Should You Zip and Button Your Pants Before Washing Them?

Pants come in many different materials, from nylon and cotton to polyester, wool, and linen. Some of these materials are tougher, while others are quite delicate. Regardless of the material, however, you’ll need to wash your pants at some point, and when you do so, should you zip and button them?

You should zip your pants and button your pants before washing them. If you leave them unzipped or unbuttoned, they could snag and pull at one another, causing damage. Also, remember to turn them inside out before washing.

Let’s take a closer look at how to wash and dry your pants properly so that you can get it right with every pair, every time.

How to Wash Pants the Right Way

Man picking up jeans out of the washing machine

On average, a US household spends $183.79 on laundry each year. Add the cost of the occasional trip to the dry cleaner, and things start to add up. You can reduce the laundry bill by learning to wash your pants professionally — at home.

Pants are made of different fabrics, including linen, polyester, wool, cotton, and even blends of these fabrics. For this reason, the method of washing differs from one pair of pants to the next. 

The best way to go about it is to check the laundry label. Some of these fabrics can be machine washed only, while others should be hand-washed. Whichever cleaning method you use, make sure you zip or button the pants so nothing pulls or snags other items you’re washing. Also, remember to turn the pants inside out.

Unlike washing shirts, you don’t need to wash your pants after wearing them only once unless they’re particularly dirty or stained. Generally, you can wash them after 2 or 3 wears.

Using a Washing Machine

To get the best wash, start by carefully reading the laundry label. The label has information on washing, drying, bleaching, and ironing. The next thing to check is the fabric. Some fabrics, such as silk, velvet, and suede, are synthetic and can’t be cleaned with water and soap, necessitating dry cleaning. If the pants fade, you must dry-clean them.

On the other hand, fabrics like linen, nylon, wool, and cotton can be hand-washed or machine-washed using a gentle cycle.

One way of determining whether a fabric needs dry cleaning is by spot testing. Put some water on the inside part of the pants, dab some detergent, and rub lightly with a cotton swab. If you see color on the swab, that means you should go for dry cleaning.

When machine-washing, use cold water. Button or zip the pants and remove everything in the pockets. Put the pants in a mesh laundry bag (on Amazon) to protect them against excessive friction.

You can then put it in the washing machine. Use an organic or mild detergent (on Amazon), and use a gentle cycle. Your pants should come out looking like new!

Hand-Wash Your Pants

If your pants are hand-washable, then washing them by hand is the best option. You can do this by filling up your sink with cold water, or, if you have a lot of pants, you can use a bathtub. Don’t mix fabrics of different colors; wash light-colored fabrics separately from dark-colored fabrics.

Add an organic or mild detergent to the water and agitate it until it becomes frothy. You can then put the pants in the water to soak. Press and scrub gently with your hands, focusing more on areas with stains or dirt. You can let the pants stay in the water for about 15 minutes and continue pressing.

Drain off the soapy water, then refill the bathtub with clean water. Press the pants lightly to remove the detergent. If you’re sure you’ve removed the detergent, you can remove the pants from the bathtub and start the drying process.

What Water Temperature Should You Be Using?

Opinions vary when it comes to the right temperature for washing pants, but what most experts agree with is that, if you’re in doubt, use cold water. Cold water isn’t aggressive and doesn’t cause fading.

It also uses less energy and won’t cause shrinkage. However, if the water in your washing machine gets too cold, it’s better to use warm water because most detergents can’t dissolve in water at a temperature below 58 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cold water below 80°F can effectively remove fruit and protein stains, so it’s best for everyday laundry. Warm water (90°F) is good for dirty white pants and other clothing like bed sheets, jerseys, and towels.

Hot water (above 130°F) is excellent for heavily soiled white pants, but you should allow the pants to stay in the hot water for a long time. Once you’ve loosened the dirt, you can continue washing with cold water. You can determine the right temperature for washing your pants by checking their care label.

How Much Detergent Is Too Much?

Jeans soak in powder detergent water dissolution

To determine whether you’re using too much detergent, check your already washed clothes. If the wet clothes feel a little soapy, sticky, or slimy, it’s likely that they have residual detergent. That’s a clear sign you’re using too much detergent. 

There‘s no formula for determining how much detergent is enough, but you’ll get the hang of it as you gain experience doing your laundry. Always stick to the manufacturer’s recommended detergents and method of washing.

Should I Air-Dry My Pants or Throw Them in the Dryer?

It’s not recommended to put pants in the dryer; instead, you can hang them up to dry. If the pants have pleats, make sure you fold them along those pleats before hanging to prevent wrinkles.

If you want your pants to dry faster, you can remove excess water from them using a clean, dry towel. 

Lay the towel on a flat surface, lay your pants on the towel then roll the pants inside the towel. Squeeze the towel a little to absorb water from the pants. You can then hang the pants or lay them on another dry towel to air dry. Once your pants are dry, you can iron and store them.