It’s easy to treat your delicates and “dry-clean only” garments yourself. To help, here are the pros and cons of DIY dry cleaning treatments you can do at home.
These days, you have the choice to conveniently wash your delicates – or “dry clean only” clothes –at home, as long as you have the necessary products and accessories. So what are the options available to you?
Dry cleaning kits
You can find complete dry cleaning kits in most supermarkets; they include a specially designed bag and a leave-in cleaning solvent. Here’s what you need to do.
- Pre-treat the stain with a stain remover.
- Place the items to be dry cleaned in the enclosed bag; insert no more than 3 or 4 garments at once.
- Toss the specialized “cleaning sheet” into the bag with the clothes.
- Close the bag, place it in the dryer, set it to medium heat, then allow the bag to tumble for 15–30 minutes.
- When you remove the items, hang them up to avoid creasing.
Pros/advantages of at-home dry cleaning
- An economical and cost-effective alternative to frequent dry cleaning.
- You can clean two to six loads using a single kit (using one “cleaning sheet” per load).
- Replacement sheets are available and sold separately, so you can reuse and recycle the kit many times.
- Any stain remover can also be used as an alternative.
- Do-it-yourself products are less toxic than professional grade cleaners. The specialized sheets are slightly moistened with water to create steam; this emulsifies the stain solution and leaves a fresh scent.
- Your clothes will not shrink and the colour will not run.
Cons/disadvantages of at-home dry cleaning
- The process doesn’t provide a deep clean and can “set” a stain that you accidentally missed or didn’t treat. Despite your effort, you’ll need to take your clothes to the cleaners once or twice a year anyway.
- A dryer will never compare with professional starching. If you like the polished look of a fabric finish, you’ll need to learn how to iron and starch like an expert.
- You must never attempt to dry clean suede, velvet or leather yourself.
Alternatives to at-home and professional dry cleaning
- Certain fabrics, e.g., silk, wool and cashmere, can be hand washed in cold water using a mild detergent.
- Some dry cleaning companies use environmentally friendly solvents to reduce the release of harsh toxins.
- If you’re concerned about environmental impact, ask your cleaner what methods they use and how they dispose of their chemicals.