When giving care instructions to customers and potential customers, I usually give the instructions of what the label of the yarn I use says. I wanted to take this opportunity to elaborate since just saying Machine Washable and Dryable isn’t enough for me.
I normally wash my knitted and crocheted items in lingerie bags. Cold water gentle cycle. I never use warm or hot water. Even if the label says to wash in warm, warm water can make your colors bleed or wear them out faster.
Depending on the item, if its more intricate, I will put it on a drying rack to let it dry thoroughly. If it is a scarf that is made with a bulky yarn or a scarf that is made with worsted weight yarn (the most commonly used yarn) I will put it in the dryer on a gentler cycle than normal. On my dryer I have a Knit cycle.
If your label says to lay flat to dry, you may want to use a towel to dab it mostly dry and then lay it out flat to dry. Sometimes laying it out flat to dry without using the towel first will take your clothing several days, if not a week to dry out.
If your label says to hand wash, Please Hand Wash Only. I’ve been brave and used the delicate cycle for some hand washed clothing (not knit) and it worked out fabulously, but I never did that with knitted items that said to hand wash.
There are drying racks avaible that you can purchase on-line that are mesh that allow you to lay your item out flat and it will dry a little bit faster.
I use the good old fashion drying racks where you throw your sweater over the bar. I have never had an issue with that either.
Most instructions given by the yarn companies are to insure the longevity of your item. My instructions, unless just a very badly made item, Will insure the longevity. I have scarves almost 17 years old that look only a few years old, if that!