can you wash clothes that are dry clean only

Can You Wash Clothes That Are Dry Clean Only?

It is natural to want to save money and time by doing laundry at home instead of taking garments to the dry cleaners. However, when it comes to garments that are labeled as “dry clean only”, you must take extra steps to make sure the clothes remain in good condition.

What Does Dry Clean Only Mean?

The term “dry clean only” is a warning that regular washing will damage the garment. Dry cleaning protects fabric from intense water, heat and agitation which can damage fabrics that are delicate, contain beads/sequins, or to retain the garment’s shape.

Can You Wash ‘Dry Clean Only’ Items?

It is possible to wash dry clean only items if you take the necessary precautions. Here are some tips for successful home laundering of dry clean items:

  • Check the Care Label – Before attempting any sort of laundering at home, take a look at the care label. If the garment is labeled as “dry clean only”, it may be best to still take it to the dry cleaners. However, if the garment has a “dry clean or hand wash” label, it is safe to wet the garment in a sink at home.
  • Choose the Right Detergent – Use a mild detergent, intended for delicate fabrics, and avoid detergents with bleach or harsh chemicals. Avoid any soap that contains bleach or harsh chemicals, as these could damage the fabric.
  • Test for Color-fastness – Test for color-fastness by dampening an inconspicuous area with water and a slight amount of detergent. If the material does not bleed and the color does not transfer onto the damp cloth, then it is safe to proceed with laundering the garment.
  • Water Temperature – Use tepid or cold water and avoid hot water, as high temperatures are likely to cause damage and shrinkage.
  • Hand Washing or Delicate Cycle – Preferably use the delicate cycle on your washing machine. However, it is safest to hand-wash the garment and never put it in the dryer.
  • Dry Flat or Line Dry – Air dry the garment, either flat or hung to line dry. Do not put the garment in the dryer.

Remember that even when taking extra steps to wash dry clean only items at home, you may still risk causing damage to the garment. Following these tips carefully will help minimize risk, but there is still no guarantee that your garment will not be harmed.

In conclusion, it is possible to wash dry clean only items at home, however it is important to be extremely cautious and know that there is still a risk of damage. The best option is to still take garments labeled “dry clean only” to the dry cleaners to protect their shape, fit and color.

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