Posted on by Miguel

Can You Wash Suit Pants? A to Z guide

This seems to be a common confusion among so many around us- "Do I machine wash my dress pants?" or "Can I use the hand washing technique for my suit pants instead?"

We understand the fear of things going berserk when washing dress pants comes to mind, especially because we end up spending at least a few hundreds to find the best fit for us. Keeping this in mind, we're here to guide you through the process so you don't lose your mind when you wear dress pants and end up with pesky little spots on an occasion.


Decide the Washing Technique: Do a Spot Test

Before deciding whether to go for a dry cleaning at a professional dry cleaners or DIY at home, you need to make sure which is the right choice.

To do so, soak a part of the clothing inside in room temperature water. Testing so on a hidden spot will allow avoiding any risks of ruining your beloved dress pants.

Next, keep it on a flat surface and rub a cotton swab with mild detergent over the wet part. Notice if any dye comes off the fabric. If not, you can safely opt for washing them by yourself. In case you find dye bleeding from the pants, the best bet would be to get it dry cleaned at a nearby store.

Washing Dress Pants: Using a Washing Machine

Before you start to start to wash dress pants, always read what the washing instructions on the label has to say. Given that the tag strictly requires you to avoid a machine wash, you must adhere to it.

Assuming that the dress pants are safe to put into a washing machine, turn the pants inside out before heading off to the next step. Doing so will keep the outer fabric intact and out of harm's way from fading off and losing any buttons.

A little trick however, is to use mesh bags. Once you have folded the pants and secured them in a mesh bag, the following move is to set the washing machine on the gentlest cycle.

Operating the machine in a gentle cycle with cool water and mild laundry detergent will save the pants' thread from gradual wear and tear. On the other hand, a harsh laundry detergent is a BIG NO to avoid the color from fading off.

Wash Dress Pants By Hand

Wash Dress Pants By Hand

Considering that you've chosen to opt for the traditional way, you'll have to grab a bucket full of cold water or maybe just fill a sink with enough of the same.

Our only advice is to skip using warm or hot water at any cost as it'll only make the pants to shrink and become unwearable.

When the pants are saturated with water, pour in some mild detergent and scrub it gently in the soapy water.

Spot Clean the Dress Pants during Hand Wash

The major trouble with dress pants is when you're left with a stain on your uber-expensive pants and has you terrified to your bones.

Now, removing stains are quite tricky to deal with, particularly when it comes to suit jackets and pants. To make sure you don't end up with a disaster when going with the hand wash method, let us help you get some idea on the quick fix based on the fabric:

  • Cotton Pants will require you to pick out a light acid, let's say, lemon or vinegar, which is easily available at every household
  • Synthetic Pants don't really need special attention, so apply mild detergent and you're good to go!
  • Wool Pants should be washed with a special wool detergent
  • Silk Pants must be saturated with cold water before stain removal with glycerin as it's a very delicate fabric to deal with

How to Dry Dress Pants

How to Dry Dress Pants

Never put your suit pants in the dryer when the label indicates it to be a "dry clean only" pants.

Towel Dry

Instead, use the towel dry technique. For this, grab your clean dress pants and enfold it with a clean and dry towel. Then simply press the rolled up towel to soak up the excess water.

Air Dry

Once you've repeated this step for a couple of times, it's time to air dry the pants.

While you're at it, one thing that you must stick to, is to hang dry the trousers to avoid waking up to crinkled ones. Be sure that it's completely dry by leaving them overnight.

Ironing or Steaming

For this, adjust your iron to a low heat setting and start the process. However, to achieve the perfect outcomes, we'd recommend you to follow these steps:

  1. Turn the slacks inside out and go for the pockets first.
  2. As soon as you're done, put them back outside.
  3. Lastly, iron along the crease. In case you've never done this before, just align the inseams and lay the pants on the ironing board. Then simply iron or steam over the edges and you're done!
    Guessing that you're still perplexed, go on and watch some tutorials on YouTube.

Post-Cleaning Care Instructions for Suit Trousers

Post-Cleaning Care Instructions for Suit Trousers

Use a Suit Brush

Use a clothes brush to brush the suit pants after every wear. This will help avoiding dust accumulation and keep it shiny on the go.

Store it Properly

Suit pants should never be folded flat and stored inside the cabinet. Instead, fold them by the pleats and hang it with a clothes hanger.

Commonly Asked Questions

Can suit pants get wet?

Wet pants are completely normal, unless the label inside says otherwise. The wisest choice in this case would be to carefully read the instructions indicated on the tag and follow it aptly.

Is there an ideal temperature to wash pants?

Cutting to the chase, yes!

The first thing to do is to look for temperature indications on the label. If your query isn't met, we'd suggest you lean toward cold water as an escape. Warm water is a no-no because it will only damage the fabric and make the stains permanent. 

Do Suit Pants Shrink?

In simple words, it depends.

Suit trousers made from polyester are devoid of shrinking, whereas those made from natural fibers (cotton, silk, or wool) will shrink if they're washed in hot water. Dry cleaning the pants, whatever material they are, is an easy way out. 

In a nutshell, washing your dress pants although pretty risky, isn't impossible. Just follow our advice and you'll end up with a job well done!