I haven't had any clothes dry cleaned for years (oh, I can hear some gasping, she must be dirty). No, I've found over the years that most things can be successfully washed in the washing machine. Even things that have "dry clean only" labels on them. Nothing has ever shrunk or wrecked on me yet!
I wash in cold water only (that helps to save on electricity bills, too). I've washed my woolen winter jackets, and many other items. Of course, I don't think you would wash a fancy ball gown, (I don't have any) or a man's business suit, but for other items it works just fine.
By Ellie from Melbourne, Australia
I washed a "dry clean only" one time in cold water and my women's dress shrunk to a little girls size dress! After that the only way I would take care of "dry clean only" clothes was to use the Dryel product. But I didn't follow manufacturers way of doing it, I reused the cloths a few times by experimentation. I found I could successfully dry clean my good work clothes for very little money since I was reusing the sheets. I even logged my activity and kept track of it. I figured just sprinkling a little water on the sheet (which I did) reactivated it. All I can say is it seemed to work just fine. I never had anything go awry when I used this method. By using this method I drastically cut even the expense of using the Dryel way of doing my own dry cleaning! (09/22/2006)
I have trousers 55% linen, 45% rayon. I have washed them using standard washer/dryer. Significant shrinkage over several wash/dry cycles over a 6-month period has occurred. (10/25/2007)
I have washed my goose down comforter by hand in the tub, using Woolite. Make sure you never wring it out or twist while washing. It will break the feathers and ruin it. Basically you knead the comforter and let set for an hour or two, then empty and rinse until it doesn't feel soapy anymore. You can add some vinegar, about a 1/2 cup, to the rinse water and let set for 15 minutes, then rinse out with fresh cold water.
This should help the yellowness go away when the sun shines on it. I then let it dry outside on the line for all day, but it did not dry all the way. I placed it in the dryer on delicate with low heat and it stayed fluffy, and was definitely white and smelled like new. The tumbling of the dryer did not hurt the fluff a bit.
Washing/drying down jackets or comforters. I have a down jacket that has instructions for washing and drying. I washed it on cold with other clothes, but the label said to dry it alone with 3 clean tennis balls. I thought this was crazy, but I had some new ones and I tried it. The jacket was as good as new and very fluffy.
You could do this for comforters perhaps on a no heat setting in the dryer and more balls. Just thought this was a strange but interesting find. I think my jacket was a Kenneth Cole. (07/29/2008)
I discovered that using Woolite for Darks on the gentle cycle does a great job in cleaning a lot of clothes marked Dry-Clean Only. It helps them hold their shape without shrinkage and discoloration. Most poly textiles are washable. Regular Woolite works best for light colors.
I then use the delicate cycle on the dryer to get out excess water and then let them hang until fully dried. Investing in a steamer is a great idea to get out any residual wrinkles and return things to shape without having ironing marks. Saves loads of money! Dryell also works good for woolens. You have to be careful washing things with wool content. It almost always has some shrinkage. (10/02/2008)
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