Clothing Care

Dry Cleaning at Home: How to wash smart 'dry clean-only' clothes at home

Taking clothes to the dry cleaners can be a hassle! So from stain removal tips to fabric advice, read on to find out if you can clean your smart clothes at home.

Key Steps:

  • Test any cleaning product or detergent on a hidden part of the fabric first.
  • Wash delicates or embroidered clothes in a laundry mesh bag
  • Always wash with cool water – heat is more likely to damage material.

Taking clothes to the dry cleaners is a hassle that many people could do without. Not only is it time consuming, but it can be very expensive, too! So if you’ve ever wondered – ‘can you dry clean at home?’ – we’ve got a guide to doing just that.

From how to wash clothes without water, to advice on removing stubborn stains – here’s a rundown of how you might be able to avoid paying a professional.

How to Dry Clean at Home

When checking your clothing care labels, it’s likely you’ll often come across one that says ‘dry clean’. While there are certain materials – such as suede or velvet – which require specialist care, this may not be the case for everything.

Before deciding whether or not to take the item in question to the dry cleaners, consider the following factors:

  • What’s it made from?

If clothing is made from polyester, cotton, or linen – these are all durable fabrics that can usually withstand machine-washing. The most important thing is to ensure you are using the correct type of cycle on the machine – so as long as you choose a cool cycle and a gentle spin, chances are your garment will stay damage-free.

  • Can it be hand washed instead?

Items like silk or wool are often marked ‘dry-clean’ due to their delicate nature – however, if you treat the item with care, you might be able to safely clean them by hand at home. Use tepid water, a laundry detergent designed for hand washing such as Rin Detergent Bar, and gently soak. Be careful not to overstretch the material! You can find out more about washing items by hand here.

  • Does it have embroidery or embellishments? 

A lot of delicate garments have embellishments, like beading or lace, which are more likely to fall off or get damaged in the machine. If this is the case, you might be able to prevent the problem by washing the item inside a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase.

  • Does it require you to wash clothes without water?

If an item of clothing is made from suede, or a type of material that will be ruined by water – take it to the dry cleaners. If you attempt to do it yourself, you will cause irreparable damage. If the label says ‘Dry Clean Only’, it is best to take this to a specialist rather than attempting to clean it at home, as it may be damaged if it is washed by hand or in the washing machine.

How to Remove Stains from Delicate Clothes

If you’ve spotted a stain, you might be able to remove it yourself (as long as the material is suitable). Test the detergent or product you plan to use on a hidden part of the garment first, and follow these steps:

  1. Wet the stain with cool water
  2. Apply a good quality laundry soap like Rin Detergent Bar directly to the stain
  3. Gently dab – but don’t rub!
  4. Rinse through with cool water.

For more advice on how to wash clothes by hand or handle stains (like turmeric or tea) on clothes, check out the rest of our laundry articles.

Top Tip


If you’re worried about damaging an item of clothing in the machine, hand washing with Rin Detergent Bar or Rin Powder can give you much greater control.

Don't Forget


Always test the cleaning product on a hidden part of the garment first!