Do Carhartt Shirts Shrink?

A popular brand of clothing, both as a means of fashion and workwear, Carhartt makes some of the finest garments around.

Known for their ruggedness, hard wearing materials, and stylish appearance, there are many benefits to the brand.

However, when buying high end clothes -that often boast a high end price tag – there are many concerns that people have.

Will the clothing shrink? Will it last a long time?

These are all questions that people ask, and in this article, we are hopefully going to address some of these issues and put your minds at ease.

So, without further ado, let’s get into the article!

Carhartt: The Facts


Carhartt is an American apparel company founded in 1889 by Hamilton Carhartt of Detroit, Michigan.

With a slogan of ‘honest value for an honest dollar’, Carhartt manufactured work clothes, with notable clients in the railroad industry, who were supplied with overalls, coveralls, jackets, and jeans.

Modern Products

In modern times, Carhartt are known for their full-cut, wind resistant, snag proof, heavy duty work jackets – a garment that is particularly popular with workers in heavy industry.

What Are Carhartt Clothes Made From?

Most of Carhartt’s range are made from hard wearing 12 ounce cotton canvas, with added protection such as triple stitched seams and reinforced rivets around the buttons.

Despite the rise in prices and the more fashionable direction of the brand, many of the design elements have remained the same since their inception, offering high-quality, damage-resistant clothing.

What About Their Other Products?

Their softer products, such as their range of work shirts, are made from 100% cotton (with regards to chambray designs), and are combined with Stain Breaker, FastDry, and Rugged Flex design systems to make them look great and work for you.

Do Their Clothes Shrink?

Obviously, one common concern when it comes to buying high quality, often expensive clothing is whether they will a) last a long time, and b) shrink after washing/drying.

With this in mind, let’s examine some of their main products, and hopefully put some of these concerns to bed.

Work Shirts

With any type of garment fabric, certain combinations of water temperature, heat, and material can result in shrinkage of some kind.

With regards to Carhartt’s range of work shirts, which are made from 100% cotton, they are susceptible to high temperatures, meaning that hot washes, drying, and steaming can all result in unwanted shrinkage.

However, all of Carhartt’s shirts are preshrunk before sale, meaning that further shrinkage will be harder when it comes to washing and drying your clothes post sale.

Flannel Shirts

Their range of flannel shirts consist of a 100% cotton exterior, and a 100% polyester interior.

This means that, for both materials, there is a risk of shrinkage at high temperatures.

However, as mentioned above, all of their shirts are preshrunk before sale, and while further shrinkage is unlikely, the best way to avoid this is to keep washes to below 140 degrees F (60 degrees C).

Canvas Clothing

Canvas clothing is also susceptible to shrinkage, which means that their range of jackets, and canvas overalls, are all best done with cold washes.

Fear not though, these too are preshrunk, and all come with tags detailing the specific washing and drying instructions, so that you don’t ruin your new favorite jacket.

Avoiding Further Shrinkage

Luckily, there are many ways to avoid shrinking (and potentially ruining) your Carhartt clothing.

Cool Washes

The best way to avoid further shrinking of your Carhartt clothing is to use cool to mid temperature washing cycles, and avoid using tumble dryers and steaming.

This will ensure that you don’t suffer any unwanted shrinking, and that you will get the most longevity from your clothing.

Air Drying

Air drying your clothes naturally is the best way to avoid unwanted shrinking.

This could be outdoors on a clothesline (if you live in warm or airy climates), or on a clothes horse in your home.

However, if you are using your Carhartt clothing for work, you might not have the time to waste waiting for them to dry naturally.

Under these circumstances, delicate drying cycles can be used to speed up the process, without putting too much strain on the fabric.

Encouraging Further Shrinkage

However, if your clothing is too large, or if you have lost a sudden amount of weight that means they do not fit right, then there are certain things you can do to encourage further shrinkage.

Obviously, this isn’t an exact science, and it is worth bearing that in mind before you attempt it.

Hot Washes

This is the best, and most risk free, way to shrink your Carhartt clothing.

Setting the wash to hot will apply the right amount of heat necessary to cause shrinkage, while keeping some moisture in the clothing to avoid it going too far.

However, this should still be done for a relatively short period of time.


You could also boil the items in hot water.

This should be done for a period of only five minutes, after which you should place it in the dryer for no longer than 15 minutes.

Tumble Dryer

If you are not satisfied with the level of shrinkage, then the tumble dryer should do the trick.

After washing, place the clothing in the dryer, apply a hot cycle, and leave it in for a maximum of 15 minutes.

Any longer could cause too much shrinkage, and could potentially ruin the clothing.

Final Thoughts

And there we have it, everything you need to know about Carhartt clothing, and the best ways to encourage or avoid shrinking their shirts and other items.

While these are no longer considered cheap items of clothing, there is no denying the quality level, and the effectiveness of such an iconic brand of clothing that still looks great after over 130 years of business.