How to Wash Suit Pants: A Quick and Easy Guide

Washing suit pants can be a bit tricky as they are often made of delicate material that can easily get damaged. However, if you know the proper way to wash them, you can save a lot of money on dry cleaning bills. 

Before you start washing your suit pants, it’s important to check the care label inside the trousers. The label will give you information on how to wash, bleach, dry, and iron the pants properly. 

If the label indicates that the pants should be dry cleaned, it’s best to take them to a professional cleaner. However, if the label says that the pants can be washed at home, you can proceed with caution.

If you’re unsure, read on for a few tips on how to properly wash suit pants at home: 

how to wash suit pants

Understanding Suit Pants Fabric

When it comes to washing suit pants, the very first step is to understand the types of fabrics the pants are made of. Different fabrics require different care methods. 

Identifying Fabric Type

Before washing your suit pants, it is crucial to identify the type of fabric they are made of. Here are some common types of suit pant fabrics:

  • Wool: Wool is a popular fabric for suit pants because it is durable and comfortable. However, it requires special care to avoid shrinking or damaging the fabric.
  • Cotton: Cotton is another popular fabric for suit pants. It is easy to care for and can be machine washed and dried.
  • Polyester: Polyester is a synthetic fabric that is often used in suit pants. It is durable and easy to care for, but it can be prone to static cling.
  • Silk: Silk is a delicate fabric that is often used in high-end suit pants. It requires delicate care to avoid damaging the fabric.

To identify the fabric type of your suit pants, check the care label inside the pants. The label should list the fabric type and provide care instructions.

Understanding Fabric Care Labels

Fabric care labels provide essential information about how to care for your suit pants. Here are some common care label symbols and what they mean:

  • Machine Wash: This symbol indicates that the pants are machine washable. Some labels will also show the exact temperature and detergent to use.
  • Hand Wash: This symbol indicates that the pants should be hand washed. Do not place suit pants in a washing machine if this symbol is present.
  • Dry Clean: This symbol indicates that the pants should be professionally dry cleaned. If you cannot find any professional dry cleaners, check the label for other instructions.
  • Do Not Wash: This symbol indicates that the pants should not be washed. The only way to clean the pants is to take them to a professional cleaner. 
  • Bleach: This symbol indicates whether or not the pants can be bleached.
  • Tumble Dry: This symbol indicates whether or not the pants can be tumble dried. If the symbol is present, follow the instructions on the label.
  • Hang Dry: This symbol indicates that the pants should be hung to dry. Do not place them in an electric dryer if this symbol is present. 

It is important to follow the care instructions on the label to avoid damaging the fabric. If the label give further instructions, make sure to follow those as well.

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Preparing for Washing

Before you wash any suit pants, it is important to prepare them for washing. This includes brushing away any dirt or debris, and checking all pockets and trouser cuffs for loose items. 

It is also a good idea to turn the trousers inside out before washing them. This will help protect the fabric from fading or damage during washing and drying.

Checking for Stains

Different stains will need different methods of pre-treatment. Grease stains, for example, will need to be treated with a grease-fighting laundry detergent. 

Blood stains may need to be treated with an enzyme-based cleaner, while ink and grass stains may need to be pre-treated with rubbing alcohol. 

Food particles should be brushed away using a clothes brush before washing, and any remaining stains should be pre-treated with a stain remover. 

When treating tough stains, always refer to the care label for instructions on how to treat the fabric properly. 

It is also important to check for any signs of fading or discoloration before washing suit pants. Use a cotton swab to rub a small amount of dish detergent into the stained area and let it sit for 15 minutes before washing. 

Emptying Pockets

Before washing suit pants, make sure to empty all pockets and trouser cuffs. Loose items like coins or keys can damage the washing machine and your suit pants. 

Unfastening Buttons and Zippers

Make sure to unfasten all buttons and zippers before washing suit pants. This will help prevent damage from the washing machine’s agitation. 

Sometimes, you’ll need to reattach buttons or zippers after washing. If this is the case, use a special needle and thread that is designed for delicate fabrics.

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Washing Suit Pants

Once you have prepared your suit pants for washing, it’s time to put them in the washing machine. Make sure to check the care label for instructions on how to wash the pants properly.

Hand Washing Suit Pants

If you opt for hand washing your suit pants, consider using a mild detergent. Fill the a clean sink with lukewarm water and add a few drops of detergent before submerging the pants in the water. Swish them around for several minutes, then rinse them thoroughly.

Choosing the Right Detergent

There are many different types of detergents on the market, but not all are suitable for washing suit pants. Choose a mild, gentle detergent that is specifically formulated for delicate fabrics. 

If the label calls for wool detergent, it is best to use a special detergent designed for wool fibers. It will help preserve the fabric and prevent damage. 

Also, be careful not to use too much detergent, as this can lead to excessive sudsing and possible color bleeding. 

Washing Techniques

When washing suit pants, use a gentle motion to avoid stretching or damaging the fabric. Consider using a washboard or hand-washing board to help agitate the dirt and grime out of the fabric.

If you don’t have a washboard, you can use your hands to carefully massage the fabric together. Make sure to rinse the pants thoroughly after washing and hang them up to dry.

Rinsing and Drying

Once you’ve finished washing your suit pants, rinse them in cold water to remove any remaining detergent. Then, hang the pants up to dry or lay them flat on a drying rack. 

It is important to avoid using harsh dryers and hot temperatures when drying suit pants. The heat can damage delicate materials like wool and silk. Instead, hang the pants up to air dry or use a dry towel to blot the excess water. 

Machine Washing

Machine Washing Suit Pants

On the other hand, if machine washing is recommended on the care label, you should follow these steps:

Setting the Right Temperature

Read the care label to determine the recommended temperature for washing your suit pants. Most fabrics can be washed in cold water, but some may require warm or hot water. 

Also, make sure to use a gentle cycle so that the fabric doesn’t stretch or tear during the washing process.

Choosing the Right Cycle

Washing machines often have several cycle options, and it’s important to select the right one for your suit pants. 

Choose a delicate cycle or a “hand wash” cycle if available. If there is no “hand wash” option, use the shortest washing cycle and avoid using an extra rinse cycle.

Drying Techniques

When it comes to drying suit pants, the safest option is usually air drying. To do this, hang the pants up on a clothesline or lay them flat on a drying rack. 

If you must use an electric dryer, make sure to select the low-heat setting and avoid using high temperatures. Also, remove the pants from the dryer while they are still damp to help reduce wrinkling.

Ironing and Storing

Ironing and Storing Suit Pants

Ironing and storing and the next critical steps to keeping your suit pants looking great. Depending on the fabric, you may need to select a specific iron temperature as well as storing method.

Ironing Tips

Ironing will help reduce wrinkles and restore the shape of your suit pants. For most fabrics, you should select a low or medium heat setting on your iron.

Wool, silk and cashmere will require a lower heat setting. If possible, use a steam iron to help smooth out the fabric further.

If your suit pants are made of synthetic fabric such as durable polyesters, you may need to set the iron’s heat setting higher.

Storing Tips

To store suit pants properly, fold them neatly and hang them on a padded hanger. Wooden hangers should be avoided as they can warp the fabric over an extended period of time. Wire hangers are also not recommended, as they can stretch out the suit pants.

Avoid overcrowding your closet with too many clothes and use cedar or lavender sachets in the closets to help keep bugs away from your garments.

It’s also important to keep your suit pants away from direct sunlight and heat, as this can cause fading and discoloration.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now, as you’ve learned how to properly wash and store your suit pants, let’s review some of the most frequently asked questions. 

Q: Can I use fabric softener on my suit pants?

A: It is not recommended to use fabric softeners on your suit pants as these products can damage delicate fabrics. Instead, try using a few drops vinegar in the rinse cycle to help soften the fabric. 

Q: Should I wash or dry clean suit pants?

A: It depends on the fabric of your suit pants. Most fabrics such as cotton and polyester can be safely washed at home, while delicate fabrics like wool or silk should be dry cleaned. Always check the care label before washing or dry cleaning your suit pants. 

Q: Should I use a mesh laundry bag when washing my suit pants?

A: Yes, using a mesh laundry bag can help protect your delicate fabrics from becoming damaged and tangled in the washing machine.

Plus, you should always zip or fasten the mesh bag before washing to ensure that it doesn’t open up during the spin cycle. 

Q: How often should I wash my suit pants?

A: This will depend on how often you wear them. If your suit pants are only worn occasionally, they should be washed after each wear. If you wear the same pair of suit pants on a regular basis, it is recommended to wash them at least once every two weeks. 

Q: What happens if I wash dry clean only suit pants?

A: If you wash suit pants that are labeled “dry clean only”, it can cause irreversible damage to the fabric. This includes shrinking, discoloration, and distortion of the garment’s original shape.

Always check the care label to make sure you are washing your suit pants correctly. 

Q: Can I wash my suit at home?

A: Yes, you can wash your suit pants at home. However, it is important to set the right temperature, choose the correct cycle and avoid using harsh dryers when drying your garments. 

Q: How do I wash a suit without dry cleaning it?

A: To wash a suit without dry cleaning it, you’ll need to use the gentlest cycle available on your washing machine and set the temperature to cold.

Additionally, be sure to rinse out all of the detergent after washing and hang or lay your garments on a flat surface when drying. 

The Editor’s Note

I have a very nice suit that I bought recently, and as a result, wanted to make sure I knew how to properly take care of it.

After doing some research, I discovered that suit pants require special care when washing or dry cleaning them. 

If you would like to invest in a nice suit, you should also invest in learning how to properly care for it, so that it stays looking great.

A high-quality pair of suit pants will last you for many years if it is taken care of properly, and it will make sure you look your best for any special occasion. 

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