Dry cleaning is convenient and in most cases faster than hand washing or any other method of cleaning clothes. The recommendation on the best way to take care of clothes is always put on the clothes’ label by the manufacturer. The label tells the clothe owner about the material used to make it and the best way to clean it and dry it, as well as iron to remove creases. All this is helpful, and plays a key role in determining whether the clothes are suitable for dry-cleaning or not.
Even if dry cleaning is appropriate, there is still the specific instruction on the presets that should be put on the dry-cleaner, and whether the clothes should mix with other types of clothes or other colored ones. Up to this point dry-cleaning seems straightforward but a problem always arises when clothes have no labels, or when the labels are not quite succinct. For example, clothes may have two or three optimal dry-cleaning presets and also a hand wash option, so this might be confusing to the person who needs to wash it. The following discussion is all about the right way of knowing which clothes should go to the dry cleaner and the ones that should not.
The first consideration should always be the material used to make the clothes. Typical ones that are known to react negatively with water include wool, cashmere and silk, albeit at a lesser extent. Wool shrinks when it is soaked in water and the same is true for cashmere. For these reasons, hand washing is not always recommended. Once the silk or cashmere cloth is wet, kneading and squeezing as it happens in hand washing can ruin its appearance. As many people mistakenly think, ironing after hand washing does not bring back the original shape of clothes after hand washing water has ruined it. The clothe owner will just have to wear it the way it is or replace it with a new one.
The main benefit of dry cleaning is that instead of water, it mostly uses a petroleum product like perchloroethylene and other solvents that take out all the dirt and stains on a cloth without necessarily soaking it. This method is ideal for cashmere and woolen clothing. It will also work for all other materials that have no problem with either hand washing or dry cleaning and these include cotton, polyester and acrylic.
Irrespective of the clothes’ material, the presence of stains calls for stain removal procedures that should be done before the clothes are dry cleaned. Failure to do this can ruin all the clothes put in the same cycle in the dry cleaning machine. Stains can come from grease, chemicals and food. If no appropriate method is available before dry cleaning, then the cloth should be put in the machine alone, so that in case of any adverse effects, the harm is minimized.
Due to the reliance on industrially manufactured solvents in the dry cleaning process, some clothing might not be suitable for the process. Clothes such as undergarments for children and toddlers have the dry cleaning indication on their label, but if hand washing is possible, then it would be good to go with that option. The exposure to solvents in the dry cleaning process may have subtle non-wanted effects on the baby after continuous exposure.
Since hand washing is often vigorous, any clothing that contains two different types of materials that are both ready for a dry clean, or clothes that contain metallic objects like buttons, chains and zips should be dry cleaned. The same goes for clothes with excessive print outs whose ink would be damaged by regular hand washing. As long as the right wash settings are preset on the dry cleaning machine, the cleaning process should be harmless.
Lastly, when considering what clothes to leave out and the ones to send to the cleaner, always go with the usage characteristic of the clothe. Alcohol exposure has negative effects on various dyes and can be detrimental in the cleaning process. Clothes containing alcohol should first be aired to get rid of the alcohol. This also applies to clothes that have heavy perspiration. After adequate airing, they can be taken through the normal cleaning process that starts with stain removal before getting them into the dry cleaner. As a rule, always follow the instructions on the label, and when they are missing, it is wise to first consult a dry cleaner before going ahead with the hand wash or dry clean process.