If you’re an enthusiastic shopper with a love for soft fabrics and pretty clothes, then you have undoubtedly come across the ‘dry-clean only’ tag. But do you really need to dry clean these items, or is there a way around the cost of a trip to the dry cleaners?
The answer is yes and no. For some fabrics and garments, you really do need to dry clean them. However, some manufacturers use ‘dry-clean only’ tags as a blanket warning for all their clothes, regardless whether the item genuinely needs to be dry cleaned or not. So, how do you know?
Check the fabric
Most fabrics, such as cotton, wool, cashmere, some silks, nylon and robust polyesters, can be hand-washed in cold water. However, items that have been dyed with highly-saturated colours, made of leather, fur, faux fur and other difficult materials should be dry cleaned. To check if the colour may run in water, use a wet cotton bud and rub it against the fabric in a hidden location (such as the arm pit). If colour comes off, send it to the dry cleaner. When in doubt, ask a professional dry cleaner.
Wash it carefully
Usually, most garments can be gently hand-washed in cold water with a small amount of wool or delicate detergent. Don’t leave the item to soak or overload the water with detergent. It should be a gentle wash.
Dry it carefully
For robust items (that may have already endured a wash or two) you can pop them in a ‘delicates’ spin cycle in the machine. However, other delicate items should be rolled into a towel to remove excess water, then laid flat to dry.
What should always go to a dry cleaner?
Delicate silk garments, velvet garments, anything beaded, wedding dresses or formal dresses should go to a dry cleaner. If the item is precious to you, have it dry cleaned as per the care label.
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