How to Wash Your 'Dry Clean' Clothes at Home

Published
July 28, 2020

Ever bought a piece of clothing only to find out it can only be washed by dry cleaning? If you answered yes, then you’re just one of the many people who are left with no choice but to take it to the dry cleaners for washing every now and then. But with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this has only become more difficult and in some cases, quite impossible to do.

So is there a way that you can wash your ‘dry-clean-only’ clothes at home? The answer is yes. In this dry cleaning guide, we’ll discuss the step-by-step process of how to dry clean at home — and how you can prevent your clothes from shrinking in the process.

How to Wash Dry Clean-Only Clothes at Home

dry clean-only clothes

1. Read the label carefully

Before you even wash your dry-clean-only clothes, it’s important to pay attention to what type of fabric it’s made of. You can do this by checking the label and looking for care and washing instructions.

Whether it’s fur, suede, taffeta, velvet or rayon, any type of home washing effort can instantly damage these clothes without proper care and attention. 


2. Do a spot test to prevent damage

Still uncertain about washing your dry-clean-only clothes at home? Do a quick spot test. Simply drip a small amount of water onto a small and concealed surface of the clothing to check for any blotting or staining. You can also add in the detergent that you plan to use into the mixture to be extra sure.

After putting a speck of the solution, rub a cotton swab across the area. If there’s a significant amount of blotting on the swab, it needs to be exclusively dry cleaned. However, if the swabs come out looking clean and unstained, this is a good sign that it’s good to go for washing. 


3. Wash clothes by categories

Once you’re ready to start washing, segregate your clothes by fabric types and washing techniques. For example, cotton, linen and polyesters are generally safe for machine washing while wool and silk are strictly for handwashing. 

Machine wash

Turn your clothes inside out and put them inside a mesh bag to prevent them from shrinking and staining. Put on some cold water and a mild detergent into the mix and use the lightest washing cycle possible. Once the cycle ends, make sure to take your clothes out of the machine and mesh bag right away for air drying.


Hand wash

If your clothes are extra delicate and prone to shrinking, this method’s for you. Fill a tub or basin with cold water and add a small amount of a mild detergent powder. Stir the mixture thoroughly until you start seeing suds of soap. 

Wash the clothes by dipping them in and out of the mixture and rub them gently with your hands. Do this for every corner and hem of the garment to get rid of deep-seated odor and stains. Once you’re satisfied with the results, simply empty the basin and replace it with clean water. Rinse the fabric thoroughly and leave it to air dry.


To dry your clothes, simply roll them inside a clean towel and wring it gently to remove any excess water. Do this repeatedly for about three to five times until you can no longer see any dripping from the fabric.

The Secret to Long-Lasting Clothes

There are a lot of ways for you to ensure your clothes last for a long period of time. However, choosing the right cleaning method and washing instructions is still the best way to make your garment stand the test of time.

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