How to Stretch Leggings

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You’re probably wondering what the big deal is with people learning how to stretch out leggings. After all, they’re just a pair of pants. However, if you’ve ever been there, you know that it’s frustrating when your favorite leggings have shrunk and no longer fit right. 

MethodsMethods to Stretch Leggings
Method 1Use a blow dryer to aim hot air on the area you want to stretch
Method 2Wear the leggings and do some lunges or squats
Method 3Soak leggings in a mixture of hot water and salt
Method 4Soak in a mixture of baby shampoo and warm water
Method 5Soak in a solution of water and hair conditioner
Method 6Soak in a bathtub of cold water and ice cubes
Method 7Secure fabric weights on the leggings for one hour

How to Stretch Leggings

It seems like every year, leggings go in and out of style. Right now, they are still popular, so it’s time to take advantage while you can. First, here are some things to keep in mind when you stretch your leggings:

A woman wearing black leggings
  • Machine washed cold and tumble dry low. If possible, use a mesh lingerie bag to protect the delicate fabric of your leggings. This will also prevent them from getting caught on other items in the washer or dryer, which could snag them.
  • When wet, leggings are very fragile, so handle them with care. Try not to stretch the elastic while it’s wet since this will wear on the fabric over time, leading to holes or tears in your leggings.
  • Wet the cloth first if the material cannot be stretched more than 30% of its length.
  • Use a flat surface to stretch your leggings to see what areas are being stretched and how much they are being stretched, which will help prevent damage.
  • If you are trying to stretch out a piece of clothing that has dried, place it in the freezer for 3-4 hours before stretching them out.

A recent study shows that 46% of women struggle to find the right size fit no matter their shape or size. Learning how to stretch your leggings can save you a trip to the store and a lot of money.

Using a Blow Dryer

If you have a blow dryer, this is a great way to get your leggings stretched out overnight.

  1. Take a blow dryer and turn it to the lowest heat setting. 
  2. Hold it about five inches from your leggings.
  3. Hold down your leggings where you want them to stretch, and aim the hot air at this area for about 30 seconds.
  4. Hold it there until they’re completely warm, and then wear them for a while.

This is best for items that have shrunk in length or waist size. It is also important to remember that you should always check your leggings before putting them on after drying. If the fabric is weak, it may break or rip during normal wear.

Wearing and Doing Some Squats or Lunges

When trying to stretch your leggings, doing some squats or lunges in them is a great way to get the process started. The constant motion of standing and moving around will help loosen up the tight material, so it doesn’t feel so constricting when you wear them again.

Woman wearing a pair of leggings

Soaking in a Bathtub With Hot Water and Salt

This is another way to stretch out your leggings while still wet without having to use a product that could ruin them later on.

  1. Just mix one part salt and ten parts water.
  2. Place your leggings in the water, making sure they are fully submerged.
  3. Leave them there for about five minutes to stretch out the fabric and then remove them from the water.
  4. Dry by hand and lay flat to dry if you do not want to use the washing machine.

This method is best for clothes that have shrunk in the waist or length. If you do not have a bathtub to soak your leggings in, there are a few other options:

  1. Take a clean, wet towel and lay it on top of the area you want to stretch so the towel completely covers it.
  2. Secure with a thick object such as a book.
  3. Leave it there for 20 minutes to 1 hour.

Soaking in Baby Shampoo

  1. Go into your bathroom and fill a bathtub with warm water.
  2. Pour a reasonable amount of baby shampoo into the water and mix it around until there are no more bubbles.
  3. Place your leggings in the mixture and let them sit for about 10 minutes.
  4. Pull them out of the water gently, so you do not stretch or damage them.
  5. Dry your leggings by hand, so you do not ruin them in the wash.
  6. Once they are dry, wear them to stretch out the fabric.

This is an excellent option for clothes that have shrunk in length but are still wearable in their current size.

Using a Fabric Softener or Hair Conditioner

  1. Take equal parts fabric softener and water in a spray bottle.
  2. Shake up the solution to blend well, and then spritz your leggings. You can also use a hair conditioner in place of a fabric softener for this process.
  3. Once your clothing is soaked, hang them up to dry, so they do not stretch out while being worn.
  4. Repeat these steps for one or two weeks to stretch out the fabric in your leggings.

If you do not want to use products with chemicals on them, there are also natural hair conditioners that work just as well.

A woman wearing leggings

Filling Your Bathtub With Cold Water and Ice Cubes

Start by:

  1. Bring a bucket of ice cubes into your bathtub and fill it with cold water.
  2. Place your leggings in the water and leave them there for a few minutes to stretch out the fabric. You can also run a hose over your leggings.
  3. Remove the clothes from the ice water and hang them up to dry.
  4. When you are ready to wear them, make sure you are wearing light-colored pants underneath so you can see if the leggings have ripped. 

Using Fabric Weights

Fabric weights are small, circular tools used to weigh down the fabric, so it does not move around during the ironing process.

  1. Take fabric weights, which you can buy at any craft store.
  2. Secure them to the clothing you would like to stretch.
  3. Leave the weights in place for about an hour until your clothes are dry, so they do not fall off during this process.

Top Fashion Channel gives more insight on how to stretch your leggings.

18 Stylish Ways to Wear Leggings! *must-see*

Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes Leggings Shrink?

In most cases, leggings shrink as a result of washing them in hot water, drying them using high heat settings, or ironing them when still wet.

Usually, this makes the fabric yarns shorten, which makes them not as relaxed as they should be. It’s therefore advisable to wash leggings using warm water to avoid shrinkage or stretching.

Can Stretching Make My Leggings Fall Down?

In most cases, leggings fall down due to loss of elasticity, not just stretching. If you stretch shrunken leggings when the fabric is still in good condition, they can fit without falling down.

However, if the fabric has degraded and lost elasticity, the leggings can fall down even if you wash them in hot water.

Can Leggings Rip When Stretched?

There is a low possibility of the leggings ripping if you stretch them using the right tips. This is because you will lengthen the yarns of the fabric rather than stretching the seams.

In most cases, leggings rip if they are undersized or if you subject them to friction, such as the thighs rubbing when walking.


Leggings are no longer just worn for comfort; they are now seen as fashion statements. It is important to stretch them to wear them for any occasion without worrying about them shrinking. Use these methods to stretch out your leggings and then enjoy wearing them for any occasion and also when going to work.