Dry cleaning is a popular laundry solution for delicate fabrics and specialty garments. However, not all clothes are suitable for the dry cleaning process. Certain fabrics and dyes can be damaged by the chemicals used at the dry cleaners. Read on to learn what items are dry clean only, what should be hand washed, and what to never ever dry clean.
Fabrics That Can Be Dry Cleaned
Many delicate and high quality fabrics are labeled “dry clean only” by manufacturers. Here are some fabrics that do well with dry cleaning:
Silk is very prone to shrinking and water damage. The gentle dry cleaning process is ideal for preserving the sheen and texture of fine silk garments and accessories.
Cashmere sweaters and other delicates hold their shape and softness through dry cleaning. Avoid over-washing cashmere which can cause pilling.
Wool suits, coats, dresses and trousers maintain their structure with dry cleaning. Wool shrinks easily when washed improperly.
The nap and pile on velvet is best maintained through professional dry cleaning. Home washing can crush the velvet texture.
Linen resists stains, but can wrinkle a lot. Dry cleaning prevents shrinkage while giving linen a crisp look.
Rayon has a silky appearance, but becomes misshapen when wet. Dry cleaners can safely clean rayon without shrinking or tearing the fabric.
Only with great caution. Test a hidden area first and wash gently on cold with mild detergent. Air dry to prevent heat damage. This is still risky for some fabrics.
Now that you know which fabrics require dry cleaning, hand washing or home laundering, you can keep your delicate garments looking their best for longer! Follow the manufacturer’s care instructions, and when in doubt, take the more conservative cleaning approach. With a little vigilance, even specialty fabrics and dry clean-only items can retain their beauty and wearability season after season.