Which Pieces You Should (and Shouldn’t) Dry Clean

You’ve crafted your wardrobe to fit your unique style and comfort preferences – but it can make laundry complicated! There’s no hard and fast rule – like dry clean all of your business clothing and toss your casuals in the washing machine – to make it thoughtlessly simple. But there are some guidelines that can help you simplify your laundry routines. That starts with knowing which pieces you should (and shouldn’t) dry clean! Sit back, relax, and learn from the experts how to simplify your routine – which pieces should be sent off to the dry cleaners and which ones you should wash at home. 

Never Dry Clean These Fabrics

Dry cleaning is a process that uses a chemical solvent – most usually tetrachloroethyiene or “perc” – that doesn’t require clothing to be partially or fully submerged in water or agitated. This waterless solution gives dry cleaning its name. While this chemical and process are safe for most clothing and people, it can be harmful to some materials. If your clothing or other items include synthetic materials like polyurethane, plastic, or PVC, you should never dry clean them. You can usually identify these clothing by the materials listed on the item’s tag or by reading its washing and care instructions. When in doubt, ask your dry cleaning or laundry professional if dry cleaning could be harmful to your clothing or other pieces.

Which Pieces Should I Dry Clean?

Certain fabrics can lose their shape – by shrinking or even falling apart – if they are submerged in water and agitated in the way conventional washing machines clean your other clothing. Other fabrics are vulnerable to high heat and tumbling that takes place in conventional dryers. Usually, these pieces will include specific washing and care instructions on the tags or packaging. As a general rule of thumb, the most vulnerable clothes at risk of losing their shape or integrity in washing machines and dryers include:

  • Wool
  • Polyester
  • Polyester blends
  • Silk
  • Velvet
  • Leather
  • Chiffon
  • Other delicate fabrics

Many of these clothing items or other pieces include hand-washing and care instructions, but the best way to take care of them is to trust them to a professional dry cleaner. Any costs associated with professional cleaning will easily repay themselves in the longevity of your clothing pieces – especially when your expensive suits, dresses, coats, or other formal or professional wear are on the line. 

While most professional cleaners can handle any of these fabrics, be sure to choose a dry cleaner that is experienced with the fabric you need cleaned. Ask, specifically, if your chosen cleaner has experience with and guarantees its care of your delicate fabrics, especially when it comes to velvet, leather, and chiffon. 

Which Pieces Shouldn’t I Dry Clean?

Aside from the synthetic materials mentioned above that could be harmed by the dry cleaning process, there are some clothing items that should be easy enough to keep clean at home. Usually, these clothing items can be protected and kept clean by paying close attention to water temperature and heat levels during drying. Polyester and nylon, for example, can be washed in a machine on the permanent press or delicate cycle in warm water. High-quality pieces like cashmere blends, on the other hand, should always be washed in lukewarm or cold water by hand. 

Denim, on the other hand, has some special considerations: while most jeans can be washed in cold water inside-out and hung to dry, your more expensive or high-quality denim could benefit from care at the dry cleaners. And raw denim – pure and non-distressed – should almost never be washed at all. When it comes to high-end denim clothing, consult the experts for the best care – at home or in the dry cleaning shop!

Wash and care instructions should be clearly printed on the clothing item’s tag, but a cleaning professional can help you decide the best care for your wardrobe. Aside from the obvious – like cotton socks, undershirts, underwear, t-shirts, and other casuals – you can properly care for many of your clothing items at home. But if laundry piles up, you might save lots of time and preserve the look and feel of your clothing with professional laundry services!

Where to Bring Your Dry Cleaning – and All Your Laundry!

If you’re like most Americans, laundry is among your most-hated chores – sucking up hours of your week! At Hangers Cleaners, we can handle your dry cleaning and your everyday laundry. And we even offer a free pickup and delivery service! Give us a call or visit one of our locations to learn more.