How To Easily Dry Clean Your Clothes At Home

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Is there anything worse than coming across an absolutely perfect piece of clothing and discovering that it's in your size, just to peek inside and see "dry clean only" on the tag? At that moment, you have to calculate the cost that dry cleaning will take out of your budget, whether or not you have any other dry clean clothes that will justify the drive all the way to the cleaners, and whether or not you'll actually wear it enough to make it worth the time and money.

According to Real Simple, clothing items that are made with silk, velvet, wool, cashmere, linen, and several other delicate fabrics are typically labeled dry clean only. Dry cleaning is the process of using water-repelling, stain-removing solvents to clean clothes without using water (via Good Housekeeping).

Even though water is not used, the solvent is still liquid, meaning that your clothes get wet during the dry cleaning process. Additionally, the clothes are put in something similar, though larger, to a traditional washing machine when dry cleaned. Although consumer washing machines are nowhere as advanced as dry cleaning machines, there are still ways to wash your "dry clean only" clothing at home.

How to dry clean your clothes at home

While numerous clothes labeled "dry clean" can still be washed at home, The Laundress says there are several types of clothing that must be dry cleaned only, or you risk ruining the clothes completely. These include items made with suede, viscose, and polyamide; clothes with manufactured pleats; leather that is not washable; and items structured with padding. 

For all other items, dry cleaning at home starts with pre-treating stains on the clothes. You can use a clean cloth and a little bit of a gentle detergent to get out any spots before washing. Add a little water and detergent to the stain and dab, don't rub, the stain gently until it fades.

If you want to use a washing machine, Byrdie suggests putting your clothes in a mesh bag, which will help to protect the clothes while still allowing the detergent and water to get in. Use cold water and put the machine on a gentle setting. 

For those who prefer to hand wash, use a clean sink, tub, or bucket. Fill your basin of choice with cold water, as hot water can shrink clothes and cause stains to set in, according to The Maids. To hand wash your clothes, add a small amount of a gentle detergent and gently stir the items around. Then let them sit for no more than 30 minutes (via Town & Country). Rinse with cool water until the soap is gone, and press out excess water rather than wringing it out. Hang or lay out on a towel to dry.

Products to help you dry clean clothes at home

If you want everything you need in one place, the Dryel At-Home Dry Cleaner Starter Kit has all the items you could possibly need to dry clean your clothing at home. The kit comes with a stain pen for spot-treating, four cleaning cloths, a reusable laundry bag, and an odor and wrinkle-releaser spray.

The Laundress' Delicate Wash is a mild detergent that gently cleans all your delicate and "dry clean only" clothing. The wash is formulated to preserve fabrics such as silk, polyester, and nylon. Suitable for both the washing machine and hand washing, it removes sweat and oils from clothes while leaving a pleasant scent of bergamot, lavender, and amber.

The Hilife Steamer is a portable, handheld steamer that's easy to use for dry cleaning at home. When clothes are hung up to dry, it's normal that a few wrinkles may start to set in. Hold the clothing item taut to combat any wrinkles, and gently wave the steamer over the area. As an added bonus, steamers can also help eliminate odor-causing bacteria.