Clothing Items You Should Never Bother Dry Cleaning

When you spend the time and money to invest in quality clothing items, it's only natural to want to preserve them and care for them properly. And while having things professionally washed may seem like the best way to keep your fancy new duds looking so fresh and so clean, some items are actually better left at home and washed in your washing machine. These are the clothing items that you should never dry clean. 

Of course, there are some materials that pretty much always require dry cleaning. Leather and silk, as well as materials with sequins or rhinestones that can easily dislodge in the wash (per Rinse). But other materials and clothing items can be at risk of damage due to the harsh chemicals used in dry cleaners. It is always best to check the labels of your clothes to determine how best to clean them, but these are some general reference points for things that don't do well at the dry cleaners.

Cashmere and wool

When it comes to sweaters, both cashmere and wool can be washed at home. Cashmere, in particular, does not handle dry cleaning well — despite being considered a luxury fabric (per Drive Cleaning). The chemicals used by dry cleaners are extremely harsh on the fabrics and can cause damage to the natural fibers of cashmere. Rather than being dry cleaned, cashmere should be hand-washed at home in cold water. To avoid damage, use a mild detergent or cashmere shampoo to clean these items. 

Wool, too, can be hand-washed at home as opposed to dry cleaning. You want to wash wool clothing in much the same way as your cashmere, hand-washing with a mild detergent without ringing dry, according to Taste of Home. Then, allow your woolen pieces to air-dry on a towel or drying rack. 

Overall, unless the tags on your sweaters specify that you should take them in to be dry cleaned, odds are you can just clean them at home.

Cotton and denim

Another material that does not require dry cleaning is cotton. So your T-shirts and cotton dresses, as well as cotton-based denim pieces can all be washed at home. For best results, machine-wash cotton clothing in cold or warm water with similar colors, per Love Your Clothes. Also, when washing cotton items, you want to be sure to prevent shrinking. Your clothing tag should tell you whether or not it has been pre-shrunken; those that have been are safe for the dryer. 

Denim, too, requires special steps to properly wash. While the material itself is rather durable, keeping your jeans and jean jackets looking their best requires proper denim care. Jeans should be washed inside-out in cold water, and then hung to dry rather than thrown in the dryer with the rest of your clothes (via Taste of Home). And as for raw denim, you don't really want to wash it at all. You can wipe away stains and take it in to be cleaned by denim experts as needed. 

Special pieces certainly warrant a trip to the dry cleaners, but many of your everyday clothes can be washed at home in a few simple steps.