Can You Wash Dry Clean Only? 

Washing delicate fabrics at home can be a bit tricky and require extra care. If you read the laundry symbol on your clothing, you will find some to be labeled “dry clean only,” including simple clothing items like t-shirts. 

What Fabrics Are Considered Delicate?

dry clean chiffon fabric

Fabrics with this label are mostly silk, chiffon, velvet, polyester, taffeta, fine knits, lace, leather, velvet, rayon, fur, and synthetic (acetate). These gorgeous clothing items require extra care to keep them looking the best they can.

Now, it is required of clothing manufacturers to put these care labels on garments, and several of them use the “dry-clean only” tag to inform buyers of care practices and as a way to prevent washing mishaps. However, you might want an option that is more convenient and less expensive. 

The best part is? Many fabrics with labels on them can be washed or cleaned at home. You do not always have to take it to be dry cleaned. 

Why Are Clothes Labeled “Dry Clean Only”?

dry clean velvet fabric

Dry Cleaning is a strategy for cleaning clothes that employs the use of an organic solvent instead of water. The most common solvent used is tetrachloroethane, which is gentle on most fabrics. 

This system was developed in the 19th century and has evolved and become even more effective since then.

Various kinds of clothing materials simply cannot be washed with regular detergent and water as you would in a washing machine; either the chemicals in the detergent flaws the fabric, or the temperature of the water causes the material to shrink. 

Apparels made of these kinds of fabrics will constantly be labeled “dry clean only”, notifying people who possess them that they could damage them if they place them in a washing machine with their different clothes.

Regardless, other clothing items are created from materials that are naturally not advised to be put in a washing machine but can still be washed under certain circumstances. 

Is It Safe To Wash Dry Clean Only?

dry clean lace fabric

This is a trick question that doesn’t have a definite answer.  When they find out that their newly purchased garment has the “dry clean only” tag, most people are terrified. 

However, these three words do not have to strike fear in your heart. Several different strategies could help you get around the need for a dry cleaner (or slightly lessen the number of times you have to make a trip to a dry cleaner).

Various “dry clean only” materials can withstand occasional cleaning in the washing machine and are completely safe to hand wash after they have made one or two trips to the dry cleaners, though you must pay attention when doing so. 

You must ensure that you employ the delicate cycle to avoid any damage in case the material hasn’t been set.

It is also commonly suggested that when you want to attempt to wash “dry clean only” clothing, they are washed exclusively in cold water using a mild detergent. 

Put the cloth in a mesh bag and run a delicate cycle to protect the clothing and prevent fabrics from tangling.

How Can You Wash Dry Clean Only?

dry clean fur fabric

Most people err at washing by stuffing all their delicate clothing items into a single wash in the washing machine. They mix linen with velvet, polyester with cashmere, or lace with knitwear, which always ends with unfortunate results. 

Unlike other fabrics, delicate clothing items tend to lose their shape or snag easily when washed.

So, you must sort out delicates before washing. Here’s a simple guide for either hand washing them or washing them in a machine. 

Hand Washing Dry Clean Only

Several of the materials labeled “dry clean only” surprisingly do quite well with hand washing, as long as you use a gentle detergent. 

Hand washing is less assertive and does not agitate the item as much as a washing machine would; this greatly reduces the chances of the garment being damaged while washing with detergent and water.

As you wash, you are physically in contact with the cloth the whole time, so you can keep a close eye on it to spot any probable damage in advance. And if you are not sure a cloth can handle hand washing, you can experiment on an inconspicuous part of the cloth before completely washing. 

Watch out for signs of stretching, color bleeding, and shrinking. If there isn’t any at the end,  you should have no trouble hand washing the cloth. Here’s a proper guide for hand washing dry clean only clothes:

Step 1: Pour cold water into a basin or your sink. Ensure that you use cold water as warm or hot water will shrink the clothes.

Step 2: Apply a little amount of detergent and wet it, and as you wash, slowly work your way up and down the cloth.

Step 3: Rinse out the soap with cold water.

Do not twist or squeeze them. You can lay the delicate item on a towel and bundle it like a sleeping bag to help soak the moisture quickly.

Machine Washing Dry Clean Only

It is not advisable to wash dry clean only clothes in a machine; however, if hand washing is time-consuming for you, then machine washing may be the right, time-saving solution. Here’s a simple guide to help machine wash your dry clean only clothes:

Step 1: pretreat your “dry clean only” clothing before placing it in your machine. Use a stain remover solution to remove spills, oil-based stains, and smudges from the cloth.

Step 2: Turn the clothing inside out, ensuring that all zippers are zipped. Put the cloth in a mesh bag and add the wash the way it was instructed in the bottle.

Step 3: Select the machine’s delicate or gentle cycle and place the prepared bag in the washer. 

Select your machine’s lowest spin cycle and ensure that you choose a cold water temperature to prevent damage. 

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