Do You Need to Dry Clean?

dry cleaning© Creatas/Thinkstock

Sometimes we pay someone else to clean our clothes. But take care: Just because you’re paying doesn’t mean that it will be done right. Before you head out to the cleaners with that pile of clothes, take these facts into account.

  • Look at the label. Clothes with labels that say “dry clean only” should go to the dry cleaners. But if the label just says “dry clean,” then test to see if you can hand-wash the item first. Dab a little water on an unseen part of the garment. If you see colors run, then off to the cleaners you go. If not, you can wash it by hand, saving money and the wear and tear on your garment caused by dry-cleaning chemicals.
  • Keep sets of clothes together. Dry-clean both parts of a suit or both parts of a dress and matching jacket at the same time. If you don’t, your pieces will end up becoming different colors, as one will fade a bit and the other will stay closer to the original color.
  • Remove clothes from wire hangers. When you get newly dry-cleaned garments home, take them off the wire hangers, which can rust and stain clothing. Replace them with plastic hangers. However, if your cleaner has stuffed the sleeves with paper, leave it there – it will keep the garment in shape until you wear it.
  • Compare prices. In some areas it’s illegal to charge more to dry-clean women’s suits, pants, or jackets than to dry-clean the same articles of men’s clothing.

Don’t let a stain set! Treat stained clothing quickly, especially items that need to be dry-cleaned. It’s best to take the garment to the cleaners as soon as possible after it’s been stained. When you bring in a stained outfit make sure to point the stain out to your cleaner. Left untreated, it can become permanent. If you’ve successfully treated the stain at home, tell them how you did it so they can take steps to avoid making the stain reappear. Never iron a stained garment; heat will set the stain.

Plus: 5 Best Baking Soda and Vinegar Cleaning Solutions

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