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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Hand Wash Only Garments

There is a Care Labeling Rule, enforced by the Federal Trade Commission, which requires manufacturers and importers to attach care instructions to all garments.  The label must both contain regular care information/instructions and be attached in a way that it won’t become separated from the product.  According to the FTC’s web site, many consumers read care labels before making a decision about purchasing a garment.

I’ve often wondered if what the care label says really impacts a person’s decision on purchasing a garment – because it really doesn’t for me.  If it is something I love, I purchase it and then deal with the care after the fact.  But I did an informal poll with a few friends, and they tell me it does.  One thing they tend to shy away from are garments with a ‘hand wash only’ label.  But it shouldn’t – hand washing really isn’t that much trouble, and if the garment specifically says ‘hand wash only’, then we recommend that you follow those instructions.  Keep these things in mind:
  • Many washing machines these days have a ‘hand wash’ cycle, but use caution if you decide to go this route.  Many garments that say ‘hand wash only’ are items that can easily stretch, snag, or lose their shape if washed in a machine – even on a ‘hand wash’ cycle.
  • Also, top-load machines tend to agitate items more so than front-load machines.
  • If it is a special item, don’t risk it.  I bought this dress for a special event, knowing that it was a ‘hand wash only’ dress.

I followed these easy steps, and it turned out beautifully. 
  • Use a clean sink or basin.  I actually cleaned our bathtub and then used it. 
  • Check the care label to see if it recommends a specific water temperature.  My care label didn’t specify, so I used cool water.
  • Use a very small amount of a mild detergent, like Woolite (which is what I used), and gently swirl the item in the water for a few minutes to allow the soap to penetrate the fabric.
  • Once that step is complete, rinse the garment thoroughly.  Avoid rinsing it under running water because it could cause the fabric to stretch.  Instead, drain your soapy water and replace it with cool, clean water, and gently immerse your garment in the water.
  • Carefully lift your garment out of the rinse water and gently squeeze out the water.
  • Lay flat to dry.
Of course if you are concerned about hand washing a special item by yourself, you can drop it off at any one of our A Cleaner World dry cleaning locations.  Our trained staff will be glad to hand wash your piece for you and have it ready when promised.

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