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It’s the time of year to pull your favorite heavy coat from the closet. What may surprise you, however, is that it may not be as clean as you remembered when you put it in there. Before you panic, run to the dry cleaner or abandon your coat for a new one, check out these simple at-home tips for putting the comfy back into your favorite winter wear.

Cotton and Jersey

You’re in luck. These materials are highly cooperative (and why they are often used in kids’ clothing.) Give them a wash on warm, and (if the tag agrees) do a full hot water cycle for extra nasty stains. Sleeves and collars can get pretty dingey, so go ahead and pretreat with your favorite Dropps laundry soap before washing them. Dry on medium heat, or the temp recommended by the manufacturer.


Do you have a puffy coat filled with feathers? It’s OK to give it a wash on the gentle cycle in your machine, assuming you use detergent with no dyes and on a cool cycle. Throw a newly-washed coat into the dryer, on low-heat for no more than 20 minutes. Check it to see how it’s coming along, and continue drying for additional 5-minute increments until it is dry. For best results, throw in a dryer ball to help it regain its shape.

Fake Fur

If your fluffy coat seems a little stale, go ahead and wash it according to the tag directions. Care should be taken to hang it dry, however. If you need it to regain some of its “poof” after it’s fully dried, toss it into a steam-only cycle for a few minutes to bring back its sass.

Dry Clean Only?

What do you do if your coat’s care label insists that you must outsource the cleaning? While it’s always advised that you follow directions for best results, it’s sometimes possible to cheat a bit with some very careful DIY hacks. (Remember, however, that results will vary. If you aren’t OK with risking it, consider giving the job to the professionals.)

Wool can usually be washed in your machine on the gentlest cycle possible and with a dye and color-free detergent. (Aim for hand-washing if you can.) Use cool water and never, ever dry it in a dryer – which can shrink and put holes in your precious piece. Blot soaking-wet jackets dry with a neutral-color towel and hang flat on a dryer rack for best results.

Suede can usually be spot cleaned with an approved leather product only. Leave the fur to those who do it for a living.

The best situation is to wash your coat before storing it for the season since a dirty jacket can encourage moths and mice to hang about. If you failed to take charge last year, or you inherited a hand-me-down that needs a bit of TLC, you can rest assured that the tips shared above will probably give your coat a new lease on life.

1 comment

  • When the cold season ends every year, (I wait until the temperature maintains 60 plus degrees) I take my winter coat and wash it at the laundromat but I let it air dry rather than use the dryer. This way when I take them out for the cold season, they are clean and ready to wear. The only coats I don’t wash are my leathers which I usually treat with leather treatment cream. The liners which are like a vest can be zipped out and washed separately. If you read the labels of your coat, you can safely wash most yourself if made of a material other than leather or fur. A real fur coat, if you have one, has to be specially treated to not damage the stitching, unless you want to handwash it in a soak/ rinse solution. Dryers are very damaging to any material because of the motion and possible heat effect.


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