How to remove pleats from pants

Updated March 23, 2017

Some trousers are pleated or have a naturally occurring fold, but this doesn't mean that pleat has to be a permanent feature. Side or front pleats in trousers can age the style of your look and create wrinkles after extended periods of sitting. Change the style of your trousers or update them to fit your personal taste by removing the pleat.

Turn trousers inside out and check pleats for stitching, which may be used to hold a pleat in place. Locate any stitches on the pleats, avoiding hems or seams, and use your scissors or a seam ripper to snip the stitch and release the fabric. Repeat for additional pleats, taking care to cut only stitches holding pleats and not to damage the pant seams or fabric. Turn trousers right-side out to prepare for washing.

Wash the trousers. Check the label for the proper settings; high heat can shrink some fabrics, such as cotton mixes or denim.

Remove wet, clean trousers from the washer and place them on a clean, flat surface. Clip your wet trousers onto the hanger. Be sure to clip the trousers at equal intervals from the front-closure zipper, centring the trousers evenly across the line of the hanger and sliding the clips so that the waistband is not drooping or unevenly positioned.

Hang your trousers in a clean, safe place. Avoid contact with dirty surfaces or objects so that the trousers hang freely from the waist without making contact with anything. Make sure the fabric is not clinging or wrinkled by separating any fabric that's touching or lightly shaking the legs of your trousers from the bottom hem.

Unclip dry trousers from the hanger. Examine them for naturally occurring wrinkles and check the status of your trousers pleats. If your pleats are still visible, remove any remaining wrinkles or remnants of the pleats by ironing the area in small circles.


Consult a dry cleaner for professional advice or laundering.

Things You'll Need

  • Iron
  • Washing machine
  • Trousers hanger
  • Scissors or seam ripper
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About the Author

W. Nicole Barclay has been writing and editing professionally since 2004, focusing on the fashion and retail industry. She graduated from Parsons the New School for Design and holds a Bachelor of Science in history, international affairs and archeology from Northeastern University. She has completed master's degree work in public policy and nonprofit administration at Northeastern University and The American University in Cairo.