|Don't worry -- this can be cleaned!|
Rebecca tests flutes for us here at Powell all day, so she goes through many swabs and cleaning cloths. At the end of the day, she may find herself with a bunch of swabs and microfiber cloths that are certainly "well-used." She told us that because she has so many, she takes them home and cleans them simply by putting them in the washing machine on the delicate cycle. If she only has a few, she may do a quick hand-wash in the sink. Either way, it is perfectly fine. You want to make sure that you use a very gentle detergent in the washing machine (like Woolite), and do not use fabric softener. If you are hand washing your cloths in the sink, you could also use something like Woolite or even a mild dishwashing liquid. If your swabs are silk (like in the case of a piccolo), you definitely should wash them by hand in the sink. Whether you are washing cloth or silk swabs and cleaning cloths, do not put them in the dryer -- simply let them air dry, and they will be perfect!
Now, we realize that you may not have a whole load of swabs and cloths to launder, but that is okay. If you choose to put them in the washing machine, you can always put them in a smaller load -- maybe with some other dishtowels or something similar. You may want to put the swabs and cloths in a mesh "lingerie bag." Keeping your cloths and swabs clean will make a world of difference, and it is quite easy to do -- so don't be afraid to do it yourself. Just remember, it's okay to wash them, but do not take them to the dry cleaner!