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Khakis with a dry-clean label - can they be put in the wash?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I recently bought some Ralph Lauren Purple Label khaki pants. I was just about to put a pair in the wash and noticed that the care label said dry-clean only.

They are 100% cotton and my intention is to use them casually i.e. I don't mind if they get a little beat up. Do you think it is ok to put them in the wash despite the care label? I can understand why one would want to dry-clean a delicate cotton shirt, but am not sure why this would be so for regular weight khakis.
post #2 of 10
Machine washing (vs Dry cleaning) will have 2 effects: 1) the pants will shrink, assuming you toss them in the dryer after washing and 2) the pants will lose a bit of the luster, or shine, that new RL cotton pants sometimes have.

The pants shrink quite a bit in the length, so if you're going to wash them, then do so before you have them hemmed.

The seat/rise/legs shrink a little bit. The waist shrinks a little bit too; maybe 1 inch, or 1/2 size (i.e., from a 34 to a 33, but not down a full size to a 32). Sometimes, a small gathering can occur at the waist band if the pant legs shrink at a different rate than the waist band.
post #3 of 10
I have a pair of RL khakis, non-purple label. The tag says dry clean only but I have not had a problem washing them in the machine. I did not notice significant shrinkage, but I dry without heat.
post #4 of 10
The dry clean only labels are meaningless. I wash everything... just be smart about it.
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noah.Dreams View Post

The dry clean only labels are meaningless. I wash everything... just be smart about it.


do you wash your suits as well?

post #6 of 10
Put it in one of those net like bags with a zipper that women use to wash their delicates and wash it on its own in a delicate cold cycle. The challenge is to get a bag large enough for a pair of khakis. I have a similar RLPL khaki but its a very fine thin cotton instead of drill cotton. And as stated, it will shrink somewhat. Use delicate detergent and the usual kind. Its a real chore, clothes maintenance.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
I put a single pair in the wash last night to test and everything looks normal. I'm not sure what dry cleaning would have given me above and beyond regular washing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by H2T View Post

Put it in one of those net like bags with a zipper that women use to wash their delicates and wash it on its own in a delicate cold cycle. The challenge is to get a bag large enough for a pair of khakis. I have a similar RLPL khaki but its a very fine thin cotton instead of drill cotton. And as stated, it will shrink somewhat. Use delicate detergent and the usual kind. Its a real chore, clothes maintenance.
post #8 of 10
The cotton will shrink some but the lining in the waistband, innerlining, pocketing even the thread used to sew with all respond differently to washing. You may get shrinkage on the inside of the waistband that will distort the way things are layered. Dry cleaning is safer. Pressing washed cotton is a pain, especially the top part of the trouser.
Saying this because I see the trousers that get washed and can't be fixed when something goes wrong.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
I bought several pairs so was willing to experiment with one of them and so far looks ok. For me, khakis need to be low maintenance whether Purple Label or Gap. If I have issues with the pair I washed in the next month or so, I'll return the others.
post #10 of 10
The real issue is not whether it CAN be washed. The issue is whether it SHOULD be washed.

Here are 4 things to think about before taking the plunge....

1. The inside of the waistband of RL Purple Label khaki trousers is white. Many such waistbands have a decorative strip of purple fabric (about 1/8 of an inch) in the center of that white waistband. Iv'e seen many RL Purple Label khakis where that purple fabric has bled when washed or wet cleaned.

2. Despos correctly points out that the materials used in the construction of the waistband can get distorted when washed or wet cleaned. In RL Purple Label khakis, the lower edge of the inside of the waistband is prone to "twisting" when washed or wet cleaned. It takes a skilled presser, armed with the right equipment, a lot of time to even out that twisting. Failure to correctly smooth out the twisted edge in the waistband creates discomfort for the wearer.

3. The dyes used in RL Purple Label khakis are prone to crocking when incorrectly washed or wet cleaned. Crocking are those whitish streaks you see in denim jeans after a few washes.

4. If you decide to wash or wet clean, you may experience some shrinkage in length. In 3 above, I mentioned that these RL Purple Label khakis have dyes that are prone to slight crocking. Even though you might not have cleaned these before, you might already be able to see evidence of crocking by examining the sharp edge of the hem of the trouser. Do you see a whitish line developing along the hem? If you do see a faint whitish line and if you experience some shrinkage in length as a result of washing or wet cleaning, the lengthening of the trouser will permanently expose that whitish line.

If you do decide to wash them, please post your results.
Edited by stubloom - 11/18/11 at 6:48am
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