In a constant effort to save money, it can be tempting to wash “dry clean only” clothing, comforters and other items at home. While most simply-made cotton garments can survive a hand washing or a delicate machine wash, disregarding the label and throwing anything and everything in a washing machine has the potential to be a costly mistake.
When purchasing clothing, it is important to read and follow the listed care instructions on the garment to decide if you are willing to care for it the way it needs to be cared for. The Federal Trade Commission attaches these labels so consumers know how to clean their fabrics without damaging them, so when it states to “dry clean only” it is imperative that you do not wash it at home.
How often should I dry clean my garments?
To answer the common question, “what should and shouldn’t be dry cleaned and how often?” we’ll give you one universal answer: anything can be dry cleaned in moderation. When it comes to dry cleaning your garments, the chemicals and high-drying temperatures can slowly decrease the lifespan of the clothes, so although it may be easier to drop your clothes off at the dry cleaner rather than wash the clothes at home, be aware that if it is done too often it could ruin the fabric.
Sticking to dry cleaning in Dallas once or twice every few months will be plenty often to keep your garments looking fresh and clean.
What garments should and shouldn’t be dry cleaned?
Unless the label on the garments suggests otherwise, fabrics such as silk, velvet, wool and taffeta must be dry cleaned. These delicate textiles can lose shape and structure if washed in a washing machine due to the harshness of the water and movement.
More common materials such as cotton, linen, acrylic, polyester and nylon can be washed at home, but be sure to read the label to make sure there are no other specific instructions on how to properly clean them.
What might happen if I wash a dry clean only garment at home?
Washing a dry clean only garment at home can be done, however, there are some risks involved if you choose to do this:
- The garment could significantly shrink, sometimes up to 2 or 3 sizes smaller.
- The garment could potentially lose its shape.
- The lining of the item, sometimes even the fabric itself, could tear if delicate enough.
- Colors could bleed and fade, especially when you’re dealing with silk. Silk is an incredibly delicate fabric so there isn’t much for the dye to hold on to.
- Machine washing can destroy embellishments such as beads, sequins or lace. Dry cleaning is a more gentle process that can protect those trimmings.
Unfortunately, not all care labels that are attached to garments are 100 percent accurate, and sometimes if a garment is poorly made it won’t hold up no matter how you wash it. If you are in doubt, take your clothing you your local dry cleaner in Dallas and they can recommend the best way to clean it.