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Dry clean service questions: what and why

dry clean

Many people try to avoid clothes dry clean services because believe that this process has an awful harmful effect on the environment. Others avoid dry cleaning because it takes time and costs more than regular washing. The question is: are they right? Does it make sense to dry clean your belongings? Or maybe we can wash everything in the washing machine and live happily ever after? These are the questions that will be addressed below to help you understand dry clean clothes care.

To put it simple, basically “yes” we can live without dry cleaning, and yet “no” because it’s still vital in modern society. For instance, there are many countries (and the US is one of them) that regulate washing instructions on clothing tags at the governmental level. However, if you see that the tag says “dry clean only” it doesn’t mean that you would be put in jail for hand-washing it; these tags are mere recommendations for clothes care, they are not rigid rules.

clothing tags

In terms of dry clean care, particularly, there are two kinds of tags you may find: dry-clean only and dry-clean.

  • Dry-clean only

    As it’s already been said, even though the tag says “only” you still can wash this piece of clothing at home. But in this case, you should know what you’re doing and understand the risks. Should you hesitate about the steps you are about to take, don’t push it; get your favorite piece to the dry cleaners & laundries to avoid further disappointment.

  • Dry-clean

    If you don’t see the word “only” in the tag, then there is absolutely no need to get your clothes to special facilities. In most cases manufacturers use this tag to protect themselves. Once they add these words, this means that they warned you about the delicacy of the fabrics; and should anything happen to the piece of clothing, they won’t be responsible, and your complaints will have no ground.

While the above-written facts are true, there are still some clothes and types of fabric that truly require dry clean care at all times. So here is a list.

List of clothes to dry clean at all costs

  • All items with any kind of lining
  • All items with any kind of embellishment (sequins, beading, etc.)
  • All items of sophisticated design
  • All items with pleating
  • All items of delicate synthetic fabrics (such as rayon) and natural fabrics (such as silk)
  • All items designed of several fabrics
  • Suits, especially woolen ones
  • Very soiled or stained items


Now let’s check clothes that are usually marked as dry-clean only, yet those you can take care at home.

  • Sweaters, blouses, pants and other items made of cashmere and wool can be washed at home. Furthermore, according to professional tailors, such items will last longer if you wash them by hand instead of dry cleaning.
  • Synthetic fibers of sturdier nature should preferably be washed by hand and in cold water.
  • All cotton clothes without embellishment, lining, etc. can easily be washed in the washing machine.

There are also usual items that each of us has in the wardrobe and that always raise questions. Leather clothes in most cases require very careful treatment. If you have a leather skirt without any sophisticated design and embellishment, then you can wash it at home with a gentle program in the washing machine. Should your leather clothes have any metal details or some thin added elements, it is highly advised to give it to a dry clean facility not to ruin such a dear item.

As described above, silk is highly advised to be taken to a dry clean service. Yet, if you have no time to do so and need a quick fix, then you can do it at home. Yet, only light-colored silk can be washed in the home sink with cold water. Brighter silk usually bleeds; if it doesn’t, you can also use the sink method, if it does, then dry cleaning is your only option.

Should you have doubts about a particular piece in your closet, it is advised not to experiment and go directly to a dry clean service.


How to choose dry clean service?

Many conventional dry clean services use special chemicals, such as perchloroethylene (also known as perc) to launder your garments. This chemical is known to have a harmful effect on the environment. However, a lot of modern dry clean facilities apply eco-friendly, organic methods of stain removal, which leads to harm-free dry clean service. If you do care about the planet, don’t hesitate to ask the dry cleaning manager about the methods a particular company is using. If you are interested in the matter, you can visit the US Environmental Protection Agency’s page to learn more about environment-safe substances.

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