You also need to consider color. If you throw “hand wash only” items in the washer, you run the risk of the sensitive colors bleeding -- test the color’s tendency to run with a wet cotton ball before doing anything. Or end up like season 1 Rachel Green, your choice.
Ladies, I know you hear me on this one. Whenever we buy something delicate or dainty, the laundering instructions will forbid us from throwing whatever it is in the washing machine or dryer. Granted, I’m pretty wary of shrinkage as it is -- if I really like a shirt, I tend to hang-dry it juuust in case. But no one has time to stand at the laundry room sink to hand wash all of their “gentle” clothes. We’re not the cast of “Jersey Shore” -- we have better things to do than gym, tan, laundry all day, every day.
Then there’s “dry clean only,” which is a whole other thing -- that, though, you should definitely listen to.
The tags all say “hand wash only,” as if the fabric will literally disintegrate in your hands if you fail to do so. Is this true? Is it necessary?
Yes and no. Manufacturers are required to list at least one option of how to wash your clothes on the tags, and the general rule of thumb is that any washing machine, even on its gentlest cycle, is harsher on your clothes than you’d probably ideally want it to be. That being said, some tags have been said to bear the “hand wash only” label just because the garment had never been tested in a washing machine before.
The main elements that factor into whether or not fabric survives in a washing machine is water temperature and rough spin action; the “delicate” settings on your machines are meant to use lower temperatures and gentle rocking and spinning -- which is basically what you’d be doing if you were hand-washing.
So, technically, as long you’re using a cold water cycle and you trust how gentle your machine is, logic says it should be fine.
But even so, it’s a toss up. The only way to tell exactly how intense the conditions are that your clothes are being washed in is to do it yourself -- it just depends on how much you care.
And as far as considering using the dryer? Absolutely not.