Washing bag (for delicate items)

Has Choice reviewed or know of reviews of washing bags?
Or do readers have experience with them?

I need to buy one and found two retailers selling slightly different products: Coles has a simple 50x35cm bag for $3 whereas Big W has a smaller bag, 44x40cm bag (that includes a zipper to close) and an inside pocket, selling for $7.

Does anyone have experience with either product?

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We have a mesh zipper type, can’t remember where we originally git it from but have had it for about 10 years. Two sizes, close to two sizes you have mentioned. We only use it for bras…to prevent wires being dislodged in the wash, causing damage to the washing machine. The mesh and zip ensure any detached wires are trapped.

Use most weeks and has lasted well. Only the zip tag has half snapped off but still functional.

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We have multiple brands. The better ones have tighter mesh. We use them for bras and a few things with metal zips that cannot be turned inside out and Tilley hats to avoid removing the head straps (lazy us!).

When one can feel the product the size of the mesh matters as does its perceived flexibility - some seem more flexible and soft than others. Those with wider mesh just do not feel as good.

They are cheap enough we buy them when one fails and pick the one that looks sturdiest, at convenience.

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Thanks for the feedback @PhilT and @phb

Inspecting but not using the items, I note:

The $7 BigW item (mesh) has zipper which would ensure the item stays in its place and would not slip out during a wash. The problem I see is that after three attempts to open and close the zipper, it got stuck and I fear I will snap it if I try to close the zipper.

As for the $3 Coles bag, it too is mesh like, but appears to have no zipper, latch or knot so I wonder if an item will stay put during a washing cycle. I am unsure how items eg bras stay in the confines of the bag during a was. I say “appears” because the package cannot be opened and inspected without tearing it.

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I’ve used several types.

  1. Ones with smooth fabric are better than open mesh fabric. Because bra hooks and other bits and pieces get hooked on mesh, and not on smooth fabric.
  2. Ones with zip closure are better than ones with drawstring closure (drawstring with stopper) because they are less likely to open during the wash cycle.
  3. Look for one that have a ‘locking zipper slider’. When the ‘handle’ of the zipper slider is pressed flat to the zipper there is a little protrusion which locks into the zipper.
  4. Look for bags that have a sewn fabric strip at the closed end of the zip - that makes a tunnel that the zip slider goes into as you completely close it. The strip of fabric over the zipper head helps keep the ‘handle’ of the zipper slider from lifting. This complements the feature number 3.

The worst fail of a delicates washing bag is the bag letting the contents out during the wash/spin cycle.

Three types of zip slider:-

  • Non-lock
  • Semi auto lock (sort of okay if bag also has feature 4 above)
  • Auto lock (best sort for delicates wash bag)
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For bras, especially underwire bras, there are specialty wash bags which have framework to protect them from getting twisted during the wash/spin cycles.

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I’ve heard of a small pillow case being used to wash bras in the washing machine. And even pantyhose will do as a washing bag😆

I wash mine by hand because the delicate cycle uses cold water and lasts too long for the elastic parts to be soaked in.
I use lukewarm water, a mild laundry detergent, soak for about 15m, then hand wash by gently swishing, and then rinsing in cold water…I place the item in a thick towel, roll and squeeze out the moisture and then let air dry.

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Indeed a pillow case or a calico bag with a rubber band to close the open end off, works very well. No need to purchase anything special (particularly those with zips that inevitably break).

Many of us end up with pillow cases that no longer are suitable for their first intended purpose, they are easily repurposed to be the delicates washing bag. In doing so no additional cost beyond a bag of decent rubber bands are needed (the newer silicon ones tend not to perish either).

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Great points @vombatis; @grahroll and @Gaby
Many thanks.

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This is the solution we use when a zipper fails completely. We just continue to use the bag, and seal with a rubber band.

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I have a dozen different sizes from Daiso. All fine smooth mesh. Brilliant. They keep on going and cost $3.20 each. Very impressed at the quality

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Good tip, tks.

Thanks for the many good tips.
My reason for searching was that I need to wash a new pair of pants on gentle cycle. I was told by my other half that “it’s ok to wash such items in a normal cycle, so long as the item is protected, eg in such a wash bag”.

My two key points I wanted in a bag was (a) strong enough so that it will handle many washes; (b) has a zip or some other closing mechanism that will not fall apart in the near term and (c) big enough to hold an item like pants.

It’s safe to say that no item I found satisfied all three requirements, and I visted Target, Big W, Coles and Woolworths. For the record, KMART does not sell this item.

What I can report is that

Big W’s bag ($7) had two compartment, one with a zipper that got stuck the day I bought it (so I returned it);
Target ($5) and Coles ($3) have similar mesh bags to each other with what from the outside looks like a draw string use to close the bag. One cannot open and check the product out without breaking the seal.
Woolworths has IMHO the best product, if you’re after a bag to hold bras or smaller items. In fact it’s called a BRA WASHING BAG. Its regular price is $3.50 (though I found it for $1.75) and when removed from the packaging and unfolded, turns into a white cylinder with two strong sides (top & bottom) and what looks like a sturdy zipper (pink). Big enough to hold two bras I was told, but not as big as I need (for pants). That said, the other half said we’re keeping it.

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Try Bras N Things. Two sizes, both with zips, $10 for 45cm x 50cm and $8 for 35cm x 45cm.

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@Glenn, thanks for the tip. I just checked out its website and the large bag looks interesting. For the record, the Woolworths bag we’re keeping (15 x 15 cm) is according to Woolworths’ website, out of stock.

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I recently bought the $3 Coles bag. It is quite large and it has a zipper.

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Thanks for the tip. I also bought the Coles bag but without breaking the seal cannot determine if it has a zipper. Based on your post, I will keep it.

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I used both the Coles bag and the Woolworths bag today. You’re right about the coles bag, it is big, circa 45 x 34 cm and has a zipper. It easily fit my delicate pants.

While both bags certainly keep their contents from getting stuck in the washing machine drum eg bra clips, the Woolworths bag is smaller, has a zipper but is far, far more sturdy.

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I wash trousers in a large Daiso washing back. Perfect

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You mention you’re impressed by the quality. I am NOT surprised. My default when possible is to buy a Japanese or Korean made product as they are most often of a high quality and reliable. I have purchased other items at DAISO and like you are indeed impressed.

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