How to Wash Sweatpants: Clean and Soft

Use the proper methods to wash your sweatpants so you do not shrink or damage them.

How to Wash Sweatpants

Grey Sweatpants

Sweatpants are typically made from either 100% cotton fleece or a combination of cotton & polyester. Sweatpants made from 100% cotton should be washed in cold water to avoid shrinking, while sweatpants made from a cotton-polyester blend should be washed in cold water to avoid damaging the polyester fibers.

This is How to Wash Sweatpants: Clean and Soft.

Hey guys, welcome to the guide that will make sure your sweatpants never smell again!

First off, you need to realize that knowing how to wash your sweatpants won’t help you with your other pieces of clothing. To help you, we created these articles.

Use this article as your step-by-step guide on how to wash sweatpants. Using the proper methods to wash your sweatpants will allow you to keep them softer, cleaner, and in good condition for a longer period of time. 

If you come to realize you don’t have time to wash your sweatpants properly then you can opt to take them to a dry cleaner. Learn more about how long dry cleaning takes and how much dry cleaning costs.

How to Wash Sweatpants

Use these instructions to properly hand and machine wash your 100% cotton or cotton polyester blend sweatpants (can you shrink polyester?). Always check the care instructions on your sweatpants‘ label before you wash, dry, or iron them, to make sure there are no special treatment methods required. 

Be sure to always wash white clothes with other light colours, wash dark clothes with other dark colours and wash coloured clothes with the same colours.

Make sure you understand fully what you need to do so you prevent your sweatpants from shrinking and from forming lint balls.

1. How to Machine Wash Sweatpants

Follow these 6 simple steps to properly and safely wash your sweatpants

  1. Turn your sweatpants inside out. This protects the outer layer of your sweatpants and allows for greater contact between the detergent and the dirtiest part of your pants.
  2. Set the washing machine to the cold water setting and add detergent and fabric softener if you wish. Using hot water will shrink your sweatpants.
  3. Run the rinse cycle.
  4. Remove the sweatpants from the washing machine and place them into the dyer.
  5. Run the dryer on tumble dry low.
  6. Once finished, remove the sweatpants from the dryer, turn them inside out once more, and enjoy your fresh and clean sweatpants.

You may be short on time to wash your favourite t-shirt, do you know how long does a washer take?. Do you know how long does a dryer take or how hot does a dryer get?

After your sweatpants are dry, check them for lint balls and remove them if you see any. Then fold or roll your sweatpants to put them away properly.

2. How to Hand Wash Sweatpants

If you don’t have access to a washing machine, use these step-by-step instructions to guide you while hand washing your sweatpants. 

  1. Turn your sweatpants inside out to protect the outer layer and to allow for more contact between the detergent and the dirtiest parts of the pants.
  2. Fill a basin with cool or lukewarm water no hotter than 77°F or 25°C.
  3. Submerge the sweatpants in the water and let them soak for 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Use your hands to turn and move your sweatpants in the water.
  5. Once finished, run the sweatpants under cold water until the water runs clear and the detergent is completely washed out.
  6. Wring the sweatpants out to remove excess water, or flat dry on a drying rack for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  7. Put the sweatpants into the dryer and run the dryer on tumble dry low.
  8. Remove the sweatpants from the dryer, turn inside out once again, and enjoy!

Using the dryer can lead to shrinking of your sweatpants, to not allow that to happen look into how to line dry and drying your sweats without a dryer.

What to Wear With Sweatpants

In the past sweatpants were only worn at home or to the gym. Now there are a variety of ways to style your outfit around your sweatpants so that they can be worn during a wider variety of occasions.

Learn how to style sweatpants with our style guide.

Your grey, black, or white sweatpants can be styled with different running shoes, clean sneakers (Yourshoelaces must be clean), boots, leather boots, graphic tops, and sweatshirts, to make a great looking outfit. To learn about styling options read our article what to wear with sweatpants.

How to Shrink Sweatpants

If your sweatpants are too big or you stretched them out and want to shrink them, read our detailed article on how to shrink sweatpants.

You should also read this article if you do not wish to shrink your sweatpants. If you do not wish to shrink your sweatpants the main thing you want to avoid is heat. Do not put your sweatpants in the washer or dryer while using the high heat settings (learn your tumble dry settings)

How to Shrink Other Clothes

With each piece of clothing being made from different fabrics, you will want to shrink them separately. Here are our top guides for shrinking your clothes.

How to Wash Sweatpants FAQ

In order to keep your sweatpants soft during the wash cycle you should use the right detergent, turn your sweatpants inside out, wash your sweatpants with garments made from similar materials, and consider running an extra rinse cycle.

Yes, you should turn your sweatpants inside out when washing. Turning your sweatpants inside out during the rinse cycle will protect the outer layer of your sweatpants, while also creating more contact between the detergent and the dirtiest part of your pants.

You should wash your sweatpants quite frequently, especially if you are exercising in them. Washing your sweatpants after each time wearing them is ideal, but you may be able to get away with wearing them 2-3 times without washing. It all depends if you are sweating and how soiled the pants are. Use your discretion.

Yes, you can dry sweatpants in the dryer. To dry sweatpants in the dryer use tumble dry low to avoid shrinking them or damaging the polyester fibers.

100% cotton garments will shrink in the dryer if they are dried using tumble dry medium or high. If you want to avoid shrinking your 100% cotton garments you should either dry them using the tumble dry low, or air dry settings. You can also line dry your cotton clothing or flat dry on a drying rack.

Written and reviewed by:
Tall Paul
Tall Paul
Paul Marlow is a 6'7 (203cm) / 235lb (106 kg) mental health speaker, fashion expert and ex-athlete. He is a global leader in helping tall men find clothing that fits them and showing them how to style it properly. Paul also spends his time modelling in the fashion and film industries. Paul is also the founder of Never Alone, a global leader in providing mental health and therapy inspiration. He started the Mental Growth Newsletter to help others that were dealing with mental health struggles, like he has.

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