Here’s How You Can Get Away With Washing “Dry Clean Only” Clothes at Home

More than once, we’ve hesitated about buying a piece of clothing we truly love because the tag reads “dry clean only.” If you can relate, we have some good news. Although you don’t want to throw “dry clean only” clothes in with the rest of your laundry, it is possible to clean many clothes with that “dry clean only” wording on the label without going to a professional dry cleaners.

There are several reasons it can be helpful to clean “dry clean only” clothes at home. First, dry cleaning clothes is expensive. If you wash them yourself, you will save money. Second, dry cleaning involves using a chemical to clean your clothes instead of using water, and the chemical used by most dry cleaners (perchloroethylene or “perc”) may cause cancer according to the Environmental Working Group. 

Besides health reasons and cost, you also might want to consider washing your “dry clean only” clothes at home because it will save you time. If you need a piece of clothing cleaned same day or even within the hour, an at home dry cleaning kit is your best bet.

There are several ways to clean clothes at home instead of taking them to the dry cleaners, but first, you’ll want to look closely at the label. If it reads something like “dry clean recommended” or “hand wash or dry clean” then it’s completely safe to wash it at home. Either wash it by hand with a gentle laundry detergent or wash it in a laundry bag on the delicate setting in your washing machine and hang your clothing up or lay it flat to dry.

If the tag truly reads something like “dry clean only” or “professional dry clean,” then you might want to try an at home dry cleaning kit such as Dryel Dry Cleaner Starter Set or The Laundress Dry Cleaning Detox Kit. These at home kits come with everything you need to dry clean your clothes at home, and you can easily find them in the laundry aisle of your grocery store or big box store.

The dry clean kits work by using your dryer and creating steam to clean your clothes. Be sure to follow the directions on the kits carefully and pay attention to the type of fabrics that are safe to clean with the kits.

If the type of fabric you need to clean is not listed on the kit, you could try hand washing it instead. For silk, wool and cashmere clothing, you can wash it gently by hand in a mild detergent. Be sure not to wring or twist silk fabric. When done, use a drying rack or lay it flat to dry.

Not all fabrics are able to be cleaned at home. In some cases, you really do need a professional. For example, if you have a garment that is heavily decorated, it’s probably safest to take it to a dry cleaners. Also, while leather and suede can be spot cleaned by hand, it is best to let the professionals do a through cleaning if necessary.

How often do you get your clothes cleaned at a dry cleaners? Are you going to try cleaning your “dry clean only” clothes at home?