Last Updated on November 14, 2020
Doing the laundry, hanging the clothes, picking them up, ironing, folding, tidying. Ugh! Just thinking about all this makes you exhausted. Although these are all routine tasks that most people do at least once a week, there’s a lot that can go wrong. And if you are not careful enough or if you get distracted, you could irreversibly damage one of your favorite pieces of clothing somewhere along any of these processes. However, the washing procedure is the most dangerous since that is where the majority of the laundry problems occur.
It is important to know some basic rules that can facilitate your laundry and pay attention to the laundry instructions, which are clearly stated on the clothing label. To help you with the latter, we compiled a list of different items to let you know which ones you should be dry cleaning and which you can put in the washing machine. Washing a certain item in the right way can be the difference between it lasting a lifetime or just a couple of years.
I. Dry clean
This specific cleaning process uses a chemical solvent (usually perchloroethylene or trichloroethane) instead of water to clean certain types of clothing and textiles. This solvent doesn’t penetrate the clothing fibers, thus preserving their qualities and preventing stretching and shrinking issues.
When it is written on the label “dry clean only”, it means that the item is supposed to be dry cleaned only. Don’t act surprised if it is ruined when you take it out of the washing machine. On the other hand, a “dry clean” label means that the manufacturer recommends you to take the item to the cleaners. However, you can still clean it at home with proper care.
Table of Contents
1. Silk clothing
Silk is one of those fabrics that are only recommended to be dry cleaned. However, if you hand wash silk, it might change color or lose its shine after successive washes because this piece of clothing is extremely delicate. And if your silk items have dark or bright colors, they really have to be dry cleaned. For these reasons, it is safer to always take your silk clothes to a professional dry-cleaning service.
Many people wash their leather clothes at home, but after some time, they might start noticing the appearance of some crack and shrivels, and if a wrong washing technique is used, the leather will shrink noticeably.
Besides, even if you use your favorite leather jacket almost every day, you only really need to clean it from time to time. And if you always take it to the dry cleaner, it will remain in good shape for decades – your parents probably have a cool leather jacket that they have been using ever since they were young adults, right?
Suits are expensive, but if you buy high-quality sets and you always dry clean them, they should last you forever. This, of course, on the assumption that you will not put on weight in such a way that you no longer fit into them.
4. Stained pieces of clothing
Minor accidents can happen. From grease stains to coffee and ink stains, there are countless types of dirt that can ruin your day and, therefore, your most delicate clothes. Fortunately, there’s probably a professional cleaner down your street with the proper tools to clean any kind of stain who will be happy to help you.
Clothes made from animal fur are one of the most delicate items. If water is used to wash them, the fur will shrink and dry out quickly.
Please note that this is only a washing tip and does not, in any way, intend to promote the use of animal fur as a piece of clothing. It is important to ensure respect for animal life and put an end to the violent practices within the fashion industry.
6. Embellished items
Usually, the embellishments added to fabric (such as sequins, metal studs, or beads) are hand-stitched, which means that they can easily detach from the fabric during the washing process. So, don’t even think about putting those items in your washing machine! A dry cleaner will know how to handle these materials the right way, so it is definitely worth the money if you want to keep your favorite dresses glowing.
II. Wash at home
Cashmere is one of those things that seems so delicate that you instinctively think you should dry clean every time. But in fact, it is the other way around since the chemical solvents used in dry cleaning are very harsh on this fabric. Washing cashmere must be done by hand using cold water and a specific soft detergent – wool should be washed in this exact same way.
After all, you probably paid food money for those soft and elegant cashmere clothes, so you want them to last for a few years in perfect condition.
2. Synthetic fabrics
If you are wondering whether you should dry clean or wash the synthetic fabric at home, rest assured because we are about to clear up that doubt of yours. Durable synthetic fabrics such as polyester, acrylic, and nylon can be washed at home either by hand or in a delicate cold-water cycle in your washing machine. These materials are sensitive to high temperatures, so you should also avoid ironing.
3. Denim jeans
Most denim jeans and jackets are very robust and can handle machine washing just fine, so there’s really no point in taking them to be dry cleaned. However, there are some models that can be more delicate. If you notice that being consecutively machine washed is damaging your denim clothes, here’s something else you can try:
Turn your denim clothes inside out and submerge them fully in a bathtub with cold water and a small amount of detergent.
Wait for about half an hour and then rinse well.
Roll them to release the excess of water.
Finally, hang them to dry.
Oh, and remember that you should not wash denim as often as other regular clothes you use on a daily basis!