Pile of laundry in front of home laundry machine

Which Items of Clothing Need to be Dry Cleaned vs. Washed at Home

You know that feeling when you add a new item of clothing to your collection? It’s like a mini celebration! A well-crafted fabric that matches your style can instantly boost your confidence and make you feel chic. However, keeping it looking and feeling like new can sometimes be tricky. Not all clothing or fabrics are created the same; some require more attention than others. Sometimes, it can be as easy as reading a clothing label, such as when the tag states “Dry Clean Only”. Other times, it is difficult to understand what the tag is exactly instructing you to do, like “Hand Wash.” After you wash it by hand, does that mean it needs to be hung to dry or laid flat? To make it even more complicated, sometimes there isn’t an instruction label to be found to begin with. Here is a general reference of what needs to be professionally washed and what you can wash at home.

Wash at Home: Cotton and Synthetic Fabrics (Nylon, Polyester)

When it comes to cotton, consider washing in warm or cool water with regular detergent. Remember, a general rule of thumb is to avoid hot water, as it might cause colors in the fabric to fade. The same goes for polyester, nylon, and other synthetic fabrics. When it’s time to dry, go gentle with a delicate or permanent press cycle, and hang them after drying to avoid permanent wrinkling.

As for denim, you should wash it inside-out in a cold wash and then hang it to air dry. Although, denim still requires special care, and raw denim isn’t supposed to be washed at all. When you bring it to your local dry cleaner, they can help advise you on taking care of your high-end or blended denim. 

Many times, washable fabrics will perform well in home hand washing or a in delicate machine cycle, however, the finishing, or pressing, of the garment is another factor in preserving the look of the piece.  Your professional dry cleaner has specialized machinery which allows for a perfect finish of cottons and synthetic fabrics so they will always look as good as new.

Hand Wash at Home or Professionally Washed: Cashmere Blends

Caring for luxurious fabrics, such as cashmere blends, can be tricky. It is always best to take them to a professional cleaner where they can receive the attention and care they deserve. Just a heads-up, many times the care label may instruct to hand wash.  This may be a challenging process to attempt at home as it may cause harm to the garment if not done properly.

It is always best to bring your luxury fabrics to your local professional cleaner. Handing over your luxury treasures to them is like giving them a VIP ticket to the best spa treatment.

Professionally Cleaned: Silk, Leather, Velvet, Wool, Chiffon, and Others

Honestly, it is best to let your local professional cleaner handle your delicate and complex fabrics, such as silk, leather, velvet, chiffon, or wool. Many of these can be ruined when washed without expert knowledge. An experienced dry cleaner will ensure long-term maintenance of the piece. 

Suits, gowns, and professional pieces should also be entrusted to a dry cleaner in order to maintain shape and wear.

TBD: Accessories or Embellished Fabrics

An embellished clothing item with sequins, beads, or accents, or even a fancy hat, may bring up a lot of question marks. Often, they can be cleaned by using a damp cloth to wipe off dust, dirt, or little stains. Ensure they are out of the sun and stored in a cool, dry place to avoid color damage. If it feels more complicated than you want to try, then take it to your local dry cleaner.

When in doubt…

Whether you are confused by the label, can’t find it, have a difficult stain, or are just in doubt about how to best care for your clothing, head over to your friendly neighborhood dry cleaner for proper care and attention – they’ll make sure your outfits are treated like royalty.