You Can Wash Dry Clean Only Clothes, Here’s How

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Tips

  • Some garments are labeled “Dry Cleaning Optional” or “Dry Cleaning Suggested.” You may machine and hand wash these items, but the manufacturer believes that the quality of the merchandise warrants dry cleaning to extend the life of the garment.

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  • Machine washing and drying clothing shortens the life of all garments. Dry clean any garment that is extremely important to you, no matter what washing instructions are the manufacturer provides. However, there are a few materials should never be dry cleaned. These items indicate “No Dry Cleaning” on their tags.[12]

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How do you shrink polyester curtains?

Also, take shrink-prone clothes out of the dryer before they have a chance to completely dry out. Then, hang them up or lay them flat to finish air drying. A label that says “pre-shrunk” doesn’t necessarily mean it was prewashed.

Silks and Delicates

Boyd tells us that the process for silks is to first pretreat stains, such as dye, wine, coffee, or grass, with a stain treatment. “Work the stain-remover into the affected area with your finger or a Stain Brush, then soak the item in cool water for up to 30 minutes.”

Then, proceed to wash. If you are washing by hand, fill up your sink, basin, or tub with cool water and add two capfuls of delicate wash. Then, mix the detergent into the water, add your items, submerge, and agitate the mixture with your hands to distribute the soap evenly around the clothing. Let those items sit in the soapy mixture for around 30 minutes and then drain the wash water. Once that is done, run cool water through items until the rinse water is no longer sudsy. But Whiting warns, “Be careful not to wring the fabrics! Instead, softly press the water out of your item between your hands or against the sink.”

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If you are going to wash silks and delicates in the washing machine, Boyd advises turning items inside out before putting them in a mesh bag (again, to prevent snagging). Select the delicate cycle on your washing machine, and make sure the water temperature is cold and the spin is on low before you add detergent made for delicates. Another pro tip: “We highly recommend removing silks promptly from the washing machine to reduce the risk of wrinkling.”

Detergent for Hand Washing Clothes

(tycoon751/123rf.com)
(tycoon751/123rf.com)

Some detergents can damage delicate items, so make sure that you pick the right type. The best soap for hand washing clothes will be mild like Woolite.

Baby shampoo or Ivory liquid soap is also mild enough for your clothes. For silk garments, a few drops of hair conditioner added to the final rinse gives it an extra soft, silky feel.

What you should always dry clean

Hand washing and delicate cycles can only go so far. For a handful of special fabrics, it is best to call in the experts. Anything made with viscose, polyamide, items with manufactured pleating, structured pieces like neckties and blazers with shoulder pads, suede, and non-washable leather are all considered dry clean only, according to The Laundress ladies.

Tullio-Pow also recommends considering factors beyond the fibres. Are there special finishes to the fabric that may come off if washed in water? Decorative beading, flocking and sequins applied by glue (rather than sewing) are no-gos in terms of home care and must be handled by the pros.

Suede and Leather Care

While suede is not something that the Laundress ladies recommend doing a thorough cleaning of at home, there are some workarounds. For example, if needed, you can steam your suede clothes to remove wrinkles, freshen, and eliminate bacteria. But remember, you absolutely cannot iron suede, as ironing will crush or flatten the nap. For added fresh scent, spritz a fabric freshener, such as Fabric Fresh Classic, for a clean laundry scent and is made with ingredients that have antibacterial properties.

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Leather follows along the same long: if a leather item is labeled “not washable” or “dry clean only” don’t wash it at home. However, if a leather item is labeled washable, or is a non-leather item with leather trim, whether that be patches, collars, zip pulls, and binding, you can test them by doing a spot test on an inconspicuous area. To spot test, wet a clean, white, lint-free cloth and blot the item.

Look for discoloration, spots, or other changes once the area has dried. If these appear, do not wash it. If the item passes the test, you can proceed by turning it inside out and placing it into a mesh washing bag. Set your machine to the delicates cycle and make sure the water temperature is cold and the spin to low, and to wash with a detergent for delicates.

Or if you prefer to hand wash, fill a basin, sink, or tub with cool or cold water, add delicate wash and the item, swirl mixture with hands, then allow to soak for 30 minutes before rinsing and pressing water out with hands. Boyd reminds, “Don’t wring!”

Lay the item item in its natural shape on a drying rack or hang to dry. Be sure to position the item properly on a hanger to prevent stretching. Do not put in the dryer!

And to make sure you give your leather clothes that you washed the ultimate finish, steam to remove wrinkles and freshen between washes with a delicate spray.

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Clothing That Can’t Be Washed

Not everything can be washed, and when you wash some fabrics, the result can be disastrous. Some fabrics and clothing styles don’t wash well and dry even worse. Here’s a shortlist of don’t-even-think-about-it clothing:

  • Viscose, which is also known as rayon, is a versatile fabric used in all kinds of fashion, upholstery, and other products. It drapes beautifully and holds bright, true colors. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always wash well. You may get away with hand washing some pieces, but do a colorfast test first: Wet a cotton swab, add a drop of detergent and rub the swab on an inconspicuous area like the inside of an underarm seam. If you see any color on the swab, forget washing. If the material is colorfast, understand that washing may break down the fibers that provide that beautiful drape, so it might never fit the same way again. Bottom line: if you love a garment made with rayon, dry clean it.
  • Polyamide, or nylon, is a synthetic fabric used to make such diverse-use clothing as stretchy yoga pants and Kevlar vests. Some garments made with nylon can be hand-washed, but if you’ve ever owned a pair of pantyhose, you know it’s risky. Your garment may stretch out, shrink up, or simply lose shape.
  • Pleating – Even if you have a pleated skirt made from durable cotton, using your washing machine at home is not a great way to save a couple of bucks. Professional cleaners have equipment designed to press pleats. Without it, getting the creases sharp is a time-consuming nightmare.
  • Suit pieces with a lining suit linings are usually made from some lightweight fabric like nylon or silk, which will shrink and shift differently from the outer shell. Tossing a lined blazer or skirt in the washer often leaves you with a saggy lining falling below your hemline.
  • Suede and non-washable leather – Water and leather simply don’t mix. While there are home dry cleaning products, do you really want to take a chance on a piece as expensive as leather?
  • Some silks – Silk is a natural fabric, and even the most delicate pieces may be hand washable with a mild detergent. Much like rayon, though, it may lose color or lose the fluid drape that makes these fabrics so remarkable.
  • Cashmere and other fine knits – you can successfully steam fine knits between dry cleaning, but hand washing is likely to ruin their shape.
  • Some wools – wool is a special case. It’s a natural fiber with a unique warp and woof. In this case, trust the label. If it says dry clean, then dry clean.
  • If you have garments with dry clean labels made of natural fabrics like washable silk or cotton and you want to save money on dry cleaning, proceed carefully. 

The Easy Way – Your Dry Cleaner Picks it up

Our very best advice is the method that does not involve all the hand-washing, air drying, and careful ironing: Get professional cleaners to do it for you. Not only do you get professional results, non-saggy clothing, and gloriously fluid silks with no weird, pointy hanger indents, but you get your laundry done quickly, easily, and door-to-door at no additional charge. That’s right, we pick up and deliver to your home or office for free. You get to rescue your weekends from laundry, and only pay the cost of the cleaning from a vetted professional cleaner. 

  1. Download the Press App
  2. Schedule a pick up
  3. Delivered back in 24-48 hours
  4. Enjoy your stress free laundry

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

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.

Should you prewash curtain fabric?

Also, take shrink-prone clothes out of the dryer before they have a chance to completely dry out. Then, hang them up or lay them flat to finish air drying. A label that says “pre-shrunk” doesn’t necessarily mean it was prewashed.

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