Wether you are going for a run, relaxing at the beach, or barbecuing in the back yard, your shorts are bound to get dirty. 

Our article provides step-by-step instructions on how to wash shorts made from almost any fabric, including cotton, polyester, spandex, rayon, and blended fabrics.

The shorts can range from jean shorts to khaki shorts to dress shorts to board shorts, really, any kind of short!

Using the machine washing is the best and most convenient way to wash shorts, however if you do not have access to a washing machine, you can also hand wash them. 

Our article has detailed instructions on how to wash shorts in the washing machine as well as how to wash shorts by hand. 

Table of Contents

  • Fastest way to wash shorts: Wash by hand
  • Best way to wash shorts: With washing machine

How To Wash Shorts

Total Time: 2 hr 45 min

Cost: $0.53

Supplies & Tools

  • Washing machine
  • Laundry detergent
  • Mesh laundry bag (optional)
this is a photo of a washing machine
Washing machine
this is a photo of a laundry detergent that you will need you wash your shorts
Laundry detergent
this is a photo of a mesh laundry bag
Mesh laundry bag

The washing instructions below are safe to use with shorts made from every type of fabric (not including delicates such as silk or wool) including cotton, polyester (can you shrink polyester), spandex, nylon, rayon, and blended fabrics. 

However if you find the instructions to take you out of your comfort zone you can instead take your shorts to your local dry cleaners. These professionals will take care of your shirts with the care they deserve. Learn how much dry cleaning costs and how long dry cleaning takes.

Before you put your shorts in the washing machine, you need to sort your laundry into the correct piles. Wash white clothes with whites, wash dark clothes with darks and wash colored clothes with other colors.

Follow the instructions below to wash shorts in the washing machine.

How To Wash Shorts

1. Turn the shorts inside out

Turn the shorts inside out. Be sure to empty the front and back pockets if there are any, before washing. If the shorts have a drawstring, you may wish to tie it so that it does not get pulled in the washing machine. (Optional: Place the shorts into a mesh laundry bag)

this is a pair of shorts turned inside out
this is a photo of shorts being turned inside out and placed in a mesh laundry bag before being washed

2. Place the shorts in the washing machine

Place the shorts in the washing machine and add liquid laundry detergent. Make sure the laundry detergent you are using is suitable for the color as well as type of fabric that your shorts are made from.

this is a photo of shorts placed in laundry machine with laundry detergent

3. Wash shorts on delicate

Adjust the settings on the washing machine to the gentle/delicate setting. If the shorts are more dirty, you may wish to use the normal setting.

this is a photo of a washing machine set to delicate

4. Wash shorts in cold water

Use the cold water setting on the washing machine. Wash shorts with cold water to avoid shrinking and color fading. Hot water will shrink your shorts.

this is a photo of a laundry machine set o cold water to wash shorts

5. Push start on your shorts wash

Push start and run the wash cycle (how long does a washer take?).

this is a photo of the start button pushed on a washing machine to wash shorts

6. Air dry your shorts

Once finished, remove the shorts from the washing machine and hang or lay flat on a drying rack to air dry (line dry or dry flat.) If you would like to use the dryer, use the air dry or tumble dry low setting.

this is a photo of shorts being air dried on a table

Learn how to use a dryer properly  with our detailed article. Also understand how long does a dryer take.

How to wash shorts: quick tip

Wash your shorts with other garments with similar texture, color, and weight and that are made from a similar type of fabric. Sorting your laundry will help to keep your whites white, your darks dark, and will help to maintain the quality of your clothes for a longer period of time.

How To Wash Shorts By Hand

Total Time: 1 hr 45 min

Cost: $0.53

Supplies & Tools

  • Water basin
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Towel 
this is a photo of a water basin to wash shorts by hand
Sink
this is a photo of liquid laundry detergent to wash shorts by hand
Liquid detergent
this is a photo of a towel to wash shorts by hand

1. Fill water basin with room temp water for the shorts

Fill the water basin of your choice with enough room temperature water to cover the shorts by an inch.

this is a photo of a water basin being filled with tap water

2. Add liquid laundry detergent to the water

Add liquid laundry detergent. Add only a single squirt or 1/4 of a cap full. Remember that this is only for one piece of clothing, not an entire load. Make sure the detergent you choose to use is appropriate for the fabric and color of your shorts.

this is a photo of liquid laundry detergent added to water to wash shorts by hand

3. Soak the shorts in the mixture for ten minutes

Submerge the shorts in the water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Push the shorts down and swish them around until they are fully saturated with the soapy water and sitting below the water level.

this is a photo of shorts being soaked for ten minutes

4. Swish the shorts around for two minutes

Use your hands to agitate the shorts in the water. Swish, grab, squeeze, twist and all around beat up the shorts. Wash the shorts with your hands until you feel they have been adequately cleansed.

this is a photo of shorts being swished around in a soapy water basin to clean them

5. Rinse out the soapy shorts with clean water

Rinse the shorts under cold tap water until all the soap has been completely rinsed out and the water runs clear.

this is a photo of tall paul rinsing out soapy shorts with clean tap water

6. Wring then roll the shorts in a towel

Wring the shorts out with your hands then roll them in an absorbent towel to remove excess water.

this is a photo of shorts being rolled in a towel to get excess water off them

7. Air dry the shorts so they don't shrink

Hang the shorts or lay flat to air dry them. If you are short on time and need to  use the dryer, put it on the air dry or tumble dry low settings.

this is a photo of shorts air drying after being washed by hand

FAQ

This depends on how often you wear them and also what they are being used for. If you are wearing your shorts to the gym during cardio day, then you should wash them after every use. If you are just going out for a quick lunch in the shorts, wash them when dirty or after you have worn them a handful of times. 

Wash shorts inside out to expose the dirtiest part of the garment to the washing detergent, as well as to protect the outer surface of the shorts. 

Clean dirty shorts by either machine or hand washing them. Washing shorts in the washing machine is the most effective way to wash them and is done by turning them inside out, placing them into the washing machine with the appropriate laundry detergent, and washing on delicate with cold water.