It is not unusual to find user feedback claiming that Dickies shrink in the wash on several online shops. But did you know that this issue is highly preventable?
Obviously, the solution is to diligently follow the instructions on the care label. Then again, the manufacturer may not be able to include everything you need to know about how to wash Dickies pants into one tiny tag.
There are other steps that you need to take to ensure that they last long, and that’s what this guide is all about!
Table of Contents
- The Importance of Washing Instruction
- Care Tips: Before and After Doing Your Laundry
- How Often Should I Wash My Dickies Pants?
- Can I Wash Khakis, Twill, or Jeans Using the Methods Above?
Though most of us don’t have time to hand wash work pants, it preserves their quality more effectively than machine-washing. In fact, it is your best defense against pilling.
Step 1: Treat the stains
To ensure that you clean Dickies pants effectively, remove any visible stains first.
There is no one standard procedure for spot-cleaning a stain. The product you need to use will vary depending on the specific stain and its chemical composition.
Below is a short guide you can follow. But before you apply any product, test it on a hidden area to check for discoloration and scrape the excess stain on the fabric.
- Oil-based stains
Use a dry cleaning solvent to remove the grease—remember to dab the spot with a clean towel beforehand to soak up the excess grease. Apply a pre-treatment product, such as Dawn dish soap, and let it sit for a few minutes before moving to the next step.
- Non-oily food and drink stains
Mix equal parts white vinegar, detergent, and water in a bowl. Use a clean cloth to dab the solution on the stain. Rinse with cold water to remove the residue.
- Bodily fluids
Combine ammonia, detergent, and hydrogen peroxide—one teaspoon of each in a container. Add two tablespoons of water. Again, dab the mixture into the affected area.
Once the stain is gone, rinse it with cold water.
Step 2: Prepare two buckets for washing
Load two buckets with cool or lukewarm water. Remember that heat can shrink your Dickies pants.
Add mild detergent to one of the buckets, following the product packaging’s recommended water-to-detergent ratio.
Meanwhile, the other bucket will be your rinse water. Keep a clean sponge or soft-bristle brush close by in case you need to scrub stains or soiled parts of your pants.
Step 3: Drop your pants into the basin
Zip all the zippers and close all the buttons on your pants. Doing so will help your pants retain their shape.
If you are washing Dickies cargo pants, close the Velcro on the cargo pockets to prevent them from catching lint.
After that, toss them into the basin. Leave it for ten to twenty minutes.
Step 4: Wash, rinse, and hang the pants
Gently agitate the pants with your hands, focus on the pants’ crotch and leg openings, as well as any stains that haven’t come off entirely in the pre-treatment step. It’s also ideal to scrub through the pants with a sponge or a soft-bristle brush.
Place your trousers into the bucket filled with rinse water to remove the detergent. Then hang them to dry.
Using the washer is definitely easier. Just turn your pants inside out and place them in washing machine, along with clothes with the same colors and fabric types.
Again, close all Velcro attachments, zippers, and buttons to reduce the abrasive surfaces that can scuff, tear, or pill the fabric.
Remember: no abrasive cleaners—just pour a mild detergent. To soften your stiff-new pants, you can also use a fabric softener. Then select the gentlest cycle and lowest heat setting.
Last but not least, line-dry Dickies work pants.
The Importance of Washing Instruction
The goal of washing is not just to have clean dress pants or work trousers ready for your next shift. Using the proper cleaning and maintenance techniques can curb issues like:
Fabric dyes can transfer on your light-colored clothing. Just the same, your colored Dickies garments can dull when you use hot water.
2. Damages on the fabric
As mentioned before, pilling is caused by high-speed washer cycles. Aside from that, it can also degrade the fabric a lot faster. In the worst-case scenario, it may even result in ripping.
Most Dickies pants have cotton in them, which is prone to shrinking when washed in hot water with strong agitation or dried in high heat.
Care Tips: Before and After Doing Your Laundry
Tip# 1: Treat stains ASAP
Don’t wait until the laundry day to spot-clean your dirty work pants. Do it as soon as possible—the longer they stay on the fabric, the harder they will be to remove.
Tip #2: Don’t wash your pants too frequently or too rarely
Most people are guilty of washing dress pants, twill pants, jeans, and khakis too frequently. Yet this can damage the fabric easily.
At the same time, you should not wait until your trousers get too funky before you wash them—even if, on the surface, they look like clean work pants.
If you want to know when you should wash your pants, head over to “How often should I wash my Dickies pants?” section.
Tip #3: Sort your clothes
Earlier, we emphasized that following the washing instructions can help you wash your Dickies pants without shrinking, pilling, or discoloration.
The takeaway is: when you wash construction clothes, you should not throw all of them into the machine. There is nothing worse than discovering your trousers were ruined after laundering.
Tip #4: Avoid using the dryer
Just as you should not put dress pants in the dryer, you should also steer clear from this machine when drying your Dickies work trousers.
Even the tumble-dry with no heat setting can ruin them. Make it a point to air dry your trousers to keep them in good shape.
Tip #5: Rotate your work pants
Having a couple of trousers in your wardrobe ensures that you have clean dress pants or work pants to wear alternatingly.
Plus, this trick allows you to wash them less often and buys you ample time to air dry them.
Tip#6: Put away your pants in a cool and well-ventilated place
Any place that’s too humid and hot is a no-no for storing Dickies pants. Remember: excessive moisture can promote mold and bacterial growth, whereas prolonged exposure to high temperatures will shrink the pants.
How Often Should I Wash My Dickies Pants?
- Dress pants: Twice a season at the minimum or after two to three wears
- Twill pants: Up to five wears
- Jeans: Up to ten wears
- Khaki pants: Up to four wears
The caveat is that if you are performing physical labor in a not-so-clean environment, you will have to wash your clothes more frequently.
Can I Wash Khakis, Twill, or Jeans Using the Methods Above?
Yes, You can wash Dickies 874, jeans, khakis, or cotton twill using all the methods.
There is no harm in running these trousers on the same laundry cycle if they have the same color and care tag instructions. Otherwise, you will need to separate them!
It should not come as a surprise that Dickies like to use cotton denim and cotton duck to make their work pants that many laborers and skaters have continued to buy for decades. Truly, it’s one of the toughest fabrics that withstand the roughest conditions.
Yet it also has a weakness, and as you’ve learned in this tutorial on how to wash Dickies pants, that’s high heat. Unless you are purposefully shrinking your work trousers, you should stay away from hot water or the dryer and follow the washing instructions we shared.
Veronica is our content editor. She is a talent in delivery. Her main work is editing and writing articles that are both informative and simple to follow. She is in charge of synthesizing our understanding of what personal protection equipment (PPE) is needed in each job, how to best apply it, and how to visualize that equipment.