Hand-wash Laundry Question

Updated on July 29, 2016
E.B. asks from Virginia Beach, VA
16 answers

I bought my daughter a hoodie that she absolutely loves. The label says hand wash, don't wring it out, don't iron it, don't tumble dry it, basically treat it like fine glassware or something. It's not a brand name like Hanes - I got it from Amazon because it has a video game logo on it that she's absolutely nuts about. It seems like it's made of a rather thick fleece. (I know, we live in Hawaii, right? But she has dysautonomia and can't regulate her body temp properly and often she's freezing when it's 85 degrees out). I can't even make out the manufacturer's label so I can't look it up. It wasn't inexpensive but it was the only thing I could find that was warm enough that had this logo on it, so it was worth it.

Anyway, our rented house includes a nice looking washer and dryer; they look new, but there are no instructions or manuals. It's a Whirlpool Cabriolet brand, high energy washer and it has a setting that says "delicate, hand wash". My only experience to date has been with regular washers, not high energy newer models. I'm wondering if the delicate setting would be too much or if technology has progressed to where you can actually put a hand-wash item in on that setting.

Does anyone have experience with a Cabriolet? Should I risk it? It's pretty thick and I don't think it's going to fit well in a bathroom sink or the small double kitchen sink and I really need to clean this thing. She practically lives in it.

Any other ideas for washing such a weird item? I can dry it by laying it on towels on the picnic table I guess.

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answers from Boston on

A staggering percentage of my boys' clothes is "hand wash" - a lot of their dry-fit athletic wear and even some basics like hoodies from Kohl's or t-shirts that just look like ordinary t-shirts. I wash it all in the gentle cycle of my dryer, inside-out if there is a logo on it. Most of it I also throw in the dryer on low but there are some items that I'll lay flat to dry, typically my oldest son's more expensive and favorite items.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Wash it on the gentlest cycle. After you remove it from the machine, take a very large absorbent towel and lay it on the towel. Start from one end and roll it in the towel. Push down on it to get as much water out as possible. Then air dry (probably indoors where there is AC).

It will be fine!

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from St. Louis on

It is the logo that makes it delicate so make sure you zip it and turn it inside out so that the logo isn't not rubbing on the sides of the machine. Even with my older machine I had no issues with the hand wash setting. All it does is lower the spin speed and doesn't agitate as roughly, well and the time is greatly reduced.

With a thick hoodie you may want to check it when it is done and run it through just a spin, still inside out. I can't imagine that drying in a week as wet as things come out of hand wash.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Binghamton on

We have an 8 yr old energy saver, low water use I think fairly high end washer. It has hand wash and delicate settings and I've used both on items that say hand wash. It's been fine. I use woolite and only cold water. You could look at it this way - it is replaceable if it gets ruined. Then You'd know when you buy a replacement you have to really hand wash. But if it is fine in the machine, you're saving a lot of future labor. Seems like you work hard already and have enough to do. Might be worth the gamble as it's likely a low risk gamble.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

You can find the washer's instruction booklet on the Internet.

I suggest you take it to a reputable dry cleaning shop. They know fabrics and might be able to advise you. I think some cleaters are able to do a form of hand washing.

I dry cleaned denim jeans and jacket for a couple of years. They always looked good. When I started macHine and drying them, they shrank and faded. I have washed a few clothes on the gentle cycle. The machine still agitated tho more gently.

There are several reasons clothes need to be handwashed. The fabric may shrink. The color may fade. The design may shrink more than the fabric or crack or even wash off. It may be made including fabric/findings that will shrink
Since you don't know the manufacturer, second best is asking a dry cleaner or someone who restores/protects fabric. Another possibility is to ask Amazon.They may be able to tell you the manufacturer.

I had a family heirloom cotton patchwork quilt made in early 1900's. I took it to a dry cleaners. They recommended dry cleaning. It worked! The quilt looked as good as it looked before.

If you can afford it, buy a second one in case cleaning it doesn't wrecks the hoodie.

In the past, I hand washed sweaters. I rolled them in a heavy towel to absorb water. I was able to squeeze most water out. I lay them on an elevated screen to dry.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

If an item says hand-wash, I do it on the washer delicate cycle in cold water, and then hang to dry on a towel rack. I never actually hand-wash. That is how I would treat the hoodie.

ETA:Oh, yes, Julie S is correct - turn it inside out before you put it in to keep the logo from coming off.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

I have a front load washing machine. I was everything in a regular cycle, even things that say hand wash, and hang them up to dry on a hanger in the doorway because we can't have clothes lines per the HOA. I have never had anything get ruined. Make sure to zip it all the way up and turn it inside out.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I put everything in the washer. I think the hand wash setting will be fine.

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answers from Norfolk on

Guess it must be something special - but I've never heard of hand washing recommended for a hoodie.
If it's too big for a sink then the bath tub should work well.
I have a variety of tub trugs in different sizes (these things are great for so many things!) and besides using them for gardening, I have one that's perfect for soaking my feet, another I use in the car to keep groceries from rolling around, and others would be fine to use for hand washing odd sized clothing that won't work in a small bathroom sink.
Be careful you don't use too much soap - you want to be able to rinse it out completely.
Laying it flat on towels to dry should be fine - turn it over every so often or use a clothes drying rack inside near an air vent.


"Hand wash delicate" kind of makes me laugh considering that 'hand wash' used to mean beating it on a rock in a stream or river.

While it's true that line dried clothes can be stiff, you can put them into a dryer on the no heat setting for a short while (10 min) to soften them up - but I don't think that should be an issue with a hoodie.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

What is the actual fiber it is made of? Most things that say hand wash can be washed on the delicate cycle (except wool).

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answers from Portland on

I agree with Marda on why it might be so fragile - it could be the logo - we had an instance where I washed an item of clothing and the logo kind of looked warped after the fact. This was just in a regular washing machine on regular cycle on cold. Ours wasn't very expensive - I think it was from a school or something. From then on though it always looked like the logo kind of just sat on the fabric. Honestly, my kids didn't care. And ours hadn't said to handwash so I hadn't even bothered.

That could be why they don't want you to 'ring' it out either. It could be the twisting of the logo - might affect it somehow.

Logos definitely don't always do well in the dryer. I've had them kind of melt before. Not so that it's that noticeable, but the texture gets altered. Or they look kind of cracked.

Personally - I'd hand wash it (you can buy a bigger tub if you need to from the dollar store) and do as Marda says - you lay if flat on a towel and form to the right shape, and then you gently roll up like a sponge roll type cake. Hopefully the logo wouldn't be affected too much. Go slow and maybe check it. Then I'd remove from towel and just stick on one of those mesh sweater racks that allow clothes to dry faster.

I find these days a lot of clothes will say "hand wash only". They are just cotton but will come with those instructions. I almost wonder if it's just because fabrics are cheaper these days and stores don't want to be responsible for returns if you didn't follow the directions or something.

The other thing I do - is I will use our delicate wash cycle on cold - with a special detergent meant for cold water - and I throw the item in a laundry/gentle bag - one of those mesh zip up bags. I don't find it always gets super clean (as kind of folded up in bag) but it ensures that clothes aren't getting stretched out of shape.

Good luck :) I washed my son's prized ball cap recently and it lost it's shape. I found a YouTube video that helped me make it better - what a pain over a piece of clothing. But if you ruin their clothing ...

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I would use a fabric softener in the rinse water. I have found that when clothes are not put in the dryer and are air dried they come out too hard and stiff.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I think you can absolutely wash it on the delicate cycle which barely agitates at all. If it really bothers you, you can put it in the "soak" cycle if you have one, which lets the detergent penetrate, agitates for 20 seconds every few minutes, then lets the garment just sit there. Then you drain and repeat with clean water for a rinse. Set your washer for the least amount of water. You'll still probably have room, so throw in some bras or panties that can also benefit from a very gentle cycle (my delicates last much longer if I don't put them on the regular wash or in the dryer. It really mimics the bathroom sink hand-wash experience.

I'd get a sweater dryer if you don't have one, which is a thin mesh sheet usually suspended on a frame with short legs, so you can lay the garment out flat but have air circulate below as well as above. Skip the towels and you'll have something that dries faster and without any wet-towel odor.

I use something like this but there are sets that stack one on top of the other, letting you dry several items in the same space:

Glad you found something she adores.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I would try it on the delicate cycle, by itself. Be very careful with any strings from the hood part. If the string gets caught on anything as the cycle runs, it will wrap tighter and tighter and tighter.... had it happen to one of my daughter's hoodies in the dryer just yesterday. the end of the string hit/caught the seam around the dryer door "just right" and wedged, so as the clothes continued to toss/turn, the string stayed hung/attached to the top of the door opening, and spun and spun and wound tighter and tighter.

Even if there is nothing to catch on, the strings can come out of the hood in the wash, so be sure there are sufficient knots at the ends of the strings, or tie them securely in a bow so that they don't come out.

Oh, and reading the other responses, yes, it might well be the logo. If there is nothing on the sleeves and the logo is only on the main part of the hoody, then I'd wring the sleeves out, and the hood (any areas that wouldn't involve scrunching the logo), then hang it up for a few minutes. Then wring the ends again (hanging it up weighing so much can stretch it if you leave it, but just for 3-4 minutes, it will let more water run to the lowest points, so you can squeeze a bunch more out of the ends of the sleeves, the bottom edge, etc).

Then lay it flat.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I'd wash it on delicate and I'd probably see how it turned out. Then I'd dry it on delicate/very low temperature. If you have a screen to dry non-dry garments then I'd say lay it out on that and let it air dry.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I would wash it alone on the hand wash setting. You risk the item souring if you hand wash it and lay if out to dry. Then I would set it out to dry in fresh air where the air will circulate.

1 mom found this helpful
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