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3 Tips For First-Time Dry Cleaning Customers

If you have clothes labelled 'dry clean only', you risk shrinking them or reducing their lifespan if you stick them in the washing machine. Additionally, if you buy or receive handmade items of clothing that don't have tags, it's best to err on the side of caution and have these items dry cleaned. Here are three tips for dry cleaning newbies:

What Clothes To Have Dry Cleaned

In addition to the risk of shrinking, some items of clothing will fade or lose their shape if machine washed. You should always have the following items dry cleaned:

  • Fabric blends
  • Suits
  • Clothes with pleating, sequins or beads
  • Leather or silk items
  • Anything made with delicate synthetics such as rayon

People tend to be worried about washing delicate cashmere and wool items, but they usually do better if they are put through a cool wash cycle at home rather than if they are dry cleaned.

What To Expect At The Cleaners

You may be wondering just what will happen to your clothes when you drop them off at the cleaners. Your items will be tagged with your personal details, so make sure you watch a member of staff doing this to prevent any mix-ups. The clothes will then be pre-treated to remove any stains, and it's a good idea to show the member of staff who tags your items exactly where the stains are to prevent them missing any. Next, your items will be treated with a solvent, steamed, ironed, and hung up until you collect them.

Perchlorethylene is a commonly used dry cleaning chemical, but it's not great for the environment. In line with shifting consumer attitudes, some dry cleaners now use glycol ethers or liquid carbon dioxide in place of perchlorethylene, as these are better for the environment. If you're concerned, ask your dry cleaner what they use.

How To Store Dry Cleaned Clothes

When you pick your clothes up from the cleaners there will be plastic covers over each item. You may think it's a good idea to hang your clothes in your wardrobe with the covers still on them, but it's not. Plastic can actually encourage mildew and discolouration, so remove them when you get home.

Some dry cleaners put balls of paper in the sleeves of jackets to help maintain their shape. You should leave the paper in the sleeves until you want to wear the item as it will prevent the sleeves getting flattened and creased in your wardrobe.

If you have an item you're concerned about washing, ask the staff at a local dry cleaners like Master 2 Your Door to have a look at it for you. They'll be able to tell you if you'd be best having it professionally cleaned or how you should launder it at home.