I’ve ruined so many items of clothing in the washer and/or dryer. My sweet mother-in-law insists on buying me “hand-wash only” pieces, and only now at the respectable age of 38 am I responsible enough to heed the tags’ instructions.
But I came from the camp of throwing (almost) everything together into the washing machine, using cold water, and just seeing what happened. Sometimes the result was a ruined blouse. Many of you can probably relate.
But with age comes wisdom, and now we know that sometimes taking a few extra moments to read the tag can save us a lot of headaches and money. However, tag instructions don’t always cover everything. Read on to find out how you should handle laundry day if you have a furry friend who sheds, plus a few other clothing items you should always hand wash or take to the dry cleaners for best results.
1. Pet Hair-Covered Clothing
If you’re a dog or cat owner, you’re likely to experience some level of pet hair on your clothing (unless you have a non-shedding dog or cat, in which case lucky you). You would probably think it’s fine to just throw your pet hair-covered clothes into the wash, but sadly, that’s not the case.
It might be smooth sailing for a little while, but over time the pet hair could clog drains and put stress on your home’s plumbing. The hair will also clump together and stick to the walls of the washer. It’s all pretty gross, but the solution is easy enough. Simply use a lint roller or masking tape on clothing and vacuum as much pet hair as possible from bedding (yours or your pet’s) prior to washing.
Be gentle with your swimwear! The agitation of the washing machine can stretch the fabric, damage the strings, and fade the color of your swimsuit. The dryer in particular is a no-go because it will quickly ruin the elasticity of the fabric. Your tankini will fare much better over the long run if you hand-wash it instead.
3. Certain Delicate Fabrics
There are certain types of fabric you never want to throw in the washer. Cashmere, wool, velvet, lace, leather, and suede are a few obvious ones. But clothing that’s been embroidered or that has other similar decorative elements should likely be hand-washed or even dry-cleaned, depending on the fabric.
4. Stains From Flammable Liquids
You should forego the washing machine if you find yourself with a stain from gasoline, mineral oil, acetone, or another flammable substance on your clothing. First, spot-treat the stain, and then hand-wash and lay flat to dry.
To keep your sweaters looking their best, it might be okay to wash them occasionally on a gentle cycle. But hand-washing and laying them flat to dry will likely keep them at their peak coziness. And of course, fold them after they’re dry—never hang them!