Maria asked: How do I clean 96% nylon, 4% spandex blend clothing? I have a white shirt that says, “Wash cold. Dry flat.” Do I really need to hand wash it, or can I just put it in the washing machine on the cold, gentle cycle and dry it on the lowest setting in the dryer?
Handwashing clothing can be time consuming and seem unnecessary. While there are some fabrics that can tolerate machine washing, it’s important to proceed with caution. Use the information and guidelines below to determine if your piece is safe to machine wash.
Can They Be Machine Washed?
Care instructions are helpful tips to keep your clothes looking great as long as possible. Although some modern washing machines have a “hand wash” cycle (similar to a delicate cycle), it does not guarantee the same gentle washing as washing by hand. Typically, these fabrics easily stretch, snag and lose their shape when machine washed. Another factor to consider is the type of washing machine you are using. Many top loading machines with the central agitator are too rough for these gentle fabrics and should be avoided. There are some front loading machines that are much gentler on clothing in general and offer a higher level of success. There is some trial and error in attempting to machine wash “hand wash” items. If the item is valuable or irreplaceable, don’t risk it. If it is a general, everyday item that can be replaced if necessary, then try the steps below to gently wash it in the machine.
Machine Washable Fabrics/Fibers
- Triacetate (unless it’s pleated)
Machine Washing “Hand Wash” Items
You Will Need:
- Mild laundry detergent
- Mesh lingerie bag(s)
Steps to Machine Wash the Clothing:
- Smaller loads are best when washing these delicate pieces.
- Select a cold temperature wash and add the appropriate amount of mild detergent, such as Woolite, to the water.
- Place the item in a mesh lingerie bag to help prevent snags and stretching while it is washing.
- Complete the cycle and promptly remove the clothing.
Machine Drying “Hang to Dry” Items
You Will Need:
- Clothes Dryer
Steps to Machine Dry the Clothing:
- Similar to washing, the appropriate settings are of utmost importance when drying items that are not designed to be placed in the dryer.
- Most “hang to dry” items are labeled as such because the heat of the dryer will cause the fabric to shrink.
- If machine drying, use a “no heat” setting.
- Remove the item from the lingerie bag and place it in the dryer.
- Stop the drying cycle while the piece is still slightly damp.
- Remove it and hang it dry until it is completely dry.
Additional Tips and Advice
- If you have any doubts as to how the piece will tolerate the machines, play it safe and hand wash it.
- It may also help to take baby steps to see how the clothing tolerates the cleaning steps. For example, try machine washing the piece and allowing it to air dry. Then, the next time you clean it, try drying it for a short amount of time.
- Some washing machines have a “hand wash” cycle. Just something to keep in mind the next time you buy a washer. Ask for these choices at your local appliance store. Two manufacturers that have machines with this option are Samsung and Maytag.
- Good luck! If the clothing comes out well, you’ve found an easy, efficient way to clean them!
I spot-cleaned a spot (chocolate) that did not come out in the laundry. It is a white cotton knit. I used a q-tip and diluted bleach and now the area is yellow. Can I correct that? Help would be appreciated. Thanks. Edith
The yellow stain happened because bleach contains a yellow dye. Try using hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar or RIT Dye Remover. You could also try taking the item to a dry cleaner or using a home dry cleaning kit.
Source: How To Clean Stuff – How to Remove Yellow Bleach Stains from Shoes
Source: Deseret News – Hints from Heloise: White vinegar removes yellow bleach spots
How to wash white wool sweaters that have become discolored with age? They also have some color features… Can I use a bit of bleach?
This is the article that you need: How to Clean Wool. Do not use bleach; it can dissolve the fibers of the wool.
How do you get a spot of Sally Hansen tan out of a white dress? Will normal stain removers do the job? I haven’t tried anything yet. The dress was on loan, so I must be careful with it.
My friend has a pair of Stafford microfiber slippers and it says “spot clean only” and they REEK! I also found out I can wash mine, Acorn brand, in the front load washer (gentle cycle of course), but his he can’t. Mine haven’t been washed in a long time. Any suggestions?
There is an easy way to deodorize and clean your friend’s slippers without water. Sprinkle some baking soda inside them, leave it for several hours or overnight, then brush or vacuum it out. Repeat the process as many times as needed for the smell to be removed. The powder will also absorb any dirt or oils in the slippers that might have been deposited by your friend’s feet. Salt can be used instead if needed, but is not as strong as baking soda.
Just put them into your freezer for 24 hours. All bacterias that cause the smell will be destroyed after that. Make sure to NOT wash them first, but if possible AFTER you have put them into your freezer.
My two caftan dresses arrived and are beautiful, but stiff. They are a cotton and linen mix. Can I wash them in a gentle cycle in cold water, then hang to dry? And/or simply put them in a rinse cycle with fabric softener with it? Thanking you in advance. My 53-year-old daughter and I are going on a cruise.
Yes, cotton and linen fabrics are usually safe materials to wash and washing should help to remove the stiffness, which is likely caused by laundry starch that was applied during manufacturing.
How would I dry an item that says hand wash and lay flat to dry?
After hand washing the item, you would gently press or squeeze (not wring) the excess water out of the item, then lay it out on a flat surface, being sure to straighten out any folds or wrinkles. If you meant how would you machine dry it, you should not use any heat. Only use an air fluff or no heat cycle and take it out quickly. Items that are meant to be laid flat to dry will dry very quickly, so it shouldn’t be in the dryer as long as other items.
“Select a cold temperature”: Define “cold” (40°C, 30°C).
How much spinning is acceptable? (400 rpm, 300 rpm, none?)
Should/could you also use a fabric softener, in addition to the detergent?
A cold water wash is usually defined as 30°C or lower. The least amount of spinning possible is best; spinning is done to remove the excess water from the item. If you can, remove it and simply press the water out with your hand (don’t wring or twist the item – only squeeze). Smaller items can then also be pressed with a towel to remove even more moisture and help it air dry more quickly. For larger items like blankets that it will be difficult to press out the water by hand, use the lowest level of spinning. If your washer does not have an rmp selection for the spin cycle, selecting the “gentle” cycle would be the best option. It is usually best not to use fabric softener on “hand wash” items. Fabic softener leaves a residue that can react with some chemicals on delicate items (such as faux fur, waterproof items, shiney fabrics, etc.) and even some hand wash items are pre-treated with fabric softening agents that can become damaged as well. Good luck!
Do not buy a Frigidaire Max Fill if you want a hand wash cycle. This one is as rough as the heavy duty cycle. My old one was much better and wish I had kept that washer.
I have a top made of 73% nylon and 27% spandex the wash instructions are “hand wash separately, cold water, non-chlorine bleach, only line dry, do not iron.” It’s white and when I hand washed it, it yellowed a bit. To fix this, what should I do? Someone said: baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap would do the trick. Do you guys have any solutions? Or ways to prevent this?
Is the soap or laundry detergent that you used to wash the shirt yellow? If so, that could be a dye stain. However, nylon is prone to yellowing over time, so another option is that the nylon reacted with an agent in the detergent that caused it to oxidize (yellow). This guide has several solutions that may help: How to Whiten Yellowed Nylon. Good luck!
Hi. I bought *Assets Spanx* today and it’S 94% nylon and 6% spandex/elastane. It says it has to be “hand wash warm.” Is there a way I can just put them in the washer, instead of hand washing it? If I can wash it, what settings do I put the wash on? And then can I just air dry it?
It’s always a risk to go against label advice for cleaning, however, often things turn out just fine. To keep the spanx safe in a machine wash, put them in a garment bag or underwear laundry pouch. If needed, you could even put them in a pillowcase and tie the pillowcase shut. Since the tag said warm water is ok, then you can use warm or cool, not hot. Nylon can easily be burned or melt in heat, so it is best to avoid hot water, tumble drying with heat or ironing. Yes, air drying them would be best. Good luck!