Every winter, corduroy clothing makes a comeback. This fabric is extremely durable and warm and has a distinct look that can quickly upgrade even the most basic outfit.
This uniqueness is due to the vertical ridges (also known as wales) that run parallel to each other over the entirety of the garment.
These cords are made by weaving extra strips of yarn into the base fabric. Unfortunately, they make corduroy a more delicate fabric, meaning you must be careful when washing it.
By reading this article, you will learn how to wash corduroy while maintaining its original integrity and timeless look.
Continue for a comprehensive guide including instructions for machine washing, removing lint, and treating stains.
How to Machine-Wash Corduroy
As with many clothing items, the safest way to wash corduroy is by hand. Unfortunately, this can be very time-consuming, especially if you have multiple garments that need to be cleaned.
If you want to give hand-washing a go, feel free to read our detailed hand-washing guide.
If you don’t have the patience to wash corduroy by hand, you can machine-wash it instead. Follow the instructions below to machine-wash corduroy without the risk of damage.
Step 1: Separate your laundry
Before loading your corduroy items into the washing machine, you must properly separate your laundry.
As with any wash, it’s essential that you sort your lights, whites, and darks into three piles. This will help prevent any dye transfer between different items during the wash cycle.
When it comes to washing corduroy, it is also important to avoid washing any lint-producing fabrics at the same time. Some of the most common offenders include wool, towels, and felt.
If you add these lint-producing items into the washer, any lint that is produced will easily stick to the corduroy.
Unfortunately, the distinctive ridges in the fabric make these lint particles particularly challenging to remove.
Although the lint will come off the corduroy eventually, it is always best to avoid washing these items together to prevent the issue.
Step 2: Prepare the garment for washing
Once you have separated your laundry, check the care label instructions on any corduroy garments you wish to clean before loading the clothing into your washing machine.
Most corduroy items can safely be machine washed, but you will come across the occasional dry-clean-only garment.
You then need to fasten any buttons or zips on each garment and turn them inside out before loading them into the machine.
This helps prevent any fading or snags from occurring during the wash cycle and makes it harder for any lint particles to stick to the outside of the fabric.
Step 3: Select the correct washing cycle
When washing corduroy, you must ensure your washing machine is set to a ‘Delicate’ wash cycle. This pre-programmed setting is designed to wash your clothing in the gentlest way possible, limiting the chance of any damage occurring.
Depending on the make and model of your washing machine, this delicate cycle may also be labelled as ‘Gentle’, or have a unique name. You can use our guide on washing delicates without a delicate cycle for more help choosing an appropriate cycle.
Alternatively, check your user manual. You will want to select the cycle that uses cold water and a low spin speed.
If possible, also choose a shorter spin cycle or an easy iron setting to stop the waling in the corduroy from becoming wrinkled or distorted. You can then add your laundry detergent to the machine and allow the cycle to run.
Step 4: Leave the corduroy to dry
At the end of the wash cycle, remove your corduroy garments from the machine drum and let them air dry. For corduroy, the best way to do this is by hanging them on an outdoor clothesline or a non-heated airer indoors.
This is typically the best drying method, as contact with a heat source can cause damage to the corduroy ribbing.
This being said, you can place corduroy in the tumble dryer if needed. Simply ensure you check the care label first, use a low heat setting, and remove the item while it is still slightly damp to prevent unwanted damage.
If the corduroy appears wrinkled after drying, do not iron it. Although this will remove the wrinkles, the heat and pressure will also flatten the waling and ruin the overall look of the corduroy.
How Do You Get Lint Off of Corduroy?
Even if you always separate your laundry as directed above, there will probably come a time when your corduroy garment comes out of the wash covered in lint.
Unfortunately, the ridges in the fabric act as a magnet to these particles, so any accumulated lint can be incredibly challenging to remove.
Although you can simply use a sticky lint brush, bad cases may require a more in-depth cleaning routine. We suggest trying the following method for the best results:
- Take the garment out of the wash and turn it right side out.
- Use your fingers to remove the largest pieces of lint.
- Place the item in the tumble dryer on a low heat setting. The lint trap will catch most of the smaller pieces that are released so they don’t reattach to your clothing.
- Remove the garment from the dryer while it is still damp and give it a thorough shake to remove any loose pieces of lint.
- Use a clothes brush, lint brush, or tape to remove any remaining build-up.
If there is still lint on the corduroy after this process, place the garment back in your washing machine with 240 ml of distilled white vinegar and run a rinse cycle. The vinegar will help to loosen the fabric so that the remaining lint can easily be released. You can then follow the steps above once more.
Although it won’t be as effective, you can also try spraying your garment with an anti-static spray and then repeating step 5.
This is an ideal solution if you don’t have time to re-wash the corduroy, but we recommend using vinegar first for the best results.
How Do You Get Stains Out of Corduroy?
While corduroy is typically made from cotton, it can be harder to remove stains from this material compared to other cotton clothing. This is because the distinct waling of the fabric holds the stain between the ridges, making it harder to reach.
Thankfully, it isn’t impossible to remove these stains. If you act quickly, a simple wash will remove any stains without any trouble. However, more set-in stains will require the help of a stain remover.
Below are two options for removing these stains that can be done using products you’ll likely have in your home already:
- Bicarbonate of soda paste: Bicarbonate of soda (also known as baking soda) is an amazing natural cleaner that will remove most stains from your corduroy without causing any damage to the fabric. Simply combine some of the powder with cold water to create a paste and apply it directly to the stained area. Once the paste has dried, brush it off the fabric to remove the stain.
- Diluted laundry detergent: Laundry detergent is specifically formulated to clean your clothes, so it’s no surprise that it can also be used as an effective stain remover. To use, you need to mix a 1:1 ratio of detergent and water together. This can then be applied to the stain and scrubbed into the fabric using an old toothbrush.
No matter which stain removal technique you choose, always wash the garment before wearing it again. For the best results, follow our detailed instructions as given above.
Hannah is a freelance content writer with a passion for cleaning. She worked her way around Australia by cleaning hostels in exchange for free accommodation and used her cleaning skills to bag her a job as a chalet host for a luxury ski company in France.