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Have you ever had a brand new shirt that you love, you wear it, throw it in the wash and then…it shrinks? Or it fades? I think everyone has experienced that at some point in life. It’s the worst. What was just hours earlier your new favorite shirt will now be used as a rag or thrown into your closet never to be seen again. Unfortunately, the same thing can happen to dog clothes if you’re not careful.

Dog clothes have similar properties to any other garment you might be washing. You need to know what kind of fabric you’re dealing with and any specific care instructions from the manufacturer. Collaroy includes all care instructions, if any, in the description of our products.

But sometimes there’s no care instructions or you just don’t have time to check. In those cases, we’ve provided a brief explanation of some common fabrics below.

  • Cotton: the most common natural fiber around. Cotton is machine washable but because not everything is pre-shrunk we recommend cold water on delicate cycle and hang dry or tumble dry low to prevent initial shrinking. After a few washes you’ll be good to go with your normal washing routine.
  • Polyester: if cotton is the most popular natural fiber, polyester is by far the most common synthetic. 100% Polyester generally does not require any special care but be careful. Many products are 100% Polyester but with different properties. For example, we use fleece and Sherpa polyester in some of our outfits. These fabrics burn on the ends if dried on high heat causing them to lose their softness and fluff. In general, if it’s just a t-shirt or normal polyester garment there’s no special wash instructions. For anything else, cold water and hang dry or tumble dry low.
  • Wool: while Collaroy does not use wool in its outfits, there are a few natural fiber dog clothing companies out there that almost exclusively use natural wool. Be careful with wool in any garment. The common belief is wool cannot be machine washed but that’s not always true. Some wool can be machine washed on delicate cycle with cold water but we haven’t seen wool that can be machine dried. When in doubt, hand wash/dry clean only and no machine drying. And even for drying, it’s better to lay wool garments flat rather than hang. Be careful with wool.

You may see a theme here—if you’re not certain, start with cold water on delicate cycle and tumble dry low. That will get you through the majority of washing scenarios.

There are many more fabrics but not many that we’ve seen in dog clothing (cashmere, linen, suede). If you’re interested in learning more about those and other fabrics, we also found these articles helpful: DIY Network, The Fabric Store and  Reviewed.