Keep it clean

On Friday I spilled some food all down the front of my winter coat as I was leaving work.  I bought the coat brand new this past fall so I was not happy about having to clean it.  When I got home I checked the label and sure enough the care instructions said to dry clean.  Looking at the label it said the coat was polyester and rayon, so I felt comfortable in throwing my coat in the washing machine.  A couple hours later my coat came out of the dryer as good as new.

It has been years since I’ve taken anything to the dry cleaner. Usually it’s because I’m too cheap to pay for dry cleaning. I’ve been known to wash silk blouses by hand to avoid the fee.  I don’t  like it when clothes are labeled Dry Clean Only but they don’t really require it.  I think it’s a cop out when the clothes manufacturer’s label clothes made out of ordinary material, like cotton or polyester, to require special handling.  I usually check the labels when I buy clothes and steer clear of those that require special care.

I also know that dry cleaning has not always been healthy for the environment given the typical chemicals used. It’s only been recently that I’ve heard of cleaners using other options which aren’t as harmful.

I realize some people take items to the cleaners to save the trouble of ironing them.  I own an iron but very rarely use it.  My husband, who does the laundry in our house, is the master of taking things out of the dryer in a timely manner so clothes need minimal pressing.

I figure I’ve saved hundreds, if not thousands of dollars by avoiding the dry cleaners.  At this point I don’t see any reason to change my behavior.


2 thoughts on “Keep it clean

  1. While I am not a clothes dry cleaner, I can answer your question from my perspective- furniture cleaning. Many pieces of furniture are labeled dry clean only, when they could safely be cleaned using water based products.

    Some reasons for this apparent mislabeling of articles can include: 1. Spot cleaning. If the article is spot cleaned with water, it could leave a ‘ring’, which would be less likely with a dry product. However, if the entire piece is cleaned with water, that may not be an issue. 2. Color loss may be at issue. 3. Puckering and wrinkling is usually more of a concern with wet cleaning vs dry. 4. Finishes, such as flame retardants and water repellants, are usually more readily removable with water vs a dry solvent cleaning.

    Hope this starts to answer your question-


    • Kevin,
      Thanks for the helpful information. I realize there are definitely cases where the dry cleaning is justified. And there is always the chance you’ll ruin a garment with the wrong care. It’s a risk the consumer needs to assess if they are considering not following the recommended care instructions.

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