8 Things That Decide Whether Clothes Need Dry Clean Or Not

8-Points-To-Consider-Before-Sending-Clothes-To-A-Dry-Cleaner
8 Points To Consider Before Sending Clothes To A Dry Cleaner

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When the garment care label says “dry-clean only” the manufacturers make it very clear that the garment needs special care, hence it needs dry cleaning. 

Generally, such garments are made up of delicate fabrics or have embroidery, embellishments, etc. So, it does make sense to get them dry-cleaned and preserve them for a long time. 

But, you might have seen the “dry clean only” label on some of the most basic, plain and daily wear kinds of clothes like t-shirts and jeans. In such situations, you may feel an obvious urge to wash such clothes at home. And this is where it becomes tough to decide between Wash & Dry Clean.

Here, we will discuss this aspect so that you can give appropriate treatment to your clothes. 

Plain clothes are labelled “dry clean only” when manufacturers recommend the safest cleaning method and ensure the best results for their consumers. They just want to be extra protective with their clothing.

If you think that a garment can be washed at home, you may be right. You can hand wash or use a home dry cleaning kit on some fabrics even if its garment care label says “dry clean” or “dry clean only”. However, this doesn’t mean all clothes can be washed at home.

Here are 8 things to look at before deciding between “wash” and “dry clean” to clean your clothes.

Special Finish On The Garment

Garments with special finish or structure need dry cleaned
Garments with special finish or structure should be dry cleaned

Some coats, suits, and jackets have interfacing which gives a certain shape to them. In such garments, the outer fabric may be washable. However, the interfacings that create gaps may not tolerate water or excessive agitation in the washing machine. 

Click here to know: How to wash coats at home

Fibre Of The Garment

Fine fabrics like silk need dry cleaning
Fine fabrics like silk need dry cleaning

Read the garment care label to see the fibres of the garment. Wash it only if you know about the fibre. For example, you might know about fibres like cotton, silk, wool, etc. And you will easily find washing guides for such fabrics. However, you might not know about fibres like spandex or acetate. Wash such fabrics only if you have successfully washed the fibres earlier or it is directed on the label to wash them.

Ease Of Ironing The Garment

Ironing gets easier if pleated garments are dry-cleaned

Ironing a pleated skirt or shirt with pin tucks is slightly tougher than ironing plain T-shirts. Such garments should not be washed at home. Because a normal wash cycle will leave the pleats and tucks messy. And, it will be hard to iron them. You may not be able to give them their original crisp-free finish at home ever again. 

Inner Linings Of The Garment

Garments having inner linings needs dry cleaning
Garments having inner linings needs dry cleaning

If the garment has inner linings you should check whether the inner fabric is washable or not as well. For example, Acetate and polyester do not shrink with a normal wash. Whereas, inner linings of cotton, viscose and rayon are prone to shrinkage while laundry. Inner linings with silk or wool will require special care while being cleaned.

Leather Elements In The Garment

Garments having leather elements needs dry cleaning
Clothes having leather elements need dry cleaning

Sometimes clothes are trimmed with leather or they feature leather in other ways. For example, a denim jacket may have leather elbow patches. If you will wash such clothes the leather part will get adversely affected. Leather is a natural fibre, the oils in its skin bind to water molecules. After a regular wash, the water will dry and it will start drawing out the natural oil in leather. This will make the leather stiff and brittle. And your garment will lose its original charm. Leather always need dry cleaning so you should not wash such clothes at home.

Colour Bleeding Garment

A man concerned about how to remove colour bleeding stains from clothes
If a garment bleeds colour, you must prefer dry cleaning

If a garment bleeds colour, don’t wash it at home. To check the colourfastness you can dip a cotton swab in plain water and rub it on the garment. Make sure you do it on the hem or an inside seam. If colour gets transferred to the cotton swab then the garment should not be washed at home. Otherwise, you will lose the original shade of the garment. Dry cleaners use special chemicals that ensure 100% preservation of the colours of the fabric. It’s up to you what you choose.

Lifespan Of Garment

Very old garments need dry cleaning
Very old garments need dry cleaning

If a garment has spent several years in your closet and it has lost its original shade and shine, it might need special care. Washing it at home may steadily weaken the fabric. Because sometimes that fabrics lose their ability to tolerate regular laundry detergents, bleaching agents, fabric softeners etc. You can send such clothes to dry cleaners.

Value Of The Garment

It is better to dry clean clothes that are valuable to keep them safe
It is better to get valuable garments dry cleaned

Laundry disasters are real. Sometimes even if your focus shifts slightly your laundry mishap can happen. It always feels bad when clothes get damaged in laundry. But it is worse when clothes that are a little more precious gets ruined. Thus, many people prefer dry cleaning for some clothes which hold a special value to them to minimize risk of damage. That being said, it is completely up to you whether you want to treat such clothes at home or not.

We hope it will be easy for you to check whether a garment with a “dry clean” or “dry-clean only” label can be washed at home or not. Keep reading our articles for more detailed information on dry cleaning and laundry.

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