Can I Put My Coat in the Washing Machine?

With the colder weather approaching, you’ll need to pull your winter coat out of the closet and make sure it’s in good shape. You may also want to clean it to get any dust off the coat. Or maybe you’re also getting ready to put your fall coat away and want to clean it before doing so.

In either case, it’s good to know how to wash your coat. Do you need a commercial laundry service? Or can you just throw it in your washing machine, assuming it fits?

Most Coats Can Be Machine Washed, But Always Read the Label

The good news is that the vast majority of coats will survive a cleaning in the washing machine. This saves you from having to search for “a drop-off laundry service near me.” It also saves you the money you would have spent on having your laundry delivery service clean your coat.

But there is a very important caveat here. Don’t just assume that your coat is safe to put in the washing machine. As with any other item, always read the label. Every coat should have a tag with washing instructions. Follow them to avoid damaging your coat.

Don’t Stuff Your Coat in the Machine

Just because your coat is machine-washable, doesn’t mean that your washing machine is up to the task. One of the biggest factors will be the size of your machine. Like any other item, your coat won’t get thoroughly cleaned if it doesn’t have room to move around in the machine.

So, if you have a larger coat or a smaller washing machine, you probably still need to use a laundry drop-off service to wash your coat. Otherwise, your coat simply won’t be as clean as it should be.

In addition to reducing the thoroughness of cleaning, putting your coat in a washing machine that is too small for it can also lead to damage.

Washing Your Coat at Home? Follow These Tips

If your coat is machine washable and fits in your machine, feel free to wash it yourself rather than paying for a wash and fold service. Here are some best practices.

Check the Pockets

Always check the pockets of your coat before you put it in the machine, as you would with any other piece of clothing. You don’t want to wash money or electronics accidentally. Even if washable items like gloves or handkerchiefs are in your pockets, the effectiveness of your cleaning may still be reduced.

It’s especially important to check your pockets if you are washing your coat before putting it away for the season or right after taking it out of the closet. If you were using your coat regularly, you’re more likely to have random receipts or money in the pockets. On the other hand, if you are about to use the coat for the first time this year, you likely won’t remember the contents of the pockets.

Zip It Up

Before you put your coat in the washing machine, zip it up. This will help prevent damage to the zipper. It will also reduce the risk of the zipper hitting the walls of the machine and making a racket while you wash it.

What About Drying Your Coat?

While most coats are safe to put in the washing machine, the instructions for drying them are a bit more varied. When in doubt, check the tag. You can likely throw it in the dryer but need to run it through two dryer cycles. Some coats, however, need to be air-dried.

General Rules for Specific Types of Coats

Because every coat is different, you should always read the care instructions on the tag. That said, the following are some general rules based on the type and material of your coat.

Down Coats

Assuming your down coat says it is machine washable, start by checking its seams and fastening all zippers. Opt for a normal cycle unless the tag says otherwise. You will want to occasionally pause the machine to press air out of the coat. When you’re done, throw the coat in the dryer.

Faux Fur

Faux fur coats are typically not for machine washing. You may need to hand wash this coat or take it to your local wash and fold service.

Fleece Coats

Turn fleece coats inside out even if they are machine washable. This prevents pilling on the exterior. Don’t put your fleece jacket in the machine with denim or other heavy fabrics, as this risks damage. Putting your fleece coat in the dryer is also not recommended. Air dry it flat.

Leather and Suede

Do NOT wash leather or suede coats at home. These need professional care, so make sure to find a suitable local dry cleaning service.

Rubber or Vinyl

Some rubber and vinyl coats, like raincoats, are machine washable, while others aren’t. So, always read the label. You can typically hand wash the coat or bring it to a professional. Always let these coats air dry.

Synthetic and Polyester Coats

If your coat is synthetic or polyester, it should be fine to put in the washing machine. However, you will likely want to air dry the coat, as this prevents damage and shrinkage.


Wool coats are less likely to be machine washable, although some are. Always follow the washing instructions on the tag. You will likely need to dry the coat flat after washing.

Your Drop-off Laundry Service Can Clean Your Coat

If your coat’s tag says it requires special cleaning, it doesn’t fit in your machine, or you just don’t feel like washing it yourself, simply take it to a local dry cleaning and laundry service. Whether it’s a leather coat or other clothes that require special care, a professional laundry service should be able to handle it. Best of all, you can likely address your other dry cleaning and wash and fold needs as you get your favorite coats washed.