An encounter with a “Dry Clean Only” label can lead you into a tricky situation. You may find dry cleaning a hassle and opt for laundry washing the garment instead. You should know that while some Dry Clean Only items can be washed, the smartest and safest idea may be to take your clothing, or items, to the dry cleaners.
When to Dry Clean
You’ll want to consider several factors before you decide between dry cleaning or laundry washing to prevent any damage before it’s too late:
Do you know how to wash it?
Are there spots or stains on the clothing that you don’t know how to deal with? Is it made from a material you’ve never washed before? If you’ve bought an item that you have little experience with, you’re better off leaving it to a professional service to take care of.
What’s it made out of?
Materials like leather and suede can lose their shape and texture in water because water strips the materials of their natural oils. Materials like rayon or garments made from acetate or triacetate can also lose their shape or even shrink in water. You’ll want to dry clean these kinds of items to keep them looking like they should.
How was the item tailored?
Pleated items like skirts or garments with lapels and shoulder-shaping, like suit jackets, might lose their crisp appearance if washed. Some clothing comes with a unique stabilizing finish, which likewise gives it a crisp look not to tampered with. Lastly, while some clothing has safe material on the outside, the inside could be made from a material much harder to take care of and much more secure if left to be dry cleaned.
Will the Dye Come Off?
If you haphazardly throw an item in the washing machine that has loose dye, you’re going to ruin more than just the item in question, but all the clothing it’s washing with. To test if you have a garment with this trait, you can check by rubbing the garment with a wet cotton swab. If the dye comes off, don’t put it in the wash.
How to Wash
If you’ve read all the wash care labels and you’re confident that you can wash the item in question after considering all the previously mentioned factors, you’ll want to make sure you’re very careful about the way you handle the laundry washing.
You’ll always want to wash the item by itself, at least until you’re sure that it’s safe to wash with other clothing. Always use cold water and a gentle detergent, and, if you choose to go for a laundry washing instead of handwashing the item, run it on a gentle cycle. It’s best to hang the piece of clothing to dry, but some garments can be flatly dried to prevent stretching, such as those made from knit or similar fabric types.
We welcome any laundry care questions from our clients, so don’t hesitate to ask if you need advice. Contact us through our form or call us today!