• Does Dry Clean Only Really Mean Dry Clean Only?

    You’ve seen that label on clothing that says “Dry Clean Only.” Does it really mean what it says? The answer is a qualified: yes.

    For the most part, the instructions to “dry clean only” offer you sound advice for how to clean an article of clothing. You are just better off not guessing whether or not the garment will survive washing. Usually, if a label says “Dry Clean,” that means you may also be able to wash it but that dry cleaning is recommended. At the very least, know that if you do choose not to dry clean an article of clothing labeled “Dry Clean Only,” the garment should be treated with care: hand washed and dried flat.

    What Happens If You Don’t ‘Dry Clean Only’?

    Some fine fabrics such as untreated silks, acetate, taffeta, wool and velvet absolutely do require dry cleaning. For instance, wool, if washed, is likely to shrink and change in texture. To prevent this, you must know exactly when to remove the wool garment from the dryer…while still damp. Silk might show tiny creases that are difficult to iron out if the garment is washed. Further, lined clothing such as jackets, skirts and slacks should always be dry cleaned only, as the lining may shrink and the garment will lose its proper shape.

    Generally, cotton, linen, polyester, nylon, acrylic and cashmere can be washed, but you should always check to see if the garment is colorfast. Take a moistened cotton swab dabbed in mild detergent and apply it to a hidden seam to test the dye. If it comes off, the garment isn’t colorfast and you should dry clean.

    Watch Out for the Details

    Sometimes instructions for care are for the fabric rather than for trim, such as sewn-on or even glued beading or sequins. Even if the label doesn’t say to do so, dry cleaning such garments is a good idea. Otherwise, the details may come off or, depending on what they’re made of, might stain the fabric during washing.

    Reasons to Dry Clean Only

    Even if you believe a garment that says “Dry Clean Only” can be washed, keep in mind that you will preserve the shape of the garment better by dry cleaning it. Dry cleaning will also extend the wearable life of the garment. Washing and putting a garment in the dryer could to wear it out sooner.

    Be sure to connect with us for all your dry cleaning questions.