How to Wash Corduroy

Corduroy shirts on wooden hangers - How to Wash Corduroy

As temperatures cool, I look forward to everything fall: pumpkin patches, warm lattes, and especially converting my wardrobe to fall clothes. 

It’s a treasure hunt every year as I open my stored clothes. I’m always delighted to pull out my favorite fall essentials, my favorite of which is a vintage corduroy jacket. 

Timeless wardrobe essentials like corduroy have been having a comeback moment in recent years (source). Corduroy is sturdy, warm, and offers a versatile look (source). Corduroy can look classic, boho, or even rock and roll, depending on how you style it! 

I want to be able to wear my corduroy jacket for years to come, so I took it upon myself to learn how to properly wash and care for corduroy. 

How to Wash Corduroy in a Washing Machine

Corduroy clothes - How to Wash Corduroy

Machine-washing corduroy is efficient and allows you to remain consistent with your weekly laundry routine. It saves you time and physical effort and is a perfectly suitable option for washing your corduroy. 

Tools and Materials:


Step 1: Check the Care Label

Always check the care label for specific washing instructions. The label will provide information about water temperature, washing machine settings, and any special care considerations. If your item is dry-clean only, the label will indicate. 

Step 2: Pre-Treatment if Needed

If there are any stains on your corduroy item, gently blot the stain with a gentle stain remover or a mild detergent

Step 3: Turn the Corduroy Garment Inside Out

Before washing, turn your corduroy garment inside out. This helps protect the fabric’s outer surface from friction and abrasion. 

Step 4: Load the Washing Machine

Now that your garment is inside out, load it into the washing machine with like items and colors.

Do not wash with fleece, towels, or wool to avoid lint. 

Avoid overcrowding the washing machine to prevent unnecessary abrasion. 

Step 5: Use Cold Water

Washing corduroy in cold water will prevent color fading and shrinking. 

Bonus! It’s more eco-friendly to use cold water instead of warm or hot water, which requires electricity to heat the water. 

Step 6: Use a Mild Detergent

Choose a mild, gentle detergent. Harsh detergents can damage the fabric fibers and affect the texture. 

Step 7: Choose a Delicate Cycle

Select the delicate or gentle cycle on your washing machine to minimize agitation. Excessive rubbing and abrasion can lead to wear and tear.  

Step 8: Line Dry or Low Heat

After washing, remove the corduroy garment promptly from the washing machine. Gently reshape it if needed. 

It’s best to line dry to prevent shrinking. If using a dryer, choose a low-heat setting. 

RELATED: Garment Care Labels Explained

How to Wash Corduroy by Hand 

Close-up hands touch corduroy trousers - How to Wash Corduroy

You might opt to hand wash your corduroy garment if you are focused on using less water or if you only have a small number of items to wash and you don’t want to use a laundry machine for a less-than-full load (source). 

Some corduroy retailers, like TwoThirds, recommend hand washing corduroy as it’s gentler on the fabric. 

Tools and Materials:

  • Basin or Sink
  • Gentle Stain Remover or Mild Detergent 


Step 1: Pre-Treatment if Needed 

If there are any stains on your corduroy item, gently blot the stain with a gentle stain remover or a mild detergent

Step 2: Soak in Tepid Water

Fill a small tub or sink with tepid water, and add your corduroy garment to soak for 10 – 15 minutes. 

Step 3: Add Mild Detergent

Add 1 teaspoon of mild detergent

Step 4: Gently Agitate the Garment Together 

The key is gently agitating the garment fabric with your hands by rubbing it against itself. Do not rub too harshly. 

Step 5: Line Dry 

Allow the garment to line dry

RELATED: Best Clothes Drying Racks

How to Remove Lint from Corduroy

If you have lint on your corduroy despite your best efforts to avoid it, do not fear! A lint roller or clothes brush and adding vinegar to the washing machine can help your corduroy return to being lint-free.

Step 1: Remove the Lint

For most corduroy, use a clothes brush on damp fabric to remove the lint. For fine-waled corduroy, use a lint roller. 

Step 2: Load Washing Machine

Place the garments back in the washer, add one cup of distilled vinegar, and run the items through the rinse cycle. 

Step 3: Load Dryer

Place the wet clothes in the dryer with microfiber cloths and tumble dry until slightly damp. The microfiber will collect most of the lint. 

Step 4: Remove from Dryer 

Remove your corduroy garment from the dryer, and use a clothes brush or sticky lint roller to remove the remaining lint. 

Quick Tip: If you are short on time, spray with an anti-static spray and then brush with a lint roller to remove the lint. 

What to Avoid When Washing Corduroy

Close-up corduroy trousers in different colors - How to Wash Corduroy

Corduroy’s unique properties: texture, ridges, softness, and wale make it the perfect fall fabric but also the perfect lint attractor! 

The #1 fabric to avoid when wearing or using corduroy is anything lint-producing. Stay away from wearing or washing with wool, fleece, felt, and lint-producing towels. 


Avoid lint at all costs! Lint is tricky to remove from corduroy, so you’ll want to avoid washing corduroy with wool, fleece, and felt. 

Use a sticky lint roller before washing to make sure your item is lint-free prior to washing. 

Hot Water 

Hot water may cause corduroy to lose shape or shrink. Opt for cold water to prevent color fading and shrinking. 

Bonus: Cold water is more environmentally friendly than warm water as it does not need to be warmed up. 

Do Not Overload the Machine

Not overloading the machine can help prevent excessive friction between garments, which may destroy the corduroy’s texture.

Never Use Fabric Softener on Corduroy

Fabric softeners can coat the fibers and flatten the texture of the corduroy fabric, reducing its textured look. 

Never Iron Corduroy

Ironing can crush or flatten the natural pile of the garment, which would destroy the look and feel of corduroy. 

If you absolutely must iron corduroy, make sure you use a low heat setting and a pressing cloth between the iron and the fabric to prevent direct contact. 

How to Spot Treat Stains on Corduroy

Corduroy trouser with stain - How to Wash Corduroy

When treating a stain, act as quickly as possible! Quick action prevents the stain from setting in and increases your chance of eliminating the stain. 

For corduroy, you’ll want to take care not to excessively scrub, which could damage the fabric.

Step 1: Blot the Stain

Blot the stain with a sponge or cleaning cloth. If the stain has crust or excess debris, scrape it off gently with a butter knife. 

Take care not to rub, as rubbing could push the stain deeper into the fabric. 

Step 2: Identify the Stain

Determine the type of stain you are treating, as different stains require different treatment methods. 

Step 3: Choose a Stain Remover

  • Food and beverage stains: Mix a mild liquid detergent with water to create a diluted solution. Apply a small amount to the stain. 
  • Oil-based stains: Use a solvent-based stain remover or a mixture of equal parts dishwashing detergent and water. 
  • Ink stains: Rubbing alcohol or a commercial ink stain remover. 

Step 4: Apply the Stain Remover

Dab a small amount of the chosen stain remover onto the stained area. Avoid oversaturating the fabric. 

Gently blot the stain from the outside toward the center to prevent spreading. 

Step 5: Blot and Repeat

Continue blotting with a clean, dry cleaning cloth until you see the stain lifting. 

Be patient and avoid rubbing vigorously to prevent damaging the corduroy’s texture. 

Step 6: Rinse

Rinse the area with cold water to remove any remaining residue. 

Step 7: Launder

Launder according to its care label instructions, using either the machine wash or hand wash methods above. 

Step 8: Check the Stain

Check the stain is completely gone before drying the stain. If the stain remains, repeat the spot treatment process. 

Step 9: Air Dry

Once the stain is gone, allow the corduroy garment to air dry. 

Avoid using a heat dryer until the stain is completely gone, as heat can set a stain. 

How to Care for Corduroy 

Corduroy jeans - How to Wash Corduroy

Using a clothes brush in between washing or after a long storage period will help to maintain and revive your corduroy’s texture, keeping it clean and free from surface debris. 

Step 1: Lay Corduroy Garment Flat

Lay the corduroy garment on a clean, flat surface. 

Step 2: Treat Lint

Use a sticky lint roller to tame any pesky lint.

Step 3: Brush the Corduroy Garment

Gently brush the corduroy with a clothes brush in one direction. You may be able to see the pile reviving as you brush. 

Work in sections and focus on one small section at a time. This approach ensures thorough cleaning and prevents over-brushing. 

Take care to use light strokes, as excessive pressure might flatten the corduroy’s texture. 

Step 4: Inspect and Repeat 

After brushing each section, inspect the corduroy for any remaining dust or lint. Repeat the brushing process until the fabric looks clean and refreshed. 

Step 5: Store Properly

Once you’ve finished brushing the corduroy garment, hang it in a well-ventilated area to allow any remaining dust to settle. Avoid folding the item immediately, as this can create creases. 

How to Store Corduroy 

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Proper off-season storage will add longevity to your corduroy. 

I recommend using breathable canvas bags. I like these bags since they are made from breathable canvas to protect your clothes from dust and moisture. 

Final Thoughts on How to Wash Corduroy 

I hope you feel as well-prepared as I do to maintain your corduroy garments for years to come.

Remember to stay as lint-free as possible, opt for tepid/cold water, and air dry if possible. Using a clothes brush between washes or after storage will help to revive the pile. 

By following the right steps, your corduroy items can continue to be wardrobe staples.

Corduroy shirts on wooden hangers with text overlay How To Wash Corduroy Plus Stain Removal Tips

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