Saturday, April 2, 2011

Dry cleaning - a pet peeve

One of my pet peeve when it comes to clothing is Dry Cleaning. I have thrifted wool, cotton, wool mix, cotton mix clothing that says Dry Clean only on the labels. Why? These items were not like big wool coats that requires special handling. I have machine washed (cold cycle) almost all my clothing (wool, cotton, silk, beaded, embroidered, etc) and have no problems so far. With some delicate materials, I simply put them in a plain cotton pillowcase before putting them in the washer. I hung them to dry and they turned out fine. I hope my 'good luck' with laundering at home will continue without me spending a fortune on dry cleaning.

I once dry-cleaned a light colour linen suit and the dry cleaner actually ruined it. Somehow it came back with blotches of discolouration. I was not pleased. They offered to clean it again for free but the blotches remained. Since then, I decided to launder my clothing at home.

What do you think about dry cleaning? Do you have any tales to tell?


  1. I've had good luck washing dry-clean only items by hand, but occasionally something will shrink when I do it, so approach with caution. It's very frustrating when that happens.

  2. I agree with you. I have a few pieces of clothing that shrunk because I forgot to tell hubby not to put them in the dryer. But they didn't go to waste. I simply refashion them into something wearable for my son or myself. You can see them in my posts labeled 'refashion'.

  3. I absolutely wash some dry-cleaning-only items I know of (those that come to me with their laundry labels still intact), even some silk clothes and even on the warm, non-delicate cycle - it doesn't seem to harm them much. I wouldn't dare put them in the dryer, but I have the impression US dryers are gentler on the laundry than German dryers :) I have an off-white dry-cleaning-only suit lying around that needs some cleaning and that I haven't dared to wash, but maybe I'll give it a try now! It can't get worse than the curry stains it currently has, and if it does, I'll dye it dark green or navy blue.

  4. Hi poet! Have you tried washing the curry stains by hand? I do know that if I have food stains on my clothes I need to get it rinsed right away. If I wait a day or longer, the stain will be almost impossible to get rid of.

    I have also dyed clothes into another colour because of stains too! :-) However, grease stains seem to be the most stubborn. Even when I dyed the garment black, I could still see the grease stains (a bit darker). So it ended up in the Refashion pile......

  5. For grease stains, I use Fels Naphtha or Lestoil. Supposedly Wisk would work, but in reality it takes a lot of washings.

    Lots of manufacturers slap a Dry Clean Only Label on things that can be washed with care. I have successfully washed rayon and silk,but they cannot go through the dryer without turning to wrinkled things that need lots of mist and steam iron treatment.

    I also handwash wool. You can do it in warm water; all you need to do is avoid temperature changes --cold to hot or vice versa. When the stain has been there for years, I use cold water only. I rescued a suit with multiple stains. It turned out well enough to be a Christmas gift. (For more about the suit, see my post at

  6. Thanks for the tip TC! I will give your grease stain method a try!