If you're like most people, those dry-clean-only clothes sit on their own in a separate hamper or maybe hung up at one end of your closet, just waiting for the next trip to the dry cleaners. The good news? Believe it or not, most clothes with a dry clean only tag can actually be washed at home. Save time, save money, and save your clothes!
Step 1: Check the Label
Step 2: Do a Spot Test
Step 3: Wash Very Carefully
Step 4: Skip the Dryer
Cashmere Sweaters: Most cashmere manufacturers recommend handwashing in cool water, not dry-cleaning. The tumbling action of a dry-cleaning machine can damage the fibers and cause them to turn to harden up like felt. So, what's the best way to take care of your expensive cashmere? Hand wash or set the delicate cycle on cool and use an enzyme-free detergent. Never put cashmere in the dryer. Instead, lay the sweater on a flat surface or drying rack. Try not to stretch out the sweater too much to maintain the shape. Voila! A soft, clean cashmere sweater (without that hefty dry cleaning bill).
Silk Shirt: You'll find plenty of machine washable silk shirts hanging in stores these days, but what about those that still have the "dry clean only" tags? Any silk has to be specially treated before it becomes machine washable. For those pieces that are not pre-treated, the biggest problem is likely to be tiny creases covering the fabric that won't iron out. How to wash? Once again, we recommend hand washing or setting the delicate cycle on cool and using an enzyme-free (non-bio) detergent, like Dropps! Hang dry or lay flat. All silk will experience some shrinkage, but this should clear up after some light ironing.
Photo Credit: MissMoss.Co.Za
Polyester Dress: Polyester washes very well! Oftentimes polyester dresses have "dry clean only" tags to ensure that the dress keeps it's shape. By washing on the delicate cool cycle with an enzyme-free detergnent and hanging dry you'll be able to save a few bucks on dry cleaning your favorite dress.
Faux Fur: That faux fur trim on your puffer jacket or your fuzzy infinity scarf keeps you extra warm. The downside? We wash these items less frequently than we should or wait til the end of season trip to the dry cleaners.
The easiest types to clean at home are short in length or looped. You can wash these in a washing machine on cool water with a mild, color safe detergent. Place the garment in the washer and let it soak for 15-20 minutes. To avoid too much agitation we recommend switching to the rinse cycle. If you think the garment needs an extra rinse you can set it on the rinse cycle one more time.
Longer haired faux fur is easily matted or knotted. These items should be hand washed in cool water with a gentle detergent to avoid as much agitation and heat as possible. Never put faux fur in the dryer! High heat can melt the faux fur fibers and cause knotting and matting. There’s not much you can do to repair this. Instead, lay the items flat on a towel, use an indoor drying rack, or hang on your shower rod to dry.
Feather Duvet: Cold weather is on it's way and it's time to break out the warmer bedding. Does your duvet have a funky smell from being stored away all season? All you need is a mild detergent, and a few hours spent at the laundromat. And patience. This usually involves a trip to a laundromat with an XL machine. Select the delicate/gentle cycle and add a small amount of mild or all-natural detergent. Too much soap can strip the down, so be sparing. Run the comforter through two rinse cycles to ensure all the soap has been washed out. Dry the comforter in an XL capacity dryer on low. This may take a few hours but will ensure that all the down is completely dry to prevent mold growth. Make sure it's completely dry before heading home!
Two items to leave up to the professionals? Suits tend to lose their shape, and embellished tops can lose shape (and sequins, beads, and feathers!).
Recommended Enzyme Free / Non-Bio Laundry Detergent: