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Can you wash dry clean only clothes at home?
You’ve probably noticed that many of your nice clothes are “dry clean only.”
Maybe you’re like me and you’ve never thought to even look at the tag to see how to wash it before you bought it (I hope I’m not the only one).
The good news is that according to a bunch of research and some of my own experiments at home, many of these “dry clean only” clothes can be safely washed at home!
Many clothing experts agree that “dry clean only” labels are often used to prevent damage to flimsy items. Think of it as an insurance policy for clothing manufacturers.
But how do you know? What if your clothes fall apart?
HOW TO WASH DRY CLEAN ONLY CLOTHES AT HOME
First, you want to look at the tag carefully, does it say “dry clean only” or just “dry clean”?
“Dry clean only” clothes are more likely to need special care where a tag that just says “dry clean” may be fine on delicate in the washer (keep reading for more specific washer instructions).
Second, look at the material, the material will determine the best method to use. Cashmere, wools, and most silks will need a little more care when washing.
Fur, suede, and velvet will probably require dry cleaning.
Lastly, a $600 dress or suit probably isn’t worth the risk. But spending $10 to dry clean a $40 blouse might be too much. Unless you really LOVE that blouse and couldn’t find it again if it needed to be replaced (all up to you).
There are items that are quickly ruined by a traditional washing machine, water, and soap. That’s why you want to proceed with caution and be reasonable.
Check out the tips I am going to share and do some research on your particular clothing item if you need to. If you bought your clothes online you may be able to go right to the item’s website and ask a question or read the comments.
People love sharing horror stories of items falling apart or even victories that they washed the item and it was just fine even though it said “dry clean only”.
So while you can’t avoid the dry cleaner 100% of the time, you can minimize your visits and the expense with the following tips. Use these tips to save money on dry cleaning!
HOW TO DRY CLEAN AT HOME
Use a Home Dry Cleaning Kit
This will probably be your safest bet since, well, that’s what it’s designed for. These kits are made to use at home usually in the dryer, just follow the instructions on the box.
You can grab an affordable home dry cleaning kit on Amazon for $10 – $20 for the starter kit which will come with a reusable dry cleaning bag that you will need to put your clothing in and a set number of cleaning clothes and usually a laundry booster.
You will need a starter kit at first and then you can buy refill kits for future cleanings. The refill kits are even cheaper usually under $10 for 8 or so more loads.
Check out some Dry Cleaning Kits. Check the reviews and ask questions in the question section of Amazon (usually near the reviews of a specific product) if you’re not sure if it’s right for your item.
People are super helpful and usually, respond within a day or so.
Hand Wash Your Dry Clean Only Clothes
Another option is hand washing. To hand-wash, use a clean sink or basin. Fill the tub with cold water and add a small amount of a mild detergent, like Woolite.
Test a small spot before you get carried away. Do a quick test and ensure you’re not going to destroy the color. The last thing you want is dye bleeding out of your clothes. A cotton swab can be handy for this task.
Mix until the water appears sudsy.
Dip your clothing in and out of the water until it’s saturated, then gently rub any soiled areas softly with your fingers.
When you feel confident that the garment is clean, empty the sink or basin and fill it with cold water, this time without soap. Dip the item in and out of the water until it’s no longer soapy.
Leaving soap on the item can damage it in the long run so rinse gently but thoroughly.
To dry, lay the garment on a clean dry towel.
Roll up the towel with the clothing inside, pushing on it gently to remove water. Unroll the towel and move the garment to a drier area of the towel.
Repeat this process until the fabric is no longer dripping.
Then, lay it out flat to dry. Do not hang it because it can lose shape on a hanger while it’s wet.
Machine Wash Dry Clean Only Clothes
Some clothes can be put right into the washer on a delicate cycle in cold water. New modern washers also have tons of other settings like steam etc so read your manual.
Machine wash cold with a mild detergent (like Woolite), using the gentlest cycle available. Snatch your garments from the machine as soon as the cycle ends, and lay them out flat to dry.
These bags are also awesome for washing bra’s and panties so they don’t get tangled up and ruined.
Saving Money with Dry Clean Only Clothes that you Have to Bring to the Dry Cleaners!
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Some clothes will need to be dry cleaned, it’s unavoidable. So how do you save money on these items?
- One of the easiest ways is to try and not get the item dirty! I’m not really messy so I hardly stain items (watch me stain myself today just because I said that) but if you have kids that can be an issue. You should be able to wear something a few times before having to wash it.
- Get dressed last and try to avoid spraying perfume directly on clothing.
- Leave the item in a garment bag when hanging in the closet. I bought a bunch of garment bags at the dollar store and store all my dresses and coats in them. They are cheap plastic but they work just try not to rip it.
- If you must go to the dry cleaner, look for a deal or coupon. Try different dry cleaners so you can get a new customer discount each time or look for a Groupon.
Do you have any tips on washing dry clean only clothes at home? Leave them in the comments I would love to hear them!
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