Can You Put Cargo Pants In The Dryer

Can You Put Cargo Pants In The Dryer

Have you ever wondered if you can toss your trusty cargo pants into the dryer without any repercussions? Well, the answer might surprise you. Contrary to popular belief, putting cargo pants in the dryer can actually lead to some unwanted consequences.

Cargo pants, with their multiple pockets and sturdy fabric, can shrink or lose their shape when exposed to the high heat of the dryer. When considering the history of cargo pants, it's interesting to note that they were originally designed for military use, with durability and functionality in mind. However, as they gained popularity in civilian fashion, the delicate nature of the fabric used in modern cargo pants became more apparent. This emphasizes the need for proper care and caution when it comes to drying them.

Can You Put Cargo Pants In The Dryer

The Impact of Using a Dryer on Cargo Pants: Exploring the Possibilities

When it comes to laundry, the question arises: can you put cargo pants in the dryer? Cargo pants are known for their durable and functional design, often worn by outdoor enthusiasts and workers in various industries. However, their unique features, such as multiple pockets and reinforced stitching, can raise concerns about whether they can withstand the heat and movement of a dryer. In this article, we will delve into the possibilities and considerations of putting cargo pants in the dryer.

The Fabric Composition of Cargo Pants

Before determining whether cargo pants can be safely dried in a dryer, it is crucial to consider their fabric composition. Cargo pants are typically made from a blend of materials, including cotton, polyester, and sometimes spandex for added stretch. The type and percentage of each fabric can impact their response to heat and movement in the dryer.

One common fabric blend for cargo pants is 100% cotton or a cotton-polyester blend. Cotton is a natural fiber that provides breathability and comfort, but it is known to shrink when exposed to high heat. Polyester, on the other hand, is a synthetic fiber that is resistant to shrinking and fading. The combination of these two fabrics enhances the durability and performance of cargo pants.

It is important to check the care label or manufacturer's instructions for specific information regarding the fabric composition and care instructions for your cargo pants. This will provide guidance on how to best care for your pants and whether they can be safely dried in a dryer.

Additionally, consider the presence of any special finishes or coatings on the cargo pants, such as water repellent or flame-resistant treatments. These treatments may require specific care instructions and could affect the suitability of using a dryer.

Understanding the Shrinkage Potential

Shrinkage is a common concern when it comes to drying garments in a dryer, and cargo pants are no exception. As mentioned earlier, cotton, which is often used in cargo pants, has the tendency to shrink when exposed to high heat. Polyester, on the other hand, is more resistant to shrinking.

To minimize the risk of shrinkage, it is recommended to follow the care label instructions and use the appropriate settings on your dryer. Opting for a lower heat setting or using an air fluff cycle can help prevent excessive shrinkage. Additionally, removing the pants from the dryer while they are still slightly damp and allowing them to air dry can further reduce the potential for shrinkage.

If you are unsure about the shrinkage potential of your cargo pants, it is advisable to test a small, inconspicuous area before drying them completely in the dryer. This will give you an indication of how the fabric reacts to heat and movement.

Impact on Color and Wear

Another aspect to consider when drying cargo pants in a dryer is the impact on color and wear. Cargo pants come in a variety of colors, and improper drying techniques can cause fading or color bleeding.

High heat and repeated tumbling in the dryer can accelerate color fading, especially for darker shades. To preserve the color vibrancy of your cargo pants, it is recommended to use the lowest heat setting possible or opt for air drying.

Additionally, the constant movement and friction in the dryer can cause accelerated wear and tear on the fabric. This can be particularly problematic for cargo pants, which are designed to withstand rugged use. While occasional drying in the dryer may not significantly impact the durability of the pants, repeated exposure to the dryer can lead to the breakdown of fabric fibers and result in premature wear.

Considerations for Pocket Contents

Cargo pants are admired for their multiple pockets, allowing wearers to conveniently carry various items. However, when it comes to drying cargo pants in a dryer, the contents within these pockets must be taken into account.

Before tossing your cargo pants in the dryer, make sure to empty all the pockets. Leaving items such as keys, coins, or pens in the pockets can not only damage the pants but also cause damage to the dryer itself. These small items can cause dents, scratches, or even damage the dryer's drum or sensors.

It is advisable to double-check all pockets and ensure they are completely empty before starting the drying cycle.

Alternative Drying Methods for Cargo Pants

If you prefer to err on the side of caution or if your cargo pants have specific care instructions that advise against using a dryer, there are alternative drying methods that can be employed.

Air drying is a simple and effective method to dry cargo pants. Hang them on a clothesline or drying rack in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. This method helps prevent shrinkage, color fading, and unnecessary wear and tear. However, keep in mind that air drying may take longer compared to using a dryer.

Another option is to lay the cargo pants flat on a clean, dry towel or a mesh drying rack. This allows the air to circulate around the pants, facilitating drying without subjecting them to the movement and heat of a dryer.

Regardless of the drying method chosen, always check the care label instructions or manufacturer's guidelines to ensure the best care for your cargo pants.

Preserving the Quality and Longevity of Your Cargo Pants

Now that we have explored the possibilities of drying cargo pants in a dryer, it is essential to consider other factors that contribute to preserving their quality and longevity.

Proper Washing Techniques

The way you wash your cargo pants plays a significant role in maintaining their quality. Following these tips can help:

  • Separate dark and light-colored cargo pants to prevent color bleeding.
  • Close all zippers and fasten any buttons or hooks before washing.
  • Turn the pants inside out to protect the fabric and prevent excessive fading or wear on the outer surface.
  • Use a gentle or delicate cycle to minimize the stress on the fabric and stitching.
  • Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach, as they can damage the fabric and fade the color.

Proper Storage

When not in use, proper storage of your cargo pants can help extend their lifespan. Consider the following guidelines:

  • Clean the pants thoroughly before storing to remove any dirt, oils, or stains that could become more difficult to remove over time.
  • Ensure the pants are completely dry to prevent mold or mildew growth during storage.
  • Store the pants in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to avoid fading and deterioration of the fabric.
  • Avoid hanging cargo pants for extended periods of time, as this can cause stretching and distortion of the fabric.
  • If hanging is necessary, use pant hangers with clips or fold them neatly to avoid creasing.

Prompt Stain Removal

Accidents happen, and cargo pants can easily become stained during outdoor activities or work. Prompt stain removal can prevent permanent damage to the fabric. Here's what you can do:

  • Blot the stain gently with a clean cloth or paper towel to remove any excess moisture or residue.
  • Refer to the care label or manufacturer's guidelines for specific stain removal instructions.
  • Treat the stain using an appropriate stain remover or a mixture of mild detergent and warm water.
  • Gently scrub the area with a soft brush or sponge, being careful not to damage the fabric or spread the stain.
  • Rinse the treated area thoroughly with water and check if the stain has been completely removed before washing.

Remember, it is always best to approach stain removal with caution, and if in doubt, seek professional help.

In Conclusion

Can you put cargo pants in the dryer? The answer depends on various factors such as fabric composition, care label instructions, and personal preference. While cargo pants made from a cotton-polyester blend can generally withstand the dryer's heat, it is important to consider the potential for shrinkage, color fading, and accelerated wear and tear. To preserve the longevity of your cargo pants, alternative drying methods such as air drying or flat drying can be employed. Regardless of the chosen drying method, following proper washing techniques, storage guidelines, and prompt stain removal will further contribute to the quality and lifespan of your cargo pants.

Guidelines for Drying Cargo Pants

  • Read the manufacturer's care instructions for the cargo pants. They will provide specific guidelines on how to care for the pants, including whether they can be dried in the dryer.
  • If the care instructions explicitly mention that the pants can be dried in the dryer, then it is safe to do so. Make sure to follow any temperature or cycle recommendations mentioned.
  • If the care instructions do not mention anything about drying in the dryer, it is recommended to air dry the cargo pants to prevent any potential damage. Hang them on a clothesline or lay them flat on a clean surface.
  • Do not use high heat settings in the dryer for cargo pants, as this can cause shrinkage and damage to the fabric. Use a gentle or low heat setting instead.
  • Air drying cargo pants can help maintain their shape and prevent any potential shrinkage. It also reduces the risk of color fading or bleeding.

Key Takeaways

  • Yes, you can put cargo pants in the dryer, but it's important to follow some guidelines.
  • Check the care label on your cargo pants to see if they are dryer-safe.
  • Zip up all pockets and fasten any buttons or snaps before putting them in the dryer.
  • Use a low heat setting to prevent shrinkage and damage to the fabric.
  • If your cargo pants have delicate details or special trims, consider air drying them instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cargo pants are a popular clothing item that offer both style and functionality. However, when it comes to laundry, there can be some confusion about the proper care for cargo pants. In this section, we will address some common questions regarding whether or not you can put cargo pants in the dryer.

1. Can cargo pants be put in the dryer?

Yes, cargo pants can generally be put in the dryer. However, it is important to check the care label on your specific pair of cargo pants for any special instructions. Some cargo pants may require special care, such as air drying or low heat, to prevent shrinkage or damage to any additional features or embellishments.

It is also worth noting that excessive heat from the dryer can cause the fabric to fade or shrink over time. To prolong the lifespan of your cargo pants, consider using a lower heat setting or air drying them instead.

2. Can cargo pants with a lot of pockets be put in the dryer?

Cargo pants with numerous pockets can be put in the dryer, but it is important to remove any items from the pockets before doing so. Leaving items in the pockets during the drying process can lead to wrinkles or damage to both the pants and the items inside the pockets.

If you have cargo pants with Velcro or snap closures on the pockets, it is a good idea to fasten them before putting the pants in the dryer. This will help prevent the closures from snagging on other clothing or becoming misshapen during the drying process.

3. Can cargo pants made of delicate fabrics be put in the dryer?

While most cargo pants are made from durable fabrics, there are some variations that are crafted from more delicate materials. In such cases, it is recommended to avoid putting these types of cargo pants in the dryer to prevent damage.

If you have cargo pants made of delicate fabrics such as silk, satin, or linen, it is best to follow the care instructions on the label, which often recommend air drying or low-heat drying to preserve the fabric's integrity.

4. How should I prepare cargo pants before putting them in the dryer?

Prior to putting cargo pants in the dryer, it is advisable to give them a gentle shake to remove any lint or debris. This helps to ensure a cleaner and more effective drying process.

If you have any stains on your cargo pants, treat them with a stain remover before laundering them. This will help to maximize the chances of removing the stain during the drying process.

5. Are there any benefits to air drying cargo pants instead of using the dryer?

Air drying cargo pants instead of using the dryer can offer a few benefits. Firstly, it helps to conserve energy, as the dryer is not being used. Additionally, air drying can help to prevent shrinkage and fading of the fabric, ultimately extending the lifespan of the pants.

Furthermore, air drying allows the pants to naturally hang and stretch, which helps to minimize wrinkles and creases. This can reduce the amount of ironing or steaming required after laundering.


In summary, it is generally safe to put cargo pants in the dryer, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, always check the care instructions on the garment label as they may provide specific guidance regarding drying methods. If the label recommends air drying or line drying, it is best to follow those instructions to prevent any potential damage.

However, if the care instructions do not specify air drying, and the pants are made of a fabric that is safe for machine drying, such as cotton or polyester, then you can put them in the dryer. Just be sure to remove any excess items from the pockets and fasten any buttons or zippers to avoid potential damage to the pants or the dryer. Additionally, it is recommended to use a low heat setting to prevent shrinkage or wrinkling of the cargo pants. By following these tips, you can safely dry your cargo pants and enjoy wearing them again in no time!