Dry clean only? How to tell if it’s safe to handwash a delicate garment

Garment care labels can sometimes be overly cautious, but there are a few rules of thumb to follow if you want to disregard them

  • Get more expert advice on caring for your clothes in our closet clinic series

I consider a Saturday morning trip to the dry cleaners a very easy win. Trading crushed, dirty clothes for freshly pressed ones is super satisfying – a way to start the weekend with a small sense of accomplishment.

But I know not everyone shares my enthusiasm. For a lot of people dry cleaning is annoying and expensive. If you fall into this camp, sometimes it’s possible to handwash garments labelled “dry clean only” – but you should do so with caution.

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