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A Cleaner World Blog

Are There Garments That Shouldn’t Be Dry Cleaned?

Several years ago, we did a blog post entitled “Smarter Than the Label”, which talked about A Cleaner World’s philosophy of knowing when to follow the care label and knowing when to use a safer, alternative cleaning method.  Recently, I ran across the photos I used in the post, and I started thinking.  I don’t know if your brain works this way, but typically one thought leads to another which leads to another, and suddenly, I am half way to the South of France.  This time, however, I managed to stay on topic, and I started wondering if there were garments that shouldn’t ever be dry cleaned.  Seems the answer is ‘yes’, and that led me to more thoughts.

How can you tell if a garment shouldn’t be dry cleaned?  

  • Check the care label, and if it says, ‘do not dry clean’ then it likely shouldn’t be dry cleaned.  But keep in mind that garment manufactures are required to provide a reasonable basis for all care instructions and warnings.  The instructions are not hard and fast rules, and sometimes following them can lead to undesired outcomes.  
  • If the garment is heavily beaded or covered with sequins, it more than likely shouldn’t be dry cleaned.  Most beads or sequins are not resistant to the dry-cleaning process or solvents and could dissolve or come apart when cleaned.  But that does not mean that A Cleaner World cannot clean the item for you; we have alternative cleaning methods.  
  • Fabrics that are made up of plastic, PVC, or polyurethane can’t hold up to the solvents used during the dry-cleaning process; again, A Cleaner World can offer an alternative cleaning method. 

What are some reasons not to dry clean a garment?  

  • If you take it to a professional and after examination, they determine that following a dry clean only label could damage the garment, then you might want to consider an alternative cleaning method.  
  • Some garments and fabrics simply respond better to professional wet cleaning.  
  • Whites usually turn out whiter and brighter when professionally wet cleaned.

What if a garment cannot be dry cleaned, but you aren’t sure you can care for it at home?  

  • Take it to a professional.  Just because you drop off your clothes at the dry cleaner, doesn’t always mean they are dry cleaned.  For instance, most men’s dress shirts are laundered and then pressed, and of course, we’ve already mentioned professional wet cleaning as an alternative cleaning method.

With almost 50 years serving folks in North Carolina and Virginia, A Cleaner World can handle any of your garment care needs.  Feel free to call or stop by any of our locations with your unique clothing care issues. 

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