There is no more disheartening fashion feeling than sifting through racks of clothes for hours, wrestling them on and off in the dressing room and then finally finding the perfect new addition to your wardrobe—only to discover it has to be dry cleaned!
If you head to the dry cleaner after every wear, you are looking at a lot of wasted time and money. But don’t put that cozy cashmere sweater back just yet! You can skip, or at least prolong, a trip to the dry cleaner more often than you think. With the right knowledge you can save yourself time, money, and a lot of disappointment. Here are our tips to do just that.
Read the label.
Source: Lauren Conrad
First things first, carefully read the care instruction label. Secondly, you need to know the difference between “dry clean” and “dry clean only.” Manufacturers like to err on the side of caution when providing care instructions, so if the label says “dry clean” but not “dry clean only,” it is a recommendation, not a must.
Know the fabric.
Source: Brittany Besier
Think fabrics like wool, cashmere, and silk should never be put in the washer? It’s a myth. Make sure to double-check the label on clothes you assume need to be dry cleaned—the instructions may pleasantly surprise you!
Try spot clean first.
There is nothing more baffling than discovering a cotton dress needs to be dry cleaned. That is, until you notice delicate beading or flouncy pleats that could be wrecked with one wash cycle. But just because one area of the garment is delicate doesn’t mean you can’t spot clean the areas more prone to stains and odors. Take a damp cloth, add a small amount of detergent, and gently dab areas that need a little care—but without soaking the entire garment.
While no one person or day is perfect, take precautions to avoid accidents! This prolongs the wear-time of each garment before heading to the cleaner. Avoid wearing “dry clean only” garments while cooking or eating in restaurants with strong odors to stop clothes from smelling like last night’s dinner. Wear an undershirt to avoid lingering odors, cover yourself with a easily washable sweater or a linen napkin before eating and be careful to watch where you sit in order to keep clothes smelling and looking fresh.
Own the right tools.
Home washing technology has come a long way, and while you may never get the exact same results as the dry cleaner, you can get pretty close results at home. The Dryel At-Home Dry Cleaner Starter kit ($12) is designed to clean “dry clean only” fabrics in your dryer by steaming them. For garments you feel comfortable hand washing, there are specialty detergents designed to wash delicate fabrics like wool and cashmere (such as The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Shampoo, $19). To avoid running to the dry cleaner every time a garment becomes misshapen, nip the problem in the bud with wooden hangers. And a handheld steamer will work wonders on releasing tough wrinkles and is much easier than ironing!
Source: A Glamorous Little Side Project
Stop stains in their tracks by keeping a Tide To Go Stain Remover Pen ($7) in your purse or desk at all times. If you can catch the stain early before it sets, you won’t need a professional to remove it. The same goes for wrinkles! As soon as you are finished wearing a garment, hang it properly and give it a quick steam to release any wrinkles. Better yet, hang the garment in your bathroom while you shower to help with wrinkles and to freshen the scent.
Now, proceed with caution.
Source: My Dubio
If you truly love a garment and don’t want to part with it, don’t take any chances! Go for the professional dry clean. The dry cleaner can be a wonderful asset when it comes to removing stubborn stains or reshaping a garment. Be sure to ask any lingering questions up-front about the dry clean process when you drop your clothes off.