Can you use the washing machine’s delicate cycle for hand-washable clothing?

August 19, 2019

In caring for your clothing, it is good practice to follow the manufacturer’s label on the garment, especially when it is one of your favorite pieces of clothing and it happens to be quite delicate. So when the label says that it is “hand wash only,” you might want to follow it in order to keep your garment in its best shape for a long time. Unfortunately, most of us Bostonians do not have the luxury of time to hand wash their clothes.

So what if you use the washing machine’s delicate cycle for “hand wash only” clothing?

hand washing symbolUsing the washing machine can certainly save you a lot of time, but “hand wash only” garments are typically those that stretch easily, snag and lose their shape when machine washed. There is always some risk involved in using any garment care process that is not recommended by the manufacturer.

So what’s the difference between hand washing and the washing machine’s delicate cycle? Hand washing involves manually removing soils with water, detergent, and a gentle squeezing action. A care label that calls for machine washing in a delicate or gentle cycle indicates soils in the garment can be removed with water, detergent or soap, slow agitation, and reduced time in a washing machine.

Hand washing is a restrictive care process that minimizes the amount of abrasion a garment receives in cleaning. Using the delicate cycle of the washing machine helps to reduce the agitation (to the extent that a machine can) and you can try to minimize agitation further by putting the garment in a mesh bag, and putting only a small load of laundry into the washing machine. However, most top loading machines with central agitators are too rough for “hand wash only” garments and should not be used.

If your “hand wash only” garment is valuable or irreplaceable, you should not take the risk of washing it in a washing machine. Bring it to Utopia Cleaners. Our fine dry cleaning service, Classic Care, will ensure that your garment will stay beautiful and perfect for a long time!