You know that you shouldn’t be washing your “dry clean only” clothes at home in your washing machine, but should you be dry cleaning them as frequently or more frequently than you already are?
The answer may vary from piece to piece due different fabrics, how often it’s worn, how dirty you get it, and so on; but in general you should probably dry clean your “dry clean only” clothing approximately every third to fourth wear.
Let’s get into some more detail.
What is Dry Cleaning?
Have you ever wondered what happens to your clothes after you drop them off at a professional dry cleaner’s? Well, after accepting your drop-off and tagging each item, the clothing will be inspected for any damage or items left in the pockets etc. After being inspected, clothing is then pre-treated for any stains, ensuring that your clothing comes back to you as good as new.
Once stains have been pre-treated, your clothing is placed into a large machine and “washed” with a waterless chemical solution. After they’ve been “washed”, your items will then be inspected again to ensure that all stains were removed. If there are any that didn’t get washed out, the will be spot cleaned away.
Finally, after all the cleaning is said and done, your clothing items will be pressed and hung, ready for you to come get them.
Why do Some Clothes Need to be Dry Cleaned?
You may have noticed that a lot of your more formal clothing (and even some of your regular clothing) has a label that says “dry clean only”. Because some dry cleaners don’t offer pick up and drop off services, dry clean only clothing can be a major hassle. When doing laundry, you may be tempted to ignore that label and throw it in with the regular wash, but we definitely don’t recommend it. There’s a reason your clothes are labeled that way.
Different fabrics react differently when soaked in water and dried with heat. Silk, velvet, wool, and other fabrics, for example, will not come out the same way they went in. Silk could lose its shine and shape, velvet may lose its luster and texture, and wool will shrink so that it’s unwearable.
Just because the Internet says something doesn’t have to be dry cleaned, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to try cleaning it at home. Always be sure to check the label and when in doubt, take it to the professionals.
Can Too-Frequent Cleanings Damage Clothing?
When washing your regular clothing at home, you can see your favorite pieces fade and morph, and become damaged over time. Regular wear and tear from years of being washed and worn can really take a toll. Does the same thing happen when you dry clean your clothing, though?
Having your clothing professionally dry cleaned can actually help preserve your favorite pieces for longer. Since the dry cleaning process is different from the process of washing your clothes at home, there isn’t as much wear from the wash when your clothes are dry cleaned. This can help not only with longevity, but with the color, feel, and overall look and quality of your clothing.
So, How Often Should You Actually be Dry Cleaning Your Clothes?
As mentioned earlier, how often you should be dry cleaning your clothes will depend on a number of different factors like how often you wear the clothing and how dirty it gets, etc. Here’s a quick guide:
Business suits - Since suits don’t cut touch your skin, they don’t need to be dry cleaned after every wear. Suits should be dry cleaned every three to four wears.
Formal suits - Although, like suits, formal suits don’t touch your skin, they typically aren’t worn as often. Unless you wear them more than once or twice a year, formal suits should be cleaned about once a season, or after each wear.
Evening wear - Like formal suits, evening wear isn’t typically worn very often and should, therefore, be cleaned once a season or after each wear.
Blouses - As long as you don’t spill or get any stains, button-down shirts and blouses can be dry cleaned after every three or four wears. Silk blouses, however, should be washed after each wear.
Pants and skirts - Like with blouses, as long as you don’t spill on your pants and skirts, they can be cleaned after every three to four wears.
If you have questions about what you should and should not have dry cleaned and the best ways to care for them, contact us and let us help you keep your favorite clothing pieces in the best shape possible.