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Can linen pants be hand-washed?

Discussion in 'Suits' started by dnjan, May 2, 2011.

  1. dnjan

    dnjan One Too Many

    I like linen pants for summer (especially travel), but the lighter colour tends to get dirty more easily. I have a few pair that are hand washable, but when I try to buy more they are all labeled "dry clean".

    Can I hand wash (and hang-dry) linen pants even if they are labeled dry clean?
  2. Hello there,

    You could try, i have some linen items that are labelled dry clean only, which i hand wash successfully. Cold water, of course, gentle detergent, dry flat and re-shape them well, or wrap in a towel to remove excess water, re-shape them and then hang them to dry, iron when nearly dry, with a cloth and a cool-ish iron. If in doubt dry clean though.

    (Not only do i see my Mother's face staring back at me when i look in the mirror, i'm starting to sound like her as well)!
  3. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

    The method that Miss sofia offered should do the trick. The main reasons manufacturers place a dry clean label on clothes is protect themselves from consumer claims due to shrinkage and colorfastness issues.
  4. Exactement. I was going to add that, but figured i had been bossy enough already!
  5. Bernie Zack

    Bernie Zack One of the Regulars

    Miss Sofia is dead-on accurate. Take it from a guy who spent approx. $60.00 for a pair of Jos. A. Bank linen trousers, then spent another $10.00 to alter them, only to shrink them in the dryer after a washing in cold water. And it wasn't just a little bit of shrinkage, it was significant!

    I don't even take any chances on them anymore. They go straight to the dry cleaners. The wrinkles don't make me send them to the clearners all the time, however. I have a steamer that gets them out just fine.
  6. Linen and dryers - not a good mix. I hardly ever use the dryer for anything, especially not linen which will shrink if you so much as look at it! I did the same with a linen dress once, it was just about fit for Barbie to wear after it came out the drier.

    Linen always needs re-shaping too before you air-dry it. That's why i recommend wrapping the pants in a towel to remove excess water as it makes the reshaping easier, wringing and agitating linen too much isn't a good idea.

    I'll stop now before i start putting Djnan off going anywhere near his laundry!
  7. dnjan

    dnjan One Too Many

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I guess I will try it.
    I definitely know to stay away from the drier - I do that now with a lot of the laundry (I do laundry and my wife cooks), there are a ton of plastic hangers in the basement.

    Colourfastness shouldn't be a problem with lighter "summer" pants, so that should be OK as well.
  8. Tenorclef

    Tenorclef One of the Regulars

    Oh...I wondered about this too as i have 2 linen trousers and 2 linen suits in play at the moment. I think they'll all just go to the cleaners when its time. Until then the Corby comes in very handy.
  9. What's a Corby?
  10. Corby makes trouser presses (among other things). Chances are if there's one in a hotel room it's a Corby.
  11. dnjan

    dnjan One Too Many

    Sounds like when I buy a new pair of pants I should wash them first, before having them pressed.
  12. GBR

    GBR One of the Regulars

    I would be concerned about shrinkage and loss of shape.
  13. Chances are the trousers can be handwashed but the jackets should be dry cleaned. The problem with washing a suit jacket is that the cloth may be able to handle the water but the lining (if it's made of silk or any other fragile material) and construction (padding etc.) would be damaged by the water.
  14. Jackets can also be successfully wet washed, of course.

    IMO and experience, the claims made for dry cleaning are way off base, and a good wet wash will do more good - especially for vintage goods - than anything else you can throw at the garment.

    This post should be seen as a plug for the forthcoming wet cleaning business of one of our British members.;) (Don't know if it's official yet, so I won't name names). She has worked wonders on stuff of mine that dry cleaners couldn't do a thing with.

  15. I'm not surprised at all. Going by my experience I can't help thinking that dry cleaning is simply a big scam (plus they are often terrible at doing suit alterations which is why I now use a cheaper but considerably better professional tailor).

    It would be interesting if someone could set up a steam cleaning business as well as a wet cleaners.
  16. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

    Also, Dry Cleaning is something of a misnomer as the garments are cleaned using liquid chemicals such as perchloroethylene.
  17. So it's not just a scam but also a con? :p

    Aside from that I wouldn't be surprised if chemicals like that damage the fabric. I'm quite sure cold water and soap are far less aggressive.
    Last edited: May 12, 2011
  18. Undertow

    Undertow My Mail is Forwarded Here

    I know I'm typing something wrong in the search, but didn't we have a thread with step-by-step instructions for handwashing wool suit jackets? Maybe a year ago, or so?

    Anyway, as most have said, yes, you can wash linen by hand.
    1. Make sure to dry it in the sun to keep it white.
    2. Don't use any acidic cleaners. Acids, even weak ones, can damage or destroy the fibers.
    3. You can use hot water and detergent like you would cotton.
    4. New linen should first be washed and dried, and all linen should be rolled in colorfast paper or towel to absorb any dampness to avoid mildew.
  19. I have a pair of Jos A Bank linen trousers that I hand washed in the sink with cold water the other day. Than I hung them on a hanger over the bath tub to dry. I'll be ironing them this afternoon, and from the way they look right now on the hanger, I expect they'll turn out just fine.
    The thing about hand washing in cold water with a small amount of mild detergent is, I believe, that this method will help preserve the garment longer than any other. Am I right?

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