Can I Wash Dry Clean Only Pant?

Question; I have several pairs of pants that are labeled “dry clean only” that are made of a blend of polyester, rayon, and spandex, and are lined with 100% polyester. Can I get away with washing these on the hand wash cycle in my machine, or should I definitely dry clean them? I accidentally washed a pair (unlined) and even dried them and they are okay, but I’m worried about attempting this regularly.

Answer; Here are some things you need to consider before you was them, the material and the color. How will the color and material react in the hand wash cycle, will it shrink, pill up, tear, fade, streak or transfer in color from one pattern to another.

With the materials you mentioned the only concern I have is the rayon. Rayon is a fiber made from wood pulp and will become stiff when wet. This stiffness can cause it to break in the wash or cause pilling of the nap (little fuzz balls). The polyester and spandex are washable without any problems. The other thing to consider is the color. You didn’t mention what color they were so you’ll have to evaluate that yourself. Dark color fade more that light colors, reds fade more than all other colors, than comes blue and black. Test for color fastness or color loss by using a little soap and water applied to a white towel then dab a hidden area inside the waist or hem. If you have no or slight color loss you can turn the pants inside out before you wash them to prevent streaking of color. Use a pH neutral soap like ECOS as well as add in a small amount of vinegar (approx 1 oz per 3 gal of water) to help prevent color loss.

If garments are expensive or there is a large amount of rayon material or excess color loss in testing I would recommend Dry Cleaning them to preserve the integrity of the garment. Otherwise hand washing or hand wash cycle will be alternative.

Good luck

Karl Huie

Pacific Heights Cleaners in San Francisco and Sausalito is your non toxic alternative to solvent dry cleaning, proudly leading the way in garment care today and into a healthy future.

Marin and San Francisco’s First Certified Dry Cleaner

Other Articles of Interest:

How To Eliminate Shrinkage!

How to Care for Your Dark Color Garments

What Happens When You Wash Rayon?

How do I set the dye on a black jacket?

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