The moment we see a garment with a ‘dry cleaning only’ tag most of us imagine the high cost of maintaining it and usually will place it back on the rack. A trip to the dry cleaners can cost you quite a lot and sometimes the cost of the clothing and a trip or two to the dry cleaners comes to the same amount. Thankfully, we do not need to give up clothes that have a ‘dry cleaning only’ tag on them. There are ways to clean these garments without ruining them, and also without having to go to the dry cleaners.
Here are some tips:
- Understand why dry cleaning – Have you ever wondered why some clothes have the dry cleaning only tab on them while others can be simply thrown into the machine? In order to care for dry cleaning only clothes it is important to understand why dry cleaning does not harm these clothes and machine wash does. In most cases the fiber of the clothes cannot stand the vigorous cleaning of the machine and is either likely to get damaged by the detergent or shrunk by the water. In some cases the water may cause the color to run. These are the garments that are labeled dry cleaning only.
- First time cases – When it comes to the first time, it is important that your send in your dry cleaning only labeled clothes to the drycleaner, especially if they are expensive, which most dry cleaning only clothes are. This is very important since the dry cleaning helps to set the colors in better and also toughens up the fabric a bit. This means that the garment will be able to sustain the in house cleaning the second time. If you attempt to wash it at home for the very first time, you may end up doing a lot of harm to the garment.
- At home practice – When washing a dry cleaning only garment at home remember to always use cold water to wash. Hot water can damage the colors of the garment and also its fabric. Never toss it into the machine but instead hand-wash it. Use a very mild detergent and soak the fabric for a short time only. Over soaking can cause the colors to run. In fact it is best to use a cake of soap to rub on the fabric gently and then wash it under cold running water. Do not squeeze the water out of the garment but simply let it drip dry in the shade.
- Patch test – If you are not sure about whether or not the garment can stand being washed at home, simply do a small patch test. Wash a small bit of the fabric to see how it responds to the detergent and water. Once you are sure that there are not problems you can wash the rest of the garment. The patch test is very important especially if you are worried about the color running.
Some garments made of very thin fabric or wool, should not be washed in water ever, but rather dry cleaned.