Can You Wash Scarves In The Washing Machine?



Can You Wash Scarves In The Washing Machine

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Yes, you can wash scarves in the washing machine, but it depends on the type of scarf. Different types of scarves require different cleaning methods.

Scarves are not just fashionable accessories; they also provide warmth and comfort during chilly weather. However, daily wear can leave scarves in need of a good cleaning. If you’ve ever wondered whether you can toss your scarves into the washing machine, the answer is yes, but with some crucial caveats.

The feasibility of machine washing your scarves depends on the type of material they’re made of. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide guidelines on how to wash scarves effectively, maintaining their quality and appearance. So, whether your scarf is polyester, cotton, wool, cashmere, knit, or silk, you’ll learn the dos and don’ts of keeping it fresh and clean.

Dos and Don’ts of Wash Scarves In The Washing Machine


  • Identify the Material: Before washing your scarf, determine its material. The cleaning method varies depending on whether it’s polyester, cotton, wool, cashmere, knit, or silk.
  • Polyester or Cotton Scarves: If your scarf is made of polyester or cotton, you can generally clean it in the washing machine. Use the gentle or delicate cycle, cold water, and a mild detergent.
  • Wool or Cashmere Scarves: Wool and cashmere scarves are best hand washed to prevent damage. Avoid using fabric softener as it can leave a residue.
  • Knit Scarves: Knit scarves made of acrylic, cotton, polyester, or blends of these materials are typically machine washable. You can often put them in the dryer as well.
  • Use a Laundry Bag: To protect scarves during machine washing, place them inside a laundry bag or pillowcase. This prevents them from tangling with other items.
  • Choose a Gentle Detergent: Opt for a gentle detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics.
  • Cold Water: Stick to cold water when using the washing machine to avoid color fading and fabric damage.
  • Dryer Settings: If your scarf is dryer-safe, choose a low or no-heat setting to prevent shrinking or fabric damage.
  • Reshape and Air Dry: After washing, reshape the scarf and let it air dry naturally. This maintains its shape and quality.


  • Don’t Assume All Scarves Are Machine Washable: Not all scarves are suitable for machine washing. Always check the care label and material type.
  • Avoid Harsh Detergents: Steer clear of harsh detergents or bleach, as they can harm the fabric and colors.
  • Fabric Softener for Wool: Never use fabric softener on wool or cashmere scarves, as it can leave a residue and diminish their softness.
  • Hot Water for Delicates: Don’t use hot water for delicate scarves, as it can cause shrinking and damage.
  • High Heat in Dryer: If you’re using a dryer, avoid high-heat settings, which can shrink or damage scarves.

Steps To Wash Scarves In The Washing Machine:

Step 1

Material Identification: Determine the material of your scarf.

Step 2

Laundry Bag: Place the scarf inside a laundry bag or pillowcase.

Step 3

Detergent: Use a gentle detergent designed for delicate fabrics.

Step 4

Machine Settings: Select the gentle or delicate cycle with cold water.

Step 5

Reshape: After washing, reshape the scarf and let it air dry naturally. If the scarf is dryer-safe, use a low or no-heat setting.

Alternative Washing Methods For Scarves:

For scarves made of materials not suitable for machine washing, consider these alternative cleaning methods:

  • Hand Washing: Fill a basin with cold water and mild detergent. Gently agitate the water, soak the scarf for about 15 minutes, rinse thoroughly, and air dry.
  • Dry Cleaning: For valuable or delicate scarves, consult a professional dry cleaner for proper care.
  • Steam Cleaning: Use a handheld garment steamer to refresh scarves and remove wrinkles without using water.
  • Silk Scarves: If you have a silk scarf, avoid machine washing. Instead, follow specific care instructions for silk, which may involve hand washing.


Can I wash my scarf with other clothing items?

Answer: You can wash scarves with similar-colored, lightweight items, but use a laundry bag to prevent tangling.

Is it safe to use a fabric softener with scarves?

Answer: It’s generally safe, but avoid using fabric softener on wool or cashmere scarves as it may leave a residue.

Can I machine wash a scarf with fringes or embellishments?

Answer: Scarves with fringes or delicate embellishments are best hand washed to prevent damage.

How often should I clean my scarf?

Answer: The frequency depends on wear and exposure to dirt. Clean it when it appears soiled or starts to smell.

Can I iron my scarf after washing to remove wrinkles?

Answer: Most scarves do not require ironing. If needed, use a low heat setting with a pressing cloth to avoid damage.

Final Words:

Washing scarves can be a simple task if you follow the appropriate guidelines based on the material. Whether you have a polyester, cotton, wool, cashmere, knit, or silk scarf, understanding the dos and don’ts of cleaning ensures that your scarf remains a stylish and cozy addition to your wardrobe. So, enjoy the warmth and fashion statement your scarf brings, knowing that it can easily be refreshed and maintained for seasons to come.

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