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Cleaning "Dry Clean Only" Clothing at Home

If you have items that you have been dry cleaning (say, a silk blouse), a way to rejuvenate them is to wash them by hand. That will freshen them up by removing cleaning fluid buildup and make the whites white.

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Source: My Mother

By pam munro from L.A., CA

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25 Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

December 3, 2019

What if the care label says dry clean only? Can I safely soak in milk and then wash them?


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December 3, 20190 found this helpful
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What is the item? I have had good success hand washing in a bucket wool "dry clean only" skirts and sweaters. A drop of Tide or Woolite and cold water, swish. Sit for a few minutes, rinse in cold water. Lay flat to dry. Silks and rayons I have had almost no luck with as they wrinkle too much and I have no patience to iron.

Milk can stain and cause terrible smells in most fabrics (in my experience being a clumsy person) so soaking it in milk would be a total NO to me. I spilled milk once on a sweater and it took multiple washings to get that sour, disgusting smell out of it.

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December 3, 20190 found this helpful
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If you want to save money and clean your clothes at home they have special dry cleaning kits that you can buy to wash your own clothes. They also have a special dryer sheet that is possible to use to steam the clothes in your dryer. You can try this to save money.

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September 26, 2016

What is methyl chloroform and can it be used for spots and stains?


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September 26, 20160 found this helpful
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I did a search for Trichloroethane or methyl chloroform. The most important information is that it is a nervous system depressant, among many other problems, and causes ozone depletion. Use as a solvent has been almost phased out all over the Earth. You can try further research and this very helpful site:

en.wikipedia.org/.../1,1,1-Trichloroethane

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February 17, 2016

I just purchased a white 100% cotton sweater that has a red heart in the middle with dry clean only instructions. Do you think it is possible to wash the sweater by itself? I am trying to decide whether I should return item.


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September 15, 2011

Can you wash a men's robe that says Dry Clean Only? The contents are 80 percent polyester and 20 percent acrylic?

By Pat


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September 15, 20110 found this helpful

I have washed several 'dry clean only' items in the past. I just always used the delicate or hand wash cycle, and cold water. You do run the risk of ruining the time though.

If it has a sash, you can try that. Put it in a lingerie bag, or if you don't have one, tie it up in an old pillow case, and give it a try. Just don't put it in the dryer. If the sash comes out okay, you can probably do the robe.
Good luck to you!

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September 15, 20110 found this helpful

Yes, I wash all 'dry clean only' clothes. Remember, wool, linen, silk etc were all invented before dry cleaners. And synthetics were invented specifically to go into washing machines. I do everything on cold/delicate.

The tricky part is the ironing/pressing, but the savings is worth that effort. There are tailors tricks for ironing too, but that is news for another time.

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September 16, 20110 found this helpful

You can wash the robe using a mild detergent and cold water. Do not put it in the dryer as the acrylic in the fabric will sometimes shrink.

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September 16, 20110 found this helpful

Wash on gentle, line dry. If it is a heavy robe, you may have to run through the spin cycle more than once.

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September 17, 20110 found this helpful

YES

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I just bought a lovely pair of Ann Taylor slacks at a Thrift Store. I didn't think to check the care label. It says "Dry Clean Only". The fabric is 91% triacetate, and 29% polyester. Can triacetate be hand-washed?

By VBartlett from Columbus, IN

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January 18, 20110 found this helpful

I have quite a few things that say dry clean only. I have one word for you, cold water. That is the most important cleaning part for dry clean only clothes. Also hand or lay flat to dry. May not come out looking perfect but sure beats spending the money at the cleaners.

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January 18, 20110 found this helpful

You most certainly can! Just use cold water, gentle washing liguid and, as was already mentioned, lay flat to dry or you can hang on a proper hanger in a pinch. Triacetate is shrink resistant, wrinkle resistant, easily washed and maintains pleat retention. If you do need to iron be sure to put the heat setting of the iron on medium and use a thin white cotton cloth between the slacks and the iron to protect the fabric from iron marks and/or melting.

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January 18, 20110 found this helpful

Wendy Calbers advice:
She is very accurate. My family has been involved in dry cleaning for over 40 years. There are many different cleaning solvents now, and perc is not being used in many newer cleaners. Once again, her statements about hidden stains are wonderful.

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February 27, 20110 found this helpful

Forget dry cleaners. I have not been for years. Think about the finer fabrics, wool, linen, silk, cashmere. They were all invented before dry cleaning. I do all of the above on the delicate cycle. For silk, roll up the item and store in the freezer until ready to iron It is actually the ironing and pressing that is the challenge. But there is a system for getting a professional look. I will post that another time. Think of the chemicals you are keeping out of your life if you do it yourself.

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February 11, 2017

How can I dry clean at home without a kit?


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Can I carefully hand wash a dress made of 60% linen, 30% viscose, and 16% elastane?

Thank you.


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September 24, 2016

I have an ivory white pant suit that has yellowed badly, how do I clean it? The long sleeve jacket is 100% linen, with a white silk lining, and the pants are 60% linen and 40% rayon.

I have put them in the cleaners, and nothing. It says dry clean only but, that is not helping at all. Please help me.

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May 19, 2011

How can I dry clean a cotton dress at home?

By madhavi from Thane

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May 19, 20110 found this helpful

Why would you want to dry clean a cotton dress? Are you afraid of shrinkage? wash it like you normally would anything cotton, use delicate cycle or hand wash, hang to dry, do not put in dryer. I was everything in the washing machine, it doesn't matter if it says dry clean only, then I hang it to dry, and iron it.

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May 20, 20110 found this helpful

Woolite makes a product you can use to dry clean your dry clean only clothes at home. Very simple, easy to use.
Good Luck.

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January 6, 2011

I have some dresses that require dry cleaning. I would like to know how to do that work in home conditions?

By marita from Shkoder, Albania

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January 6, 20110 found this helpful

Depends upon the piece of clothing. Many silk pieces are marked "dry clean only" when you can actually hand wash them carefully. If your jackets/sweaters/coats need freshening up, try Febreze or a similar fabric spray.

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January 6, 20110 found this helpful

Another suggestion - check into the "Dryel" product (I believe it is a Procter and Gamble product) that you can buy at the grocery store or discount store and use in your dryer. I've not used it for any kind of set-in stains, but it works well for refreshing and de-wrinkling "dry clean only" garments at home.

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August 23, 2015

I have a dress that's made of viscose rayon nylon lining and the instruction on the garment states dry clean. Can my garment be hand washed? It's a more than $200 dollar maxi dress by Ranna Gill.

I love the dress, but it's just a hassle to dry clean one garment for me! I guess if I have to I can dry clean it, but I wonder if there's any suggestion to clean this dress easier? Thanks!

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January 22, 2015

I have a vest that looks like it is suede, but the shell says 100% polyester. The inside looks like sheep skin, but tag says 60% polyester, 40% acrylic. I brought the vest to a place that is the middle person. The dry cleaner did not want to clean it. Do you think I can wash the vest in Woolite only and hang dry it without damaging it?

By Kelly S

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December 31, 2014

Will machine washing a pair of slacks labeled "dry clean only"made of 65%polyester/35%rayon ruin them?

By A.Clay

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December 27, 2013

I have a lovely and expensive wool peacoat. Unfortunately my niece threw up all over it. I checked for a washing label, but can't seem to find one, so I'm assuming it needs to be dry cleaned. Unfortunately the one closest to me has closed. Does anyone have any ideas on how to clean it? I've heard of washing on a gentle cycle with Woolite, but I'd like some other opinions before I give it a try.

By Katie

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December 22, 2013

I picked up a dress at a thrift store that's 50% rayon and 50% acetate. How do I clean it without dry cleaning? Can I machine wash this in cold water? Are there any other ways to wash it? Should I just hand wash it? If so, hot or cold water?

By Emma

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