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Washing instructions - when do you ignore?

(19 Posts)
shovetheholly Wed 31-Aug-16 10:57:48

So I'm terrible at shopping. Really terrible. It makes me feel so bad about myself I rarely go. I am pretty fussy about what I want clothes to look like, and I find it really difficult to get things I like. I buy a few things and wear them constantly, which means dry cleaning is a no-no (too expensive). I have currently reached a point where I have no clothes at all that don't have holes in.

I was in Cos at the weekend and I found a dress I really like. A lot of their stuff is a bit tent-like on me, but this was a good fit. But it's dry clean only, 96% wool 4% elastane.

Should I get it and risk it?

botemp Wed 31-Aug-16 12:15:05

Are you able to go back to the shop? Since the staff wear it themselves usually they're able to tell by experience whether it is washable or not, I find they're also not all that fond of dry cleaning everything and know exactly which items really are dry clean only.

Anyhow, since it's a dress it won't get dirty as quickly so I'd just steam clean it with an iron after each wear and hang it out for the night and wash by hand the first time. If all goes well put it on a delicate/hand wash cycle the next time with a low spin cycle and I think it should be fine.

shovetheholly Wed 31-Aug-16 12:20:53

I live in the north, and it was a trip over to the nearest concession, which is about 50 miles away sad HOWEVER, I am going to London this weekend and while I am there I shall revel in the Regent St Cos. It's a great idea to ask staff - thank you.

I really DO need the dress to wash. When I say I'm rubbish at shopping I mean that I literally have 3 outfits and some rough clothes for gardening in. I am not exaggerating here! I wear one dress then another. So it will get incredibly heavy use.

SuburbanRhonda Wed 31-Aug-16 12:29:27

The reason wool shrinks is because it has scales along its length which lock into each other when exposed to heat, pressure and moisture. One that happens, you can't reverse it (that's how felt and dreadlocks are made).

Wool can't be washed in a machine unless it's been shrink-proofed to either remove or cover the scales. Your call, OP, but I wouldn't.

mirpuppet Wed 31-Aug-16 12:30:14

Depends on the feel of the wool. If it has a nap I will dry clean.

Smoother wools I put on the wool cycle in my washing machine and use special detergent.

But I'm will to risk a bit of shrinkage. If you will be upset if it is ruined I would keep looking.

shovetheholly Wed 31-Aug-16 12:35:16

The thing is, the dress didn't feel like wool at all - I was surprised when I turned it over and saw the washing label. It was very smooth and didn't feel 'knitted' at all. But it's £80 so I would be unwilling to risk it in the machine I think.

applesandpears33 Wed 31-Aug-16 13:39:12

Does the fabric look as though it has been stiffened at all? I risked washing a dry clean only wool skirt and ruined it because the fabric had been coated with something to stiffen it and it looked saggy and shapeless afterwards. I've also washed lots of other things that have said dry clean only with good results.

shovetheholly Wed 31-Aug-16 13:41:31

apples - I'm trying hard to remember. I don't think so. It was quite soft and sort of swished a bit, rather than being rigid. It felt a bit like that old-fashioned grey school uniform fabric for skirts!

DelphiniumBlue Wed 31-Aug-16 15:08:04

Experience says to ignore washing instructions at your peril!

birdieeeeeeeee Wed 31-Aug-16 15:14:32

I don't think I've ever looked at instructions blush

But I don't think I would if something cost £80. Only shoes and coats cost this much in my world and I dry clean my coats at the end of the season.

lasttimeround Wed 31-Aug-16 15:31:13

I ignore on fairly cheap delicates that have no wool or silk. Definately wouldn't risk wool that has a dry clean label as the wool shrinks into something less fluid and totally ruins everything by getting thicker and less pliable

ginghamstarfish Thu 01-Sep-16 17:35:44

Staff would surely not tell you to go against the level instructions (even if they did so themselves). Silk, velvet, lots of 'dry clean' stuff can be washed, but wool is a tricky one. Would possibly hand wash and roll in towel then dry naturally.

FrustratedFrugal Thu 01-Sep-16 17:53:32

I machine-wash all my woolen and cashmere items using the gentle handwash setting at 30C. Works like a treat. The trick is to dry them flat, first on a towel and then on a drying rack.

flowery Thu 01-Sep-16 17:58:06

I ignore anything that says handwash only and I put it in the delicates cycle. Never had an issue. I do have two tops from Banana Republic which are allegedly dry clean only but who dry cleans tops, for crying out loud?! They go in the delicates cycle as well, absolutely fine.

florascotianew Thu 01-Sep-16 17:59:21

I agree that it does not really sound suitable for washing.

BUT, if you do decide to handwash:

A) measure garment - width, length etc

1. use barely tepid water and the mildest detergent you can find; either a special delicate fibres wash or something like baby bath
2. don't rub or squeeze, just pat up and down gently with the palms of your hands. Handle as little as possible. Do not lift garment when full of water; this will pull it out of shape
3. rinse several times at the same temperature as the wash; wool does not like thermal shocks. Again, keep garment as flat and undisturbed as you can.
4. when rinsing water is clear, remove plug and let the garment drain for as long as you can. Press with flat of hands to squeeze out water.
5. when 'run-off' water has drained away, lift garment very, very carefully on to a couple of towels spread out on a flat surface. Put another towel on top, gently pat, pat, pat, then roll the whole lot up together
6. repeat if necessary with dry towels (yes, I know this is a terrible faff) then spread the garment out on a flat surface - ideally a flat drying rack, - and very gently pull/push it back to shape and correct dimensions. (That's why you measured it before you started all this.)
7. Dry in a warm, airy room but away from direct heat.

When still slightly damp, press garment on wrong side with a warm - not hot -iron. Ideally, leave to air on a flat surface. If hanging garment up, use wide or inflatable coat hangers to avoid stretched patches at shoulders etc.

Even after all the above bother, you may still find that the garment turns into a twisted rag. Manufacturers treat fabrics and fibres in a wide variety of ways; this sometimes/often distorts their original properties and makes them virtually unwashable.

best of luck!

CaroleService Thu 01-Sep-16 18:09:54

Just washed a silk jersey Issa dress (think W&K engagement photo).

Looks ok, but I'm waiting with bated breath till it's dry and i can try it on.

Wouldn't risk wool.

P1nkP0ppy Thu 01-Sep-16 18:16:32

I wouldn't risk non machine washable wool, I'd be worried that it would shrink or felt.
I do machine other dry clean only garments, I put them in a net bag and on a delicates wash then dry flat - so far no problems!

neveradullmoment99 Thu 01-Sep-16 18:30:51

I have been in this position a few times. The question i would also ask is, is it lined? If it is lined with acetate then forget washing it. Seemingly it is an unstable material and you risk the lining shrink or worse the wool dress shrinking and the lining hanging down. I have washed a wool dress by next. Its ok but my worry would be how many times i could get away with it. What if it shrinks everytime? I my experience, the garment is rarely the same.

AnotherGreenDot Thu 01-Sep-16 19:56:52

As it's not lined I'd hand wash it. But: use gentle hand washing detergent, cold water, don't wring, just squeeze water out gently and dry flat or it will go saggy. Once it's finished dripping and is damp you can iron it carefully on a cool iron through a muslin cloth or tea towel. Basically wool hates heat so it needs cool temperatures.
Oh and be prepared for it to take about 3 days to dry!

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