A member of my Facebook Group told me about a situation at work. She’s an optometrist, and while discussing health and safety with her colleagues, an idea was floated about wearing scrubs to work. Washing and drying being something that can kill COVID, it seemed like the sensible clothing alternative. While they may be sensible, scrubs are hardly fashionable. She asked me if I could do a post on washable and durable workwear to avoid the fate of putting scrubs on every day.

COVID aside, who wants to have to dry clean everything, or anything, for that matter? Am I the only one who has a pile of clothes that I have to drop off at the dry cleaners, but don’t? Do you feel like you are renting your clothing because after only a few wearings, if you’re lucky, your clothing has to go back to the dry cleaners? Or are you simply concerned about the chemicals most dry cleaners use? There are plenty of reasons to want washing machine friendly clothing in your closet.

Washable Workwear: Work Clothing That Can be Thrown in the Washing Machine

I scoured the internet, looking for clothing that had ‘machine wash’ in the product description and was pleasantly surprised to find more than I thought I would. Finally, brands and designers are listening; women are sick of the dry cleaning drop off. I can’t guarantee is all of my selections are dryer safe, however. I’m not keen on throwing much good stuff in the dryer anyway. But everything I have selected below will stand up to the spin cycle.

Washable Dresses and Jumpsuits

Is there anything easier than a work dress you can just pop in the machine? I think not.

Washable Pants

For so long, it was hard to imagine work pants that could be washed in a machine. But times, they are a changing.

Washable Tops and Sweaters

Nobody wants to dry clean tops because they sit so close to the skin and need to be laundered much more often than other pieces. Machine washable tops are a must.

Washable Jackets and Cardigans

Say whaaa? A jacket you can put in the washing machine? Cardigans, okay, but jackets? I wasn’t expecting to find any blazers that were washing machine friendly, but lo and behold, I did.

Washable Skirts

A cute, summer, unlined flippy skirt? I’m not surprised those are washer friendly, but a tailored style? Feast your eyes, friends.

Some final thoughts about washing your work clothes

  • Even though the label says machine washable, care should still be taken to guarantee your clothing lasts. Use the gentle cycle and a gentle detergent. I would normally suggest cold water, but if you fear COVID are trying to kill germs, a warmer temperature might be necessary. Apparently, some new washers have a sanitizing cycle that raises the temperature just enough to kill germs and bacteria.
  • If you want to use your dryer, try drying your pieces for a short period of time to get the initial dampness out and then hang your pieces to fully dry.
  • It’s not uncommon for designers and brands to say things have to be dry cleaned but can be laundered if handled properly. Use your best judgment with this. A lined jacket or pair of tailored pants with dry cleaning labels should be dry cleaned. But a top that looks like it could hold up to hand washing or even a gentle wash, could be thrown in the machine and hung dry.
  • Go easy on the fabric softener, or avoid it entirely. There is a lot of debate out there about fabric softener and where you stand on it is completely personal. Fabric softener can clog up synthetic fabrics making them less able to wick moisture. Something to keep in mind as we sweat through summer. There are also some studies showing that fabric softener makes clothing more flammable. The main ingredient in most fabric softeners called Quaternary ammonium compounds can irritate the skin and also cause asthma in some exposed to it. Some suggest white vinegar as an alternative.

Look good without endless trips to the dry cleaner? I’m sold!