Can Chinos Be Dry Cleaned? (Can You Machine Wash Chinos?)

Can chino pants be dry cleaned? That’s a question many people are asking these days. With the wide variety of men’s clothing available, it can often be difficult to determine if something can safely be cleaned in a washing machine or by hand.

Chinos are one of the most versatile pants you can own. Their lightweight and smooth feel make them a favorite for spring and summer. Unfortunately, the same properties that make them so comfortable also make them more delicate when it comes to cleaning and caring for them.

Treat your chinos well and they will last you for a long time. If you want your chinos to keep looking their best and not fade or stretch out, follow these suggestions…

Can Chinos Be Dry Cleaned?

You can but they will get knocked around a bit. You are better off washing them yourself in cold water and hanging dry them. Don’t wash them after every use, if they’re not dirty you can wear them a few times before you need to wash them.

 

Amazon Brand - Goodthreads Men's Athletic-Fit 5-Pocket Chino Pant, Khaki, 32W x 29L

 

  1. Generally, yes. Chinos are treated so that they are colorfast and resist stains, so in most cases, they can be dry cleaned. However, you should always check the care label on your pants before sending them out to the cleaners. If the label says “Dry Clean Only,” then that is what you should do. Washing them at home can damage the color or texture of the fabric and cause shrinkage, which will make your pants fit poorly.
  2. If your chinos aren’t labeled “Dry Clean Only” but instead have a care instruction of “machine wash cold,” then you can wash them at home in cold water on a gentle cycle with mild detergent. Hang them to dry instead of putting them in a dryer because the heat from the dryer will distort the shape of your pants and cause shrinkage.
  3. If your chinos are made from wool or other fabrics that require special care, always follow the care label instructions for best results.

Can You Machine Wash Chinos?

Hand washing is recommended over machine washing. Machine washing can cause chinos to lose their shape or fade over time. Hand washing will also leave the fabric feeling softer than machine washing.

If you do machine wash do so in cold water on a gentle cycle. Hot water can cause the color of your chinos to fade and the fabric to pill.

Hang dry your chinos instead of using a dryer. The heat from the dryer will cause the fabric to lose its softness over time, causing it to feel stiff or scratchy against your skin.

If you must use a dryer, choose settings that are low heat and short cycles. This will help prevent shrinkage or fading of colors in your chinos’ fabric.

How Do You Wash Chinos in the Washing Machine?

Chinos can be a little more tricky to wash as they do have a tendency to fade. They are quite a tough material and so tend to be more robust than other trousers. While this does make them quite hard-wearing, it also means that they can take longer to dry because of their weight, and so if you’re in a hurry then it’s best to air them rather than tumble drying them.

Tricks When Washing Chinos:

  1. Turn your chinos inside out before washing. This will protect the color of the garment.
  2. Use the gentle setting when washing your chinos and use a low temperature to wash them at 30°C or below. The lower the better!
  3. Use a liquid detergent when washing your chinos as powders can leave white residue on the fabric which can make it look old and worn out quickly.
  4. Wash your chinos with similar colors to avoid discoloring them in any way, especially if they are white or light-colored ones. You could even try mixing them with white socks or t-shirts for extra protection against color transfer from other items in the wash load such as underwear or socks.
  5. Line dry or tumble dry using a cool setting for around 15-minutes.

Should You Wash New Chinos?

A common question is whether to wash new chinos right away. It’s a question that’s easy to answer because the answer is “no.”

The reason you should hold off on washing your chinos until you absolutely have to is that most chinos are made from cotton twill, which typically requires you to break them in. This isn’t true for all types of chinos, but if you’re wearing straight-fit jeans or trousers, chances are good that you’ll have to break them in before they fit comfortably, especially in the waist and thigh areas.

 

5.11 Tactical Men' Edge Chino Pant, Stone, 32-32

 

Cotton twill is relatively sturdy and it will stretch over time with wear, but not if you wash it before it has a chance to conform to your body.

What you can do instead is wear your new pants several times (at least two) before washing them. You can wear them just around the house or at work if they’re too stiff for everyday use. Once they’ve been worn a few times, they’ll be much more comfortable and easier to move around in. Then you can wash them in cold water.

Can You Wash Chinos with Jeans?

Washing denim with chinos is a sure way to lose all the color from your chinos. The dyes in denim are strong and will run onto the chinos, leaving both garments almost completely white. It’s hard to get that dye back out of the fabric.

Treat your jeans and chinos separately, especially if they’re of different colors. You can wash blue jeans with other dark clothes or even towels, but don’t mix dark-colored fabrics with light-colored fabrics.

The safest way to keep your clothes looking nice is to wash them by themselves in cold water on a gentle cycle using a mild detergent. Don’t use bleach unless the care tag says it’s okay.

How Often Do You Wash Chinos?

There’s a reason why you should wash chinos less often. You can’t dry-clean them, but you can wash them. A lot of us still wonder how often you should wash chinos.

The answer is that it depends on the dirt and grime they’re exposed to. In some cases, it might be best to wash chinos after two wears. In other instances, you can get away with wearing them for a week or more without a wash.

When do you wash Chinos? The secret is to wash them only when you have to and get as many wears out of them as you can without washing.

Most people agree that if you are going to wear your chinos often, washing them every week is a good idea. If you are wearing your chinos less often, then once every couple of weeks is probably best for maintaining their softness and color.

How Do You Care for Chinos?

If you want to keep your chinos looking sharp, you should be careful when washing them. As a general rule, you should only wash chinos when they’re very dirty. This is because the material isn’t as sturdy as other fabrics, such as denim or canvas.

The best way to clean chinos is to hand-wash them in cold water using a mild detergent with an enzyme stain remover. Avoid using bleach and do not use fabric softener of any kind.

Tumble drying can damage the fabric so it’s best to air-dry your pants. If you have no choice but to put your pants in the dryer, use a low heat setting and remove them before they’re completely dry; this will prevent the fabric from shrinking too much. If you’re in a hurry, you can also place your chinos in the freezer while they are still wet; this will kill bacteria.

To get rid of odors, hang your pants outside on a clothesline on a hot day and let the sun do its work.

To prevent stains, make sure that you wear dark-colored underwear, if possible, and wash your pants separately from any other garments.


In summary, Chinos are a man’s best friend. They dress up for the office and down for a night out on the town. Chinos were once considered strictly casual pants, but nowadays they’re more versatile than ever. Chinos are ideal for all seasons and nearly any occasion. To get the most out of your chinos, follow these simple instructions on how to care for them.

Treat them like you would any other pair of pants that you own. Chinos act as a good foundation for a man’s wardrobe, so take good care of them to ensure that you can use them for many years to come.

You may also be interested in… Why Do Chinos Fade? and What Do Brown Chinos Go With?