Can You Wash Corduroy?




Can You Wash Corduroy

Corduroy, with its distinctive ribbed texture, has been a staple in fashion for decades. But when it comes to washing and maintaining this unique fabric, many are left wondering, “Can you wash corduroy?” In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve deep into the world of corduroy care, ensuring your beloved items remain in pristine condition.

A Brief History Of Corduroy

Corduroy, often referred to as the “cloth of kings,” has its roots in ancient Egypt. Over the centuries, it made its way to Europe, where it became popular among the English royalty in the 18th century.

Today, corduroy is loved globally for its unique texture, warmth, and versatility. From the rugged trousers of workers to the stylish jackets of fashionistas, corduroy has proven its timeless appeal.

The fabric’s name is believed to be derived from the French ‘corde du roi’, meaning “cloth of the king.”

This speaks volumes about its rich history and esteemed place in the world of textiles. For a deeper dive into the history of corduroy and its journey through time.

Key Features of Corduroy:

  • Ribbed Texture: The signature feature of corduroy is its vertical ribbing, known as “wales.” These wales can vary in width, leading to terms like “wide-wale” or “pinwale” corduroy.
  • Durability: Corduroy is known for its durability, making it a favorite for workwear and everyday attire.
  • Versatility: From trousers and jackets to bags and upholstery, corduroy can be found in a myriad of products.

Did You Know?

Corduroy’s unique texture is not just for aesthetics. The ribbed design provides added insulation, making it perfect for cooler climates.

The Composition of Corduroy

Understanding the composition of corduroy is crucial for its proper care. Corduroy is typically made from cotton, but it can also be found in blends with synthetic fibers like polyester. The fabric’s unique texture is achieved by weaving raised parallel cords into it.

Types of Corduroy:

  • Cotton Corduroy: The most common type, known for its softness and breathability.
  • Wool Corduroy: Offers more warmth, ideal for winter garments.
  • Synthetic Blends: Often combined with cotton to enhance durability and reduce costs.

Can You Wash Corduroy?

There are many myths surrounding the washing of corduroy. Some believe it should never see the inside of a washing machine, while others swear by hand washing. Let’s debunk some of these myths:

Myth 1: “Corduroy should never be machine washed.”

Truth: Most corduroy items, especially those made of cotton, are machine-washable. However, always check the care label first.

Myth 2: “Corduroy fades easily.”

Truth: While corduroy can fade over time, especially if exposed to direct sunlight, proper washing techniques can significantly reduce color loss.

Myth 3: “Corduroy and water don’t mix.”

Truth: Corduroy can be washed and even soaked, but it’s essential to use cold water and avoid wringing the fabric.

Pre-Washing Preparations

Before diving into the washing process, it’s essential to make some preparations to ensure the best results:

1. Check the Care Label

Always start by reading the care label on your corduroy item. This label provides valuable information on washing temperatures, drying methods, and other care instructions.

2. Sort Your Laundry

Corduroy, especially darker shades, can bleed color. It’s advisable to wash corduroy items with similar colors to prevent color transfer. Also, avoid washing corduroy with lint-producing fabrics to keep its texture lint-free.

3. Spot Cleaning

If your corduroy item has visible stains, consider spot-cleaning them before the main wash. Use a mild detergent and gently rub the stained area.

Machine Washing Corduroy: Step-by-Step

Machine washing is the most common method for cleaning corduroy. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure your corduroy remains in top condition:

Step 1

Turn Inside Out: This helps reduce friction on the outer surface, preserving the fabric’s texture and color.

Step 2

Use Mild Detergent: A gentle detergent is less harsh on the fabric and helps maintain its color and texture.

Step 3

Set the Right Temperature: Cold water is ideal for washing corduroy as it reduces the risk of shrinkage and color bleeding.

Step 4

Choose a Gentle Cycle: The delicate or gentle cycle on your washing machine is best suited for corduroy.

Step 5

Avoid Overloading: Ensure there’s enough space in the machine for water and detergent to circulate freely, ensuring a thorough cleaning.

Hand Washing Corduroy: A Gentle Alternative

For those who prefer a more hands-on approach or have particularly delicate corduroy items, hand washing is an excellent alternative:

Step 1

Fill a Basin with Cold Water: Cold water is gentle on the fabric and helps prevent shrinkage.

Step 2

Add a Mild Detergent: Swirl the water to create a soapy solution.

Step 3

Submerge the Corduroy Item: Gently agitate the water with your hands, allowing the detergent to penetrate the fabric.

Step 4

Soak for 15-30 Minutes: This helps lift dirt and stains from the fabric.

Step 5

Rinse Thoroughly: Ensure all detergent is washed out to prevent residue buildup.

Hand washing is a gentle method that can prolong the life of your corduroy items.

Drying Corduroy the Right Way

Drying corduroy requires some care to maintain its shape and texture:

  • Air Dry: Whenever possible, opt for air drying. Lay the corduroy item flat on a clean towel, reshaping it as needed. Avoid hanging corduroy as it can stretch the fabric.
  • Avoid Direct Sunlight: Sunlight can fade the color of corduroy. Dry in a shaded area or indoors.
  • Tumble Dry: If you must use a dryer, choose a low heat setting and remove the item while it’s still slightly damp. This reduces the risk of shrinkage.

Corduroy Care Beyond Washin

Once your corduroy is clean and dry, there are additional steps to ensure it remains in top condition:

Ironing Corduroy: Dos and Don’ts


  • Do Turn Inside Out: Always iron corduroy inside out to prevent flattening the fabric’s distinctive ridges.
  • Do Use Steam: A steam iron can help relax wrinkles without applying direct heat.


  • Don’t Use High Heat: Corduroy can scorch easily. Use a medium or low heat setting on your iron.
  • Don’t Press Down Too Hard: Gentle strokes are enough to smooth out most wrinkles.

Storing Corduroy Items

  • Fold Delicate Items: Items like corduroy shirts or lightweight pants can be folded and stored in drawers.
  • Avoid Overcrowding: Ensure corduroy items have enough space in your closet to prevent unwanted creases.
  • Store in a Cool, Dry Place: Moisture can damage corduroy, leading to mold or mildew.

Final Thoughts

Corduroy is a fabric that requires some special care when laundering to maintain its texture. Follow the fabric label directions and tips on water temperature, washing cycles, and drying methods.

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