Dry cleaning has been utilized since the time of the Romans. Because wool shrinks when subjected to high temperatures, ammonia was used to clean this textile back then. Solvents with petroleum, like gasoline and kerosene, were also utilized for dry cleaning. Since these solvents are incredibly combustible, people have stopped using them due to safety concerns.

Perchloroethylene, also referred to as perc,  was first used in commercial cleansers in the 1930s. With its effectiveness, some cleaners continue to use perc for dry cleaning. However, perc has chemical fumes that have been linked to cancer. Industrial cleaners are now encouraged to avoid using chemicals and to promote safer, more ecologically friendly methods of washing textiles.

 Hand washing “dry clean only” clothes: A quick rundown    

Many are still unsure whether to include “dry clean only” garments in their daily laundry. So the question is: can ‘dry clean only’ products be washed at home like regular clothes? The answer is a resounding yes. The care label on clothes is the key to determining what to do. Even pants and shirts can be marked “dry clean only,” so make sure to double-check each item in your wash. You can use various commercially available DIY dry clean tools to clean these items yourself.

To help you out with dry cleaning your clothes at home, kellysdrycleaners.com provided some pointers below.

 1. Use the right soap and temperature of water.  

Dry cleaning clothes should best be done with cold water; otherwise, your delicate clothes may shrink. Gentle detergents are also suggested to protect them from damage.

 2. Wash garments by hand or turn the washing machine to delicate cleaning settings.

Washers can be used if it’s in a gentle-cleaning setting. This, however, does not ensure your clothes are safe from being damaged. Handwashing can be a better option than washing your clothes in a machine as you can control how much pressure is put on the clothes this way. 

 3. Separate clothes during wash. 

This is the best way to prevent staining from dye transfers and damage your clothes. It means you need to wash every item at a time. Yes, it’s a bit more time-consuming, but at least you’re sure your “dry clean only” clothes won’t be damaged.

 4. Dry your clothes naturally.

Drying machines could cause damage to your clothes. That’s why it’s best if you dry your “dry clean only” clothes naturally by air-drying.

 What happens when “dry clean only” clothes are laundered like regular clothes? 

Many things can go wrong if garments are only for dry cleaning are washed incorrectly. Here are a few examples:

  • Clothing may stretch or shrink
  • Colors may bleed or fade
  • Fabric pilling is a possible
  • Stubborn stains may persist
  • Sequins, beads, and other delicate trimmings may be damaged

 When should you bring your clothes to the professional cleaners?   

It may be possible to wash “dry clean only” garments at home, but it does not ensure that your clothes will retain their good shape. Even if you wash your clothes carefully, they can still be damaged. Taking them to a professional dry cleaning is still your best bet. Here are some of the reasons why you should bring your “dry cleaning only” clothes to a professional cleaner:

  • You don’t know what to do with stubborn stains
  • Dry transfer stains
  • Garments have pleats or tucks
  • Garments are made of stiff cloth with stabilizers and various forms of finishing.
  • Clothes are made from acetate, wool, rayon, velvet, silk, and triacetate, and other delicate materials
  • Garments are made of a fiber you are unfamiliar with
  • Garments are made of suede or leather
  • Clothes are fashioned in the style of coats or suits
  • Clothes have linings
  • Clothes are either expensive or emotionally significant to you
  • Garments are worn and prone to wear

 The Professional Dry Cleaning Procedure 

Although each dry cleaner may have a different cleaning process, most of the steps are pretty much the same:

 1.  Clothes are tagged.

Your clothes are first tagged according to the fabric they’re made from. It is to identify and clean together similar fabrics.

 2. Clothes are examined.

Professionals examine and assess clothes after tagging to check if there is any damage such as missing buttons and tears. Expect the item to be returned if the damage is too extensive.

 3. Stains are pre-treated.

It is important to tell professional dry cleaners about any stains on your clothes. This will help them develop the best treatment to treat the stains.

 4. Clothes are dry cleaned.

Following the removal of the stains, the clothes will be treated with water-free solutions. The clothes will be carefully stirred in the machine to eliminate grime. The chemical will then be flushed, and the clothes will be finished off with another cleaning solution.

 5. Tough stains are inspected.

Some stains may be difficult to remove, even though dry cleaning solvents were used. Professional dry cleaners inspect the clothes again after cleaning them to make sure there are no stubborn stains or dirt. Any stains found upon inspection will be treated again.

 6. Clothes are prepared to be returned.

The final step involves getting clothes ready for wear. This includes repairing, refastening buttons, and steaming. After all of the above, the clothes can be hung or folded and then returned to their owners.

As long as you use the proper techniques, both standard washing and dry cleaning will leave your fabric materials clean, pleasantly scented, and/or stain-free. Its key differences are responsible for each of its advantages and disadvantages.

 Dry Clean Only Clothes: Can You Wash Them at Home? 

Yes, you may wash your dry clean only clothes at home. With proper knowledge and tools, you’ll be able to do it yourself without a hitch. Just keep in mind to always follow the manufacturer’s care instructions because they will tell you the best method to use. If, however, you find a troublesome stain or the fabric is too delicate, it’s best to take it to a professional dry cleaner. It can sometimes come down to personal preference and budget.