How to Shrink a Football Jersey

By Beth Rifkin

A lack of excess material in the modern form-fitting NFL uniforms prevents a player on the opposing team from grabbing your jersey and disrupting the play. Jerseys that are too large and at least part cotton can be shrunk in the wash. Shrinkage usually only occurs when the shirt is washed for the first time; maximize results by carefully following laundry instructions.

Washing Instructions

The fabric of your jersey gets slightly stretched during construction; heat reduces the fabric back to its normal size. Therefore, the way to shrink your football jersey is to run it through the washing machine using hot water. A normal wash cycle should be satisfactory. Use laundry detergent according to directions on the bottle, the soap only helps to cleanse the shirt, it does not help or prevent the shirt to shrink. Tumble dry the jersey on high heat following the wash; make sure the jersey is completely dry before removing it from the dryer. The jersey may be washed with or without other clothing.

Limitations

Football jerseys made of pre-shrunk cotton likely will remain the same size no matter how they are washed. Fabric softener can damage some fabrics or fabric blends. Refer to the washing directions on the label on your jersey before using fabric softener.

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