laundry and home cleaning tips - Sarni Cleaners Blog

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

Millie Kwan - Thursday, September 29, 2011

hand wash label for clothingA customer asked, "The care label on a sweater indicates it is hand washable. Can I wash it in a machine on a delicate cycle?"

There is some risk involved in using any care process not recommended by the manufacturer. Hand washing involves manual removal of soils with water, detergent, and a gentle squeezing action. A care label that calls for machine washing, in a delicate or gentle cycle, indicates 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. If handwashable garments are machine washed in a gentle cycle, agitation may be further minimized by putting the item in a net bag.

Even this procedure is in violation of the care label instruction, however, and places responsibility for damages on the launderer rather than the manufacturer.
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