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Coat Cannot Be Washed or Dry Cleaned

I recently purchased a thrift store coat that can not be dry cleaned or washed. The outside is made of PVC and can be wiped with a damp cloth, but the lining is a soft polyester.

Since it was pre-owned I would like to somehow disinfect the inside or clean it, but am not sure how as I can not dry clean it or put it in the wash? Any ideas? Thank you.

By Lisa from Halifax, NS

Recent Answers

By Lelia Jo Cordell [49]12/25/2009

Like everyone else, I don't see why the coat can't be washed - unless it's down-filled like one I had for my younger son years ago. I ruined it by washing it, even on gentle. The down inside all bunched together and nothing I did helped.

However, as a lifelong reader with a memory for details, I can suggest an alternative. In centuries past, before the advent of washing machines and such, folks "refreshed" their clothing by wiping down the clothing with lemon water.

I'd say take a damp sponge with scented water or diluted soap or whatever works for you. I suppose you could use the same solution you use on the outside. Squeeze out the sponge thoroughly, and pay special attention to the areas that would "gather" odors.
If you're not afraid of fading the fabric, diluted bleach (a few drops should suffice) can be added to your cleaning or "refreshing" solution.

By susan winship [4]12/24/2009

I second the remark by Jilson...hand-wash in warm water and hang to dry or machine wash on gentle and remove before the end of the spin cycle. It's only the outside that can't be washed BUT the outside will wrinkle (and wrinkles put in while wet may not come out). I'd hand wash and squeeze only the inside, then rinse the whole thing in the shower, hang and let dry. Good luck.

By Tina12/23/2009

First of all, it would be dishonest to get the cart sanitizers. That is not free, that is stealing. Buy a carton of Clorox wipes (store-brand) if you want to wipe it down with a wipe.

Secondly, I have bought lots of things at Goodwill that say not to wash. I wash in the perma-press or hand-wash cycle in my washing machine. It has a more gentle spin cycle for delicate items. Just make sure you don't use hot water; cold or maybe warm.

Another poster suggested Woolite, that would be the best detergent in my opinion. Finally, do not dry in the dryer. Just hang it dry or lay it flat to dry. Good luck with your new coat!

By leanne chaisson [44]12/22/2009

Lisa, why on earth can it not be washed? I wash everything in the washing machine and hang to dry. The only thing I have ever had problems with are pleather coats, and that was my fault as I should have washed it in cold water/rinsed cold but didn't change the machine setting. If this idea makes you "nervous" than wash it in the sink with woolite or plain old dish detergent, or even use baby shampoo.

At one time I came across a real leather men's jacket, (it cost me a nickel). It was absolutely filthy, well my then boyfriend took it and washed it in the bathtub by soaking it, then hung it to dry and it came up beautifully. We sold the coat for $50.

By Rachel's Mom [162]12/22/2009

I purchased a coat for my daughter one year for Christmas that was not washable or dry cleanable. I washed it in Woolite in the washing machine in cold water on gentle cycle and hung it up to dry. It turned out beautifully.

By Cindy [6]12/22/2009

Maybe you could just wipe down the outside and then spray the inside with Lysol. Just follow the disinfecting directions on the can. I believe you just spray it well and then let it air dry.

By Cricket [201]12/22/2009

If it was me, I'd take a steam cleaner to it. Turn the coat inside out, hang it on a hanger, button it up, and steam it clean with the steamer. I'd even do it 2-3 times. Then I'd turn it right side out and steam the outside too just for good measure. Be sure and let it dry well in between each steaming.

By Ginnee12/20/2009

Cyinda,
Those sanitizers at grocery stores are not free. Everyone of us pay for those as part of the cost of running the store. I for one do not want to pay for sanitizers to clean your coat.

By Jill [4]12/20/2009

If it is vinyl, it seems like it could be hand-washed in slightly warm water, then hung to dry. I just wouldn't agitate too hard so you don't accidentally tear the vinyl.

If you decide to go the alcohol route, why take the grocery store's wipes? Just put some alcohol on a paper towel or rag. I cannot see being thrifty at someone else's expense. I hope you find a good way to clean your coat, it sounds nice!

By Cyinda [214]12/20/2009

Yes, I also bought a wonderful rain coat made of that same exact non-washable plastic-like fabric & was disappointed to not be able to wash the dust I get from selling at a graveled Saturday Market. (but I loved the coat so much I had to buy it!) The damp cloth doesn't seem to really clean it & it's really a bummer when you don't hang it right away & it gets wrinkles in it! I found I could get the wrinkles out with a warm (not too hot) blow dryer.

When we buy things secondhand, My daughter & I take a spray bottle then put rubbing alcohol in it & spray this all over the things that can't be washed. But I don't know about the alcohol on this fabric. What I would do, is go into one of the grocery stores in your area that has those hand sanitizing towelettes that pop out of a round container (used to disinfect your shopping cart). I would then take 3 or 4 of them & put them in a plastic bag before you leave the store & use these disinfecting towelettes to wipe down both the inside & the outside of the coat. This should do the trick! (& it's free!). You may want to wipe the inside down twice. Be sure to put the disinfecting towelettes back inside the plastic bag in between wiping it off, they dry out quickly.

By kathleen williams [23]12/20/2009

Spray it with air freshener or clean it with alcohol, good luck.

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