Let’s face it: jeans can be a total pain in the butt (perhaps literally if yours are too tight).
Denim is a tricky fabric. The fibers react drastically to temperature, and depending on how the denim was treated in the factory, it will change how your jeans fit you.
Plus, they’re all cut differently (even when you buy from the same brand) and how you care for them can alter the fit even more. That’s why finding a perfectly fitting pair of jeans can truly feel like a miracle.
But if you just bought a pair that’s on the tight side, or you just pulled your favorite pair out of the dryer to find you can no longer pull it over your thighs – never fear. There are a few ways to stretch out denim so the power of getting a perfectly fitting jean lies in your hands.
The Top 4 Jean Stretching Hacks
With these sneaky jean-stretching tricks, you can be sure to end up with the perfect fit every time.
The whole process of stretching out your jeans isn’t difficult, but it can be a bit time consuming. So be patient and try to have some fun with it!
The Old Spray and Stretch
If you do a quick Google search on “how to stretch jeans,” this is probably the method you’ll see most often. It’s one of the easiest ways to get your jean fibers loosened up so they fit your legs like a glove.
First, you’ll want to figure out which areas specifically need the most stretching. Often it will be the hip or thigh area, but just pay attention to how the pair fits on your body so you know where to focus your energy.
Once you’ve got a good plan of attack in place, fill up a spray bottle with lukewarm water. You don’t want the water to be too hot because this can actually cause the fibers to shrink even further (FYI - one of the best ways to shrink jeans is to run it through your hottest wash cycle).
Next, lay your jeans on a flat surface and spray the areas you want to stretch out. Then, get ready to feel like you’re performing a Thai massage on your pants. You want to manually pull, stretch, and work the jeans while they are still wet. You can stand on them, bend down and pull upward – whatever you need to do to get them stretched out.
If this is a new pair of jeans, you can really have at it with the stretching. However, for older pairs, you’ll want to be careful not to stretch any areas where the fibers are already worn down (unless you want ripped jeans).
To stretch the waistband, spray it liberally with the water and then put it on a hanger that is too big for the jeans. You’ll want to clip the waistband so that both side seams are at opposite ends of the hanger and so that the jeans are pulled taut. Then let them dry like this.
You can keep applying water and stretching until you feel you have adequately treated your jeans like they’re on a taffy pull.
Just Wear Them A Lot
We seriously aren’t being lazy with this hack, even though it probably appears that way. But think about how your jeans tend to be much looser at the end of the day than they are in the morning. The more you wear a pair of jeans the more the fibers will start to break in and loosen up through the hips, thighs, and even waist.
Even if it’s a bit uncomfortable at first, it’s a good idea to wear you too-tight jeans as much as possible and incorporate them into your daily activities. If you bike a lot, wear them biking and they’ll loosen up in all the right places for your commuter lifestyle. Or maybe wear them on a long walk – basically just do normal everyday things but in the tight jeans.
It may not be the fastest way to stretch out your jeans, but it’s a great way to make sure your jeans will stretch in all the right places of your body.
Do a Little Leg Workout
This method is great if you need your jeans stretched out more quickly than the first two methods and don’t mind getting a little sweaty.
If your jeans are tight through the hips, rear, and thighs - it will serve you well to do some lunges and squats around the house in your snug denim. The deep movement of these types of leg exercises will force the fibers in your jeans to stretch out much quicker than they would just by wearing them around in the above method. Think of it as a targeted exercise for both your leg muscles and your jean fibers.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the best method if you need stretching at the waist, but it will still certainly help with the overall fit. We love this workout for not only stretching out your jeans, but also making sure your legs look their best in them.
Definitely be careful though – you don’t want to end up with a rip down the center seams.
Light Some Candles, Draw a Bath, and Relax – in Your Jeans!
For those of you who want an excuse to relax or do some self-care, but can’t totally abandon your commitment to productivity, you’re going to love this tried-and-true method.
We aren’t kidding. You should definitely take a bath in your jeans. The candles certainly aren’t necessary but they might add a nice touch to you and your jeans’ tub time.
For this method, you’re going to want to run a warm bath (not too hot because, as we mentioned, that will shrink the fibers. Plus, it probably won’t be very comfortable for you). Then pull on your snug jeans and plop yourself right in.
The warm water will help loosen and stretch the threading in the areas where you need it since the jeans will actually be on your body. You’re going to want to stay in the tub for at least 15 minutes, but you can stay in for as long as you want really.
Once you and your jeans are nice and waterlogged, you can hop out of the tub and towel dry.
Now, this part may be a bit uncomfortable: you will need to continue wearing the wet jeans for about 30 minutes. We know - it’s not ideal. But trust us when we say it will be worth it. Wearing the wet jeans around and allowing them to at least partially dry on your body will ensure that the jeans stretch to your exact curves.
You can absolutely let the jeans dry completely while you are wearing them, however if the feeling of wet denim on your skin is sending shivers up your spine, you can take them off after 30 minutes and let them air dry the rest of the way.
However, do NOT put them in the dryer – this will just undo all the hard work you’ve put into your jean bath.
This method obviously takes quite a bit of time – so don’t plan on using it for last-minute stretching.
How to Stretch Jeans - It’s All About Trial and Error
All the methods on how to stretch jeans listed here are great, but it may take a few tries before you achieve a perfect fit. We love these methods because you can combine or tweak them to suit your body’s needs.
For example, after taking your bath in your too-tight jeans, you can walk around the house and do some lunges and squats to get the fibers to stretch out even more.
You can do the same with the spray bottle method: put on your jeans, then spray them in the hips, rear and thigh areas, and get going on that leg workout. Or perhaps you’ve done the bath hack and they are still tight in some areas – it may be time to pull out the spray bottle to loosen up specific spots.
It’s your jeans and your body, so do what you think is best. You also can measure your jeans before and after you’ve done these tricks to make sure there actually has been a change.
Now, these jean-stretching hacks are great for when you are in a bit of a pinch with your pants, but remember taking good care of your jeans in the first place could eliminate the needs to stretch or shrink your jeans later on.
One of the biggest culprits of an ever-shrinking jean is over-washing and drying, so try to minimize the amount of times you pop your favorite pair in the wash. Not only will they not shrink, but they’ll also last a lot longer than you may expect. (Plus, you’ll save a lot of water.)
But if you wake up one day and can’t get your favorite pair of jeans to button up – don’t go rushing to the Levi’s store to buy a new pair. These four jean-stretching hacks will not only save the day, but also save you money.