Ever wondered what would happen if you tossed a dry clean only shirt into the washer? Would it survive or unravel in the wash?
As it turns out, some items can actually survive a gentle cycle. Other types of delicate clothing you’d have to hand wash. At the end of the day, it all depends on the material.
What types of dry clean only clothes can you put in the washing machine? Perhaps the detergent has something to do with it?
For the answers, be sure to keep reading. We’ll be going over everything you need to know below.
What Are Dry Clean Only Clothes?
“Dry clean only” labels are there for good reason – to protect your clothes from potential damage.
However, many garments labeled as “dry-clean only” can actually be washed at home with the right technique.
If anything, the labels are just used as a precaution by manufacturers.
The Role of Clothing Manufacturers in Labeling
Clothing manufacturers use these tags not just to make our lives harder, but because certain fabrics react poorly to water and standard detergents. These include delicate items like silk and cashmere, or structured pieces that need their shape preserved.
This doesn’t mean you have to run off to the dry cleaners every time though. Sometimes it’s more about manufacturer caution than an absolute necessity. And knowing when you can bend those rules might save your wallet some serious hurt.
Identifying Delicate Materials
Fabrics that typically require special care include wool, velvet, silk, rayon, and acetate.
If you see these on your clothing tags then pay attention – they may need a trip down to the professional dry cleaner instead of being tossed into the washing machine.
Can You Wash Clothes That Are Dry Clean Only at Home?
Dry clean only’ labels are often put there as a precaution by manufacturers to protect delicate fabrics. However, with proper care and attention, some items can indeed be safely cleaned at home.
Different Fabrics Require Different Care
When it comes to washing dry-clean-only items like your favorite dress shirt or an expensive blazer, not all materials are created equal. Some durable polyesters might survive a spin in the washing machine on the delicate cycle; however others such as silk or wool may need more gentle handling through hand-washing.
If you decide to brave machine washing for these garments though, remember this crucial tip: never throw them in the dryer afterward. The heat could shrink and damage your precious threads.
Avoiding Oil-Based Stains
An important thing to note is that oil-based stains can be tricky devils when it comes time for cleaning.
If you’ve spilled something greasy on your garment marked ‘dry clean’, heading straight over to professional dry cleaners would save much heartache later on – they have special solvents designed just for these stubborn spots.
Risks and Consequences of Washing Dry Clean Only Clothes
Ignoring the ‘dry clean only’ label on your clothes can lead to some unfortunate outcomes. One common issue is shrinkage, especially when machine washing dry-clean-only items or using a hot wash cycle.
According to experts, dry-clean-only clothing should never be put in the dryer as it can cause shrinking and damage.
Fabric distortion is another risk you face when washing these types of garments at home. The agitation from your washing machine might be too much for delicate fabrics like silk or wool, leading them to lose their shape or texture.
Besides physical changes, color loss is also a major concern. Certain dyes used in clothing are not designed to withstand regular water and detergent exposure during machine wash cycles.
This could result in faded colors or even worse – the fabric’s dye stains going on other clothes.
The Importance of Paying Attention
To avoid ruining expensive clothes marked ‘dry clean’, it’s crucial we pay attention to care labels before tossing our outfits into the washer willy-nilly.
How to Safely Clean Dry Clean Only Clothes at Home
Cleaning ‘dry clean only’ clothes at home can seem daunting. But with careful attention and the right approach, it’s doable.
Choosing the Right Laundry Detergent
The first step is choosing a mild detergent designed for delicate fabrics.
Professionals in the dry cleaning business suggest using mild detergents designed for delicate fabrics when laundering items like wool, silk, cotton, linen and durable polyester at home.
Dry cleaning professionals also suggest washing your clothes in a mesh bag designed to protect them during the wash cycle.
Paying Attention To The Process
You should pay close attention when machine washing or hand washing these items to avoid damage such as color fading or fabric stretching.
Fill a basin with cold water and add a few drops of your preferred laundry soap (we recommend using ACTIVE Laundry Detergent). Submerge each clothing item one by one into the soapy water and gently agitate them with your hands.
If you’re dealing with oil-based stains on any garment marked “dry clean”, remember that these may not come out completely through hand washing or even using an at-home dry cleaning kit – they might require professional care after all.
Rinsing And Drying
After soaking and agitation comes rinsing: carefully rinse each piece under cold running water until there’s no soap left then lay flat to air-dry instead of hanging (to prevent unwanted stretching).
The Best Methods for Washing Dry Clean Only Clothes at Home
Hand Washing Clothes Made of Delicate Materials
If you’re dealing with super-delicate fabrics like silk or lace, hand washing is usually safest. Fill a clean sink with cool water and add mild detergent – avoid anything too harsh that could damage fibers.
Gently agitate the garment by hand for about five minutes before rinsing thoroughly under cold water. To remove excess moisture after washing, lay flat on a towel rather than wringing out which might stretch fabric out of shape.
Mindful Machine Washing
Sometimes, durable polyester garments marked ‘dry clean’ can survive machine washes if done correctly. Mesh bags are great tools here – they protect from direct contact between clothes and the drum reducing the risk of snagging or tearing during spin cycles.
Innovative Cleaning Appliances
If regular trips to professional cleaners aren’t appealing but neither are hand washing delicates, consider investing in a product like the LG Styler. This appliance uses steam technology to refresh and sanitize clothing, making it perfect for delicate items that recommend dry cleaning.
Remember though: always pay attention to manufacturers’ label instructions before attempting any home-cleaning method. When in doubt, consulting with cleaning professionals can save your expensive clothes from ruin.
Tips for Caring for Delicate Fabrics and Dry Clean Only Clothes
Clothes labeled as ‘dry clean only’ or made from delicate fabrics need a bit more TLC. Let’s look at ways to maintain these garments while also saving money without having to take them to the dry cleaner.
Turn Your Clothes Inside Out
To prevent wear on the outside of your clothes, turn them inside out before washing them. This is especially crucial when dealing with expensive clothes like dress shirts that are marked dry clean only.
Zip All Zippers and Fasten Hooks
Zippers and hooks can snag onto other items during the wash cycle causing damage. So, make sure all zippers are closed to protect both your garment and others in the load.
The Art of Hand Washing
If you’re wary about machine washing a clothing item labeled as dry-clean-only, hand washing could be an option. Fill up your sink with cold water then add some mild detergent suitable for delicates – this one here works great.
Gently agitate it around in the water using your hands or a cotton swab if there are stubborn oil-based stains to tackle. Remember though: always pay attention to manufacturers label instructions.
Gentle Machine Wash Cycle Can Be Your Friend Too
When hand washing isn’t practical due to time constraints (or pure laziness), use your machine’s delicate cycle along with a mesh bag. It will help gently wash garments without putting too much stress on their fabric.
- Avoid drying machines at all costs – lay flat instead
- DIY dry cleaning may not be suitable for all garments, so professional services should be considered
- If in doubt, take your clothes to professional dry cleaners. It might be more expensive than DIY methods, but it guarantees the safety of your clothes
Remember: every garment is unique and requires different care. By following these tips you can extend the life of your delicate items and keep them looking their best.
What Happens if You Wash Dry Clean Only Clothes – FAQs
Can you wash clothes that are dry clean only?
You can, but it’s risky. Some delicate clothes might react badly to water or typical laundry detergents used in traditional cleaning methods, so tread carefully.
Is dry clean only really necessary?
Often times yes. This label protects delicate fabrics from potential damage in a regular washing cycle.
How often should you wash dry clean only clothing?
Dry cleaning frequency depends on use and fabric type. Items worn infrequently may need less frequent cleaning than everyday pieces.
How can I dry clean my clothes at home?
To do this safely, follow the washing instructions closely, spot test first, and consider using specialized products like at-home dry cleaning kits. And if you’re using the washing machine, make sure to use the gentlest cycle.