gravity.

You can use a hand-held dryer (set on low heat) to quicken the drying process and shrink the leather further. But you’d need to ensure that every inch of the leather is evenly exposed to get the best results.

Q: How do you shrink leather without ruining it?

It would be best to take several precautions while shrinking leather to prevent ruining it. First, ensure you do not expose the leather to extreme temperatures while drying it to avoid charring it. Also, do not soak leather in boiling water for long, and apply a generous amount of moisturizer or conditioner after shrinking a leather item.

Shrinking leather involves stripping it of its natural moisture and lubrication, and without a suitable leather conditioner, this piece will become brittle and start to crack after shrinking it. Also, you can store leather jackets in a cool, dry place away from extreme weather conditions to increase durability.

Q: How do you size down a leather jacket?

You might be wondering, “Is my leather jacket too big?” Here’s the best way to pick your correct jacket size and properly size down any leather jacket. The best way to size down a leather jacket is by sizing it down from your standard outerwear size.

Simply button or zip up the leather jacket after trying it on. The correct jacket size should fit snugly and hug your armpits closely. It should have at most three inches of extra fabric along any seams.

Q: Can I put a leather jacket in the dryer?

Leather is unlike other fabrics, and tossing it in a dryer has a severe risk of damage. Extreme heat could char the leather or even burn it. Thus, allowing the leather piece to dry in a well-ventilated corner, away from direct sunlight and heat, is better.

For leather jackets, you can hang them in an airy area using a wooden or padded hanger or lay them on a flat surface to dry. But if you need a quicker way out, you may use a hand-held dryer set on low heat.

Final Words

Leather jackets feel nice and sleek till they slacken and become too loose. When leather jackets overstretch, they become too big and deny you of their previous snug fit. The material also takes on a tired look that will ruin your appearance. However, you can learn how to shrink leather jackets to restore their original sturdy and snug fit.

The techniques in this comprehensive guide will quickly shrink leather jackets within the comfort of your home. But you may need to repeat the shrinking process several times before getting the jacket to the desired size. But, it would help if you gave time between each shrinking attempt. You could also combine shrinking techniques for the best result.

Evina Naomi

Ewofere, Evina Naomi is a biotechnologist and passionate content writer. As a great lover of leather and various leather crafts, she broadly addresses leather-related issues. She is a writer of many excellent articles on leather. With great knowledge and enthusiasm, readers can access researched pieces on various leather types and the best techniques that work on them. Naomi is here to lead you through the journey of choosing excellent leather products and ensure you handle them rightly. So you can embark on your leather sewing and crafting journey with her and have an incredible experience.

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