Do Cycling Jerseys Shrink? (Quick Guide) + How to Do It

You might be wondering if the jersey will shrink naturally over time. OR, You might be interested in buying a jersey that is a bit loose and you want to know if you can somehow shrink it to fit you.

The size may not always fit you, it may be too small or big which can affect comfort and performance when cycling. It may also be your size when you first buy it but shrinks over time for a variety of reasons such as the material used to make the jersey or the cleaning process applied on the jersey.

For this reason, it is important to know whether the material you have chosen will shrink naturally over time and how to handle such a situation. If you also wish to shrink your jersey manually, there are options for you to do this.

Do cycling jerseys shrink

Do Cycling Jerseys Shrink?

Yes, some cycling jerseys do shrink over time. This is wholly dependent on the material used to make the jersey, the amount of use and the maintenance or care process used on the jersey. You can also manually shrink your jersey but this is a difficult process that does not always work.

Jerseys made of lycra or some forms of polyester, for example, are less likely to shrink over time while other materials such as wool or cotton will shrink with time and use.

How Do You Shrink a Jersey Fast?

Jerseys made of polyester are sensitive to heat so hot wash and dry settings are most likely to shrink the fabric while a medium heat setting is more suitable for cotton, wool and other types of fabric. This can also be used in conjunction with iron for fabrics like wool and polyester for an increased effect.

If your jersey is made of lycra, it is best you take it to a tailor for reduction as attempting to shrink it may damage it for worse. However, it is possible to shrink some polyester, spandex, cotton and wool jerseys.

Method 1- Using a Hot Wash

This works for the materials such as Polyester.

Here are the steps that you can use to shrink these jerseys with a hot wash:

STEP 1: Turn your jersey inside out. This helps to protect the colors from fading or running onto other jerseys.

STEP 2: Set the wash setting of your washing machine to the hottest water and longest cycle. You can add detergent if you want to wash but it is not necessary. An ideal temperature for hot water is 140 °F.

STEP 3: After washing, use the highest heat and longest cycle to dry the fabric. This is a very important step in the shrinkage process.

STEP 4: Remove the jersey and let it dry at room temperature.

Shrinking a Wool Jersey with a Hot Wash

1- Dampen the jersey evenly with warm water.

2- Put it in a tumble dryer and set the heat to medium.

3- Key an eye on it and carefully check every 5 minutes to see how much it has shrunk. Remove it when it has reduced to your satisfaction.

Method 2- Using an Iron

The second method to shrink your cycling jersey is to use an iron, and this works for wool, spandex, and polyester jerseys.

This can be done to polyester jerseys after the hot wash.

Here are the steps:

STEP 1: Place the jersey on an ironing board and leave it still turned inside out.

STEP 2: Lay a thin cloth over your jersey to reduce the risk of direct damage to the fabric.

STEP 3: Using medium heat setting on your iron, iron over the cloth until the jersey underneath is dried. Do not use a steam setting on the cloth as this may prevent the effect you want.

STEP 4: Examine the dry jersey for any damage and to see how much it has shrunk. Avoid repeating this process as it may damage the fabric of your jersey.

Note: For cycling jerseys made of spandex, you should use an iron on the lowest setting to shrink them. You should also iron quickly and be careful not to linger in one place with the iron to prevent damage to the fabric.

Shrunk Cycling Jersey: Good or Bad?

Shrinking your jersey manually is an easy process that does not require you to put in much physical effort.

Before you shrink your jersey, you should know the pros and cons that the shrinkage process carries, and the effects that can arise after the jersey has been shrunk.

BENEFITS of Shrinking Your Cycling Jersey

1- A shrunk jersey is more likely to fit your body as you cycle, tone your muscles and lose weight. The shrunk jersey would fit your body changes.

2- It can help to provide the comfort that you would get from a fitted jersey while cycling, as most road cyclists like fitted cycling outfits.

3- If you choose to shrink your jersey manually, it saves you the cost of having to use a tailor to amend an oversized jersey or having to buy a new cycling jersey.

DISADVANTAGES to Shrinking Your Jersey

1- A shrunk jersey can bite into your skin, cutting off blood supply where it has shrunk more than necessary and cause a lot of discomfort.

2- The jersey may continue to shrink, which would eventually require you to replace the cycling jersey for a better fit.

3- Jerseys that have shrunk may provide less protection to you when cycling and in situations of accidents.

4- The manual shrinkage process can cause damage to the fabric of your jersey, which may not be repairable. It may go down to a size smaller than what you require, in which case it will not fit you at all.

5- In situations where you gain weight or muscle, it is very difficult to stretch out a jersey that has shrunk, whether naturally or manually.

6- A shrunk jersey is more likely to have a reduced lifespan and an increased risk of tear and damage.

Do Jerseys Shrink in the Wash?

Cycling jerseys do not usually shrink easily but if they are constantly exposed to heat in a wash, they will shrink. Heat is particularly hard on synthetic fabrics such as lycra and polyester.

Natural fabrics such as cotton and wool, are also so susceptible to shrinkage from the heat in a wash, so it is important to be watchful of the heat and cleaning process you use on your jerseys.

The “material” is important for you to consider, when selecting a jersey.

If you wish to avoid natural shrinkage over time, it is best not to add these jerseys to your clothes in the wash and instead wash and dry manually.

How to Shrink Cycling Bibs?

The shrinkage process for cycling bibs is dependent on the material it is made of. You can use a machine wash to shrink the bib no matter the material but only at different wash settings.

Natural fibre materials such as cotton and wool will shrink easily and only require a medium heat application.

However, synthetic fibres such as polyester and spandex are tough to shrink and require high heat to shrink.

Shrink Cotton and Wool Bibs

STEP 1: Wash your shorts with warm water and detergent to remove stains, and to avoid them settling into the fabric.

STEP 2: Put the wet bibs in the dryer for intervals of 15 minutes at a medium heat setting.

STEP 3: Test the bibs to see if they have shrunk enough. If not, put them back in the dryer for additional 10- to 15-minute intervals.

Shrink Synthetic Fiber Bibs

STEP 1: Boil hot water and submerge the bibs in a bowl with the hot water.

STEP 2: Allow the bibs to soak in the hot water until it returns to room temperature. This usually takes about 30-45 minutes.

STEP 3: Once the water is cool, wring out the excess water from the shorts.

STEP 4: Put the bibs in the washer and wash them at the hottest water setting.

STEP 5: Put the bibs in the dryer for 40 to 50 minutes.

STEP 6: Check the bibs if they are a comfortable and suitable size. If not, put them in the dryer again for an additional drying cycle.

Tips for Maintaining Shrunk Cycling Clothes

It is also important that you know how to maintain them at their reduced size and keep them from shrinking further or becoming too loose.

Here are some tips to maintain your shrunk jerseys and bibs:

1- For regular washing in a washer, use a gentle wash cycle and warm water to wash the jerseys and bibs.

2- If handwashing the jerseys and bibs, wash in a basin with warm water and hang outside to air dry.

3- When using a dryer to dry the jerseys and bibs, use the lowest heat settings.

4- Do NOT ever use fabric softener on your cycling clothes. This is generally not advised for jerseys and bibs, whether shrunk or unaltered.

5- When washing in a washer, add other jerseys to combat the shrinking effect and always turn them all inside out.


Certain cycling jerseys fabrics can shrink over time. Buying a loose jersey without considering its material (thinking that it will shrink over time) might not be the best idea, especially in the case of polyester.

However, this does not hold true when buying those materials (such as cotton or wool) which will shrink over time.

There are also several positive and negative sides to shrinking your cycling clothes but it is always an option.


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