Clothing preservation is largely dependent on picking the right cleaning method – so how can you know if an item requires dry cleaning?
The answer isn’t always as direct as you might think:
Check the Label
Garment labels are the most straightforward way to tell if an item should be dry cleaned, but they’re not always completely clear.
Check specifically for the word “only” – if the label simply says “dry clean”, then dry cleaning may be the preferred method but not necessarily the only option.
Clothing manufacturers may over-suggest dry cleaning due to a desire to avoid complaints about damaged items.
Know the Material
If the label is missing or simply doesn’t specify a cleaning method or if you are curious how difficult it would be to clean an item on your own.
It’s important to consider the fabric or other material that constitutes the garment.
Delicates like silk, satin, wool, and velvet can easily be damaged by the high temperatures and mechanical agitation of a conventional washing machine, and should almost always be brought to a dry cleaner.
Cotton, nylon, linen, and polyester, on the other hand, can typically be washed by machine.
Note Accessories and Trim
Regardless of the primary material making up the garment, there are a number of items you’ll just about always want to bring to a cleaner. These include:
ii. Anything with a lining
iii. Garments with embroidery/lacework
iv. Items with beads, sequins, and other glued accessories
Don’t risk it. Leave the job to a dry cleaning professional.
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