I'm sure many of you can agree on what a great feeling it is to get your favourite garments back from the dry cleaners looking completely fresh, clean and crisp. Although, it can work out to be quite expensive if you use this service regularly. I personally don’t choose to dry-clean very often, however one thing I've noticed more of these days is the number of clothes I've bought which have a label stating “Dry-clean Only”.
The majority of the time I just end up cleaning them in the washer with everything else, mainly because if I followed all the label instructions for each item I would probably be making the owner of my local dry cleaners a very wealthy man/woman. Additionally, the amount of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals they use during the dry-clean process puts me off wanting to have my clothes exposed to them every time I need them washed. Therefore, I present to you some top tips on how I reduce the amount of money I spend on dry-cleaning, whilst still achieving the same cleaning results.
Check the Label
Before buying any garment its always worth checking the label to firstly see the types of material you’re buying and secondly to view the recommended washing methods. If you’re buying for kids, its especially important to make sure you don’t buy “dry-clean only” items.
However, sometimes you might find the ideal garment which you simply can't be without, in which case it's good to know the following; leather, suede and velvet are the only three things that must be dry-cleaned. Materials like silk and wool can be carefully spot-treated and then washed, regardless of their label recommendations. Finally, knits, polyesters, denim and even cotton can be washed properly at home without the need for a dry cleaner as well.
Wash Carefully for better Results
Those special fabrics that require ‘dry-cleaning’ do need some special treatment however, and there are certain things you can do to save money and still give them that premium look and feel. In order to refresh your fabrics, steaming can work wonders. Try hanging your clothes in the bathroom the next time you have a hot shower or buy a hand-steamer to give your clothes a professional finish. This is a great tip for getting creases out of knits, polyester and loose weave fabrics.
Alternatively if that seems like a nuisance, before ironing you can fill a spray bottle with water, add a few drops of essential oil or half a cup of vodka. The alcohol in the liquid will kill bacteria and germs, prevent odours and the water will smoothen out those crinkles.
Additionally, when you wash your clothes ensure that your washer is clean. You can do this one of two ways, either buy a washer cleaning kit or run the machine on an empty cycle every now and again. Remember that as soon as a wash has finished, it's important to hang clothes up to dry immediately in order to prevent damp smells and wrinkles forming.
Your dryer on the lowest setting can also work wonders. Whack your clothes in with a damp cloth and a dryer sheet which will extract all moisture and eradicate creases.
Tip: Rayon, linen, cotton and wool can all be hand-washed and dried flat. Try to use mild or speciality soap sparingly, gently hand-wash and reshape before drying flat. This will help keep the garments form and prevent fibres stretching and breaking down when wet.
There is a selection of ‘at home dry-cleaning’ products available which generally involve spot treating before misting with a spray. Once misted, you throw the clothing into the dryer on a low setting. Suits, wool and home-knit fabrics go well with a clothing brush. As old fashioned as that sounds, they are incredibly effective at removing dust and dirt from clothes you may have stored away for the winter months.
Brush Technique: Lay item on a hard surface (e.g. table) > brush upwards in long strokes against the grain of the fabric > then brush the fabric down in similar strokes to finish or “nap” the fabric fibres.
Love your Iron
Ironing is a chore even at the best of times, but sometimes a single iron can keep clothing looking fresh for multiple washes. If you still fear that mineral build up will stain your clothes, try using distilled water to avoid this. Starch isn’t necessary, but a spraying that special garment really can make it look as though it's been professionally cleaned. I personally deal with the ironing load on a Sunday whilst watching television or a series. By getting it all out the way on Sunday there is no mad morning rush to get a shirt ironed before work, which I despise.
It is categorically more cost effective to do all of the above at home, rather than pay a dry-cleaning company to clean your clothes. Yet, it’s a great idea to keep an eye out for coupon codes or vouchers to try and score a deal at your local dry-cleaners. You can find a range of coupons and discounts here on Buckscoop.