If you don’t check the care labels of your clothes before buying them, sometimes you can be unpleasantly surprised by a ‘dry clean’ label. Dry cleaning can be expensive and time-consuming, but there are ways that you can dry clean certain items of clothing at home.
If you want to try out dry cleaning at home, you need the following things:
- A home dry cleaning kit. These are available in supermarkets and general stores, and consist of a stain remover, dry-cleaning cloths, and a reusable nylon bag.
- A tumble dryer
- A steam cleaner (optional)
Dry Cleaning At Home: Pre-Treatment
The first step that most dry cleaning kits ask you to take is to pre-treat the stained area. The kits that you can buy in the supermarket will come with a stain removal pen or solution and wipe for you to rub the affected areas. Bear in mind that this treatment process can only improve lightly-soiled garments. If you spill coffee down your dry-clean-only silk saree, you might not be able to treat the stain at home.
Hint: Always test the stain removal solution on a small, discrete area of the garment that you intend to clean. That way, if the solution discolours or damages the fabric, it will be hidden.
Dry Cleaning At Home: ‘Washing’
Once the stains have been tackled, simply:
- Put your clothes in the special bag that comes with the kit.
- Add one of the dry cleaning cloths that have also been provided.
- Put the whole bundle into the tumble dryer for 15-30 minutes (check the instructions on the packet).
Home dry cleaning cloths are infused with chemicals that evaporate in the hot environment of the tumble dryer. The resulting steam ‘washes’ your clothes.
Dry Cleaning At Home: Drying
Once the 15-30 minute cycle in the tumble dryer has ended:
- Hang the clothes up to ensure that they dry wrinkle-free.
- If any stains are still visible apply more stain remover and repeat the process.
- Use a steam cleaner to remove any stubborn wrinkles or creases from the garments after you have hung them up, as this will help them retain the right shape.
Alternatives to Dry Cleaning At Home
Not all delicate fabrics actually need to be dry cleaned, even if they say that they do!
- Wool, several types of silk, cashmere, nylon, and polyester fabrics can all be hand-washed using cold water, or even rinsed on gentle settings in your washing machine with Surf excel Matic.
- Leather, velvet, and suede should not be dry cleaned at home using these methods – it is better just stick with a quick wipe to get the worst bits of dirt off, or to consult a professional to get them clean.