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How to dry clean clothes at home like a pro

To follow or ignore that ‘dry clean only’ label – that is the question.


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How many times have you found a fabulous new addition for your wardrobe, only to spot a dry clean wash label tucked away at the seam once you’ve brought it home?

Taking clothes to the dry cleaners is expensive, time consuming and sometimes unnecessary (manufacturers often add dry clean labels to garments as a precaution). If you’ve ever wondered how to dry clean at home, read on to discover the answers you’ve been searching for.

If you’re worried about damaging a beloved item of clothing in the washing machine, try the hand wash cycle for a gentler clean.

Washing dry clean only garments

If you’re going to do a dry clean wash at home, it’s essential to do it right. Here’s what you need to know.  

  • First things first – choose a good laundry detergent to deep clean your favourite clothes as gently as possible. Skip Auto Washing Liquid enhances colour, strengthens individual fibres and keeps your clothes looking and feeling like new for longer.

  • If you plan on washing dry clean only items at home, check what your garments are made from. If an item of clothing is made from suede, leather or fur, take it to the dry cleaner. Attempting to wash it yourself could cause irreparable damage.

  • On the other hand, clothes made from cotton, linen and polyester are durable fabrics which can usually withstand machine washing – just make sure you choose a cool cycle and a gentle spin to protect your items from damage.

  • What about how to dry clean clothes at home made of delicate materials such as silk and wool? These can be hand washed using lukewarm water and a laundry detergent designed for hand washing like Sunlight. Dry and store horizontally so your clothes keep their shape.

You’ll need to tread carefully when it comes to embellishments like lace and beading. Washing the item inside a pillowcase or mesh laundry bag could prevent damage – but if you’re at all unsure, take it to the dry cleaner.

How to dry clean at home**: drying your clothes**

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Now that you’re au fait with washing dry clean only garments, here’s how to dry them.

  1. Avoid using the tumble dryer! It will transform your favourite clothes into miniature versions of their former selves.

  2. Keep freshly washed wool out of the sun, as it’s particularly prone to shrinking.

  3. Try not to stretch or wring your garments during the washing and drying process – dry clean only items should be treated with the utmost care.

So there you have it – how to save money and hassle by dry cleaning your favourite clothes at home.  

  • Check the fabric – suede, leather and fur should go straight to the dry cleaner, while silk, wool, cotton, linen and polyester are all okay for washing at home

  • Use an efficient laundry detergent like Skip that will be gentle on your favourite garments in the machine

  • Avoid tumble drying dry clean only garments, and keep wool out of the sun when drying

  • Worried about the fate of a particularly beloved item? It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions

Originally published