You’ve brought a full laundry basket to your washing machine, ready to get things done, and you’re immediately disheartened to find a “dry clean only” tag inside a silk shirt. Now, you must bring it to the dry cleaner and pay someone else to clean your items properly. But does “dry clean only” really mean dry clean only?
Items You Must Dry Clean
There are a few items that are “dry clean only” for a good reason — they might be ruined by running them through a regular laundry cycle. Certain types of clothing, such as suits and sportcoats, have delicate fabrics that your washing machine can tear. The dryer is even worse — the rough motions of a tumble dry can seriously damage or destroy fragile clothing. While you can use a steamer to gently remove wrinkles from these textures, clothing made with leather, suede, velvet, and fabric embellished with beading or sequins must also be dry cleaned for best results.
“Dry Clean” vs. “Dry Clean Only”
Read the labels when questioning whether you can launder certain items at home. If an item says “dry clean,” you can follow the other washing methods included on the laundry tag — though you should still take added caution. If the tag says “dry clean only,” you should take it to the dry cleaner to avoid potential damage, such as shrinking.
The best method for washing “dry clean” labeled garments at home is hand-washing in cold water with a tablespoon of detergent before hanging them to dry. If you would like to use the delicate cycle on your washing machine instead, make sure that you are washing only one type of fabric at a time. Secure items in a mesh clothing bag to reduce wear and tear, fasten all buttons and zippers and take the time to gently reshape them before hanging to dry.
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