Your blouse that you need for work in the morning is dirty and you discover that it has a “dry clean only” tag. You know that you won’t have time to take it to the dry cleaners, so you may be asking yourself if there is any possible way that you can wash it at home. Thankfully, many “dry clean only” items can be washed at home, as long as you are careful. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about “dry clean only”. 


What is Dry Cleaning? 

The dry cleaning process uses non-water based chemical solvents to clean clothing, bedding, upholstery, and other types of fabrics. Water can be damaging to certain types of fabrics and residential washing machines can often damage delicate items, making dry cleaning an excellent alternative. Dry cleaning involves a number of steps, including inspection and tagging, pre-spotting, dry cleaning, post spotting, and finishing touches. 

 During the dry cleaning process, your items are placed into a machine and submerged into a non-water based solvent. Next, they are rotated in a perforated cylinder, allowing the chemical solvent to release in a steady amount throughout the process. The machine then spins rapidly to get rid of any excess solvent from the clothes and proceeds to release warm air. By the end of the process, your clothes emerge completely dry. 

It is recommended to dry clean fabrics and materials including silk, suede, wool, leather, linen, and denim. 


Can I Wash “Dry Clean Only” Clothes at Home? 

While many garments are labeled as “dry clean only”, this does not necessarily mean that the item can’t be washed at home. The label is mainly there to reduce the risk of people incorrectly washing the garment at home, which could ruin the fabric. 

 Whether or not it can be washed at home also depends on the type of garment and fabric. Items that are made of natural fibers, such as cotton, silk and linen, or polyester can often be washed by hand or in cold water in a machine. However, it is recommended that you don’t attempt to wash items made from delicate synthetics, such as rayon, or fabric blends, like silk and wool, as well as suede or leather items and those that have beading, embellishments, or sequins. 


 How to Hand Wash Dry Clean Only Clothes

 If you plan to hand wash clothes that are labeled as “dry clean”, follow these helpful steps: 

  1. Make sure to use a gentle laundry detergent and a clean sink or basin filled with cold water. 
  2. Wash the item by itself. 
  3. You can wash fabrics, such as wool, silk or cotton, gently by hand; however, avoid washing fur, feather, leather, suede, or other fragile fabrics. 
  4. Never use the dryer and avoid any excess heat. If you are washing a knit garment, it can be laid flat to dry to help prevent stretching. If the item is woven, make sure you hang it up to drip dry. 


 How to Machine Wash Dry Clean Only Clothes

 What you will need: 

  • Mesh laundry bag
  • Gentle laundry detergent
  • Cotton swab (optional)
  • Check the care label. 

 Before you begin washing your clothes, the first thing that you should do is check the garment’s care label and fabric type. Ensure that the label says “dry clean” or “dry clean recommended” and not “dry clean only” before moving to the next step. 

  • Do a spot test. 

 Another important thing to do before throwing your clothes in the washing machine is to complete a quick spot test. To perform a spot test, place a small amount of water and a drop of gentle laundry detergent on a swatch of the clothing that you plan to wash. Gently swipe across the area using a cotton swab. If there are no traces of fabric dye, you may proceed with machine washing. However, if the cotton swab shows fabric dye, you will need to take the garment to be dry cleaned.

  • Choose the wash cycle and temperature. 

 Choosing the correct wash cycle and temperature is extremely important. You will want to be sure to use a gentle or “delicate” cycle when washing clothes that are intended to be dry cleaned. This will reduce the risk of wrinkling or tangling the clothing. Additionally, make sure to select the cold water setting. Cold water lessens the risk of shrinking, fading, or pilling, which delicate fabrics are prone to. 

  • Add detergent.

 When washing delicates, you will need to use a gentle detergent or one that is specifically designed for your clothing’s type. 

  • Prep and add clothing. 

Place any delicate items into a mesh laundry bag to help prevent clothing from catching or tangling during the wash cycle. Place the mesh bag into the water, close the lid, and begin the cycle. 

Contact Hanger’s Cleaners Today

No matter how careful you are, some clothes simply require dry cleaning anyway. If you’re unsure, ask your experienced dry cleaning professional for their opinion. Whether you are in need of more time or just want to avoid the hassle of laundry, our team of professionals at Hangers Cleaners is here to help. From dry cleaning services to wet services, alterations, pressing clothes, and many more, Hangers Cleaners has got you covered! We know that life can get busy – that’s why we offer free dry cleaning delivery and pickup for all of our customers! Call us at 501-227-8500 to schedule services for all of your laundry needs today.