What to do when a label on an item of clothing reads “handwash only”? Handwashing is definitely a more laborious process than throwing clothes in a washing machine, but is it safe for “handwash only” apparel to be washed in a machine? It’s best to err on the side of caution, but it is possible that some items with a “handwash only” label will fare alright in a washing machine.

Some washing machines have a “handwash cycle.” For those that don’t, this cycle can be approximated by putting items in a mesh bag and using the “delicate” cycle with cold water.

If an item is very precious or has intricate beadwork, it is best to do the work and actually handwash the item.