can you wash clothes that say dry clean only

can you wash clothes that say dry clean only

Can You Wash Clothes That Say Dry Clean Only?

Dry cleaning is an old, reliable way of cleaning clothes. Items labelled “dry clean only” usually mean they’re delicate and can easily be damaged by water. But is this an absolute rule?

What is Dry Cleaning?

Dry cleaning is a kind of chemical process that uses solvents to “clean” fabric. It was developed as an alternative to water-based cleaning, and it’s commonly used on fabrics that can shrink or be otherwise damaged in a regular washing machine.

What Does “Dry Clean Only” Mean?

Fabric manufacturers often label items with “dry clean only” if the cleaning process involves solvents or other chemicals that may damage the fabric. Additionally, some fabrics, like sequined items or leather, are only suitable for dry cleaning.

Can You Wash Dry Clean Only Clothes?

The short answer is yes, some items labelled “dry clean only” may be able to be washed at home. Before you attempt to wash an item yourself, take some precautions:

Check the Label

The label may have specific instructions that you’ll need to follow.

Test a Small Area First

Try washing a small area of the fabric with cold water and a gentle detergent. If it doesn’t shrink, bleed, or otherwise damage the fabric, proceed with washing the item as you normally would.

Be Gentle

Use a gentle cycle, don’t apply too much detergent, and fasten any zippers and buttons before washing.

Use Cold Water

Be sure to use cold water and the gentlest setting on your washing machine possible.

Air Dry

Avoid putting dry clean only items in the dryer, which can cause the fabric to shrink or pill. Instead, hang dry them or use the no-heat setting on your dryer to air dry the items.

When in doubt, dry-cleaning is still the safest, most reliable way of cleaning delicate fabrics. If you do plan on washing items labelled “dry clean only” yourself, double-check the label, take precautions, and always be gentle.

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