How to Clean and Care for Gabardine

Everyone wants to take the best care of the clothing that they wear, but the sad truth is that you always run a risk of earning a stain or two in your normal day-to-day life. Even the most casual of days can sometimes surprise you with a spill or mess that could get on your clothing. And when that happens, a cleanup is mandatory. However, sometimes cleaning and caring for your clothing isn’t as easy as you’d think, especially when it comes to very particular fabrics.

Gabardine is one of those fabrics, often used in making suits, trousers, and outerwear. It's known for its strength and resistance to wrinkles but it’s also known for being a bit specific when it comes to the sort of methods needed to clean it. You can’t just toss a gabardine article of clothing into the washer and dryer without paying attention. Instead, you have to follow a rather specific set of instructions. But don’t worry, cleaning gabardine is not that hard to do!

What Is Gabardine?

Used for years for various types of clothing, gabardine is a type of tightly woven fabric that is made from various fibers like cotton, wool, or an assortment of synthetic blends. It is known for its long-lasting durability, its smooth texture, and its diagonal ribbing or twill weave pattern too. Gabardine fabric is commonly used in the production of clothing, particularly for trousers, suits, skirts, and outerwear. As you can imagine, it’s often employed for fancier outfits such as suits, tuxedos, and businesswear.

Gabardine is often prized by owners and creators for its strength, resistance to wrinkles, as well as its ability to drape well. All of that makes it a popular choice for both formal attire but also some casual clothing too. Gabardine has been around for a long time and was invented in the late 19th century. Since then, it has been widely used in the fashion industry.

How To Clean Your Gabardine

Because you can wear gabardine for a number of occasions, there is more chance for messes to impact your clothing. So, when that happens what is the best way to clean it promptly and keep the quality of the clothing intact.

Check the care label

The first thing you should do is start by checking the care label on your gabardine piece of clothing for the specific instructions from the manufacturer. Not all two pieces of clothing are the same and some gabardine garments might have unique care requirements. Make sure you follow these instructions closely.

Spot clean

If your gabardine garment has just some minor stains or spots, you can try to spot clean them with a mild detergent, some water, and a soft cloth or sponge. Make sure that you gently blot the stain, but always avoid rubbing it, as this can damage the fabric and only make the stain worse. 

Dry cleaning

If you don’t want the hassle of cleaning it yourself, you can always employ dry cleaning because it is the safest and most recommended method for overall cleaning. You might as well leave it to the experts if you want it done correctly without questions.

If this is the choice you make, take your gabardine items to a professional dry cleaner that is experienced in handling the most delicate of fabrics.

Steam or iron

While it is resistant to wrinkles, gabardine can develop creases over time. But if you use a steamer or an iron with a low to medium heat setting, you can remove these wrinkles. To do this, place a piece of cloth between the iron and the gabardine to prevent direct contact, which can immediately impact the fabric and perhaps ruin it forever.

Store properly

You need to make sure you put your clothing away the right way in order to maintain its durability. When not wearing your gabardine garments, store them properly to prevent creases and damage. Avoid overloading your closet, as tightly packed clothes can cause wrinkles.

Protect from moisture

Gabardine is not waterproof, so avoid wearing it in heavy rain. If your gabardine garment does get wet, allow it to air dry naturally rather than using direct heat sources like radiators or hairdryers, which can damage the fabric. 

Avoid excessive wear

Gabardine, like all fabrics, will end up wearing out over time, especially in areas that get rubbed a lot like the elbows. To extend the life of your gabardine clothing, rotate them with other garments and avoid excessive wear in the same spots. You shouldn’t be wearing your gabardine day-in and day-out.


By following these care instructions, you can keep your gabardine garments looking clean and well-maintained for years to come. Remember that proper care can help preserve the fabric's appearance and durability. If you want your gabardine looking great for a few years - and you definitely do - you need to give it the respect and care it deserves.