Most of us are in a bit of a predicament when it comes to choosing what goes to the cleaners and what goes into the washing machine. The first port of call should obviously be our garment labels, which will provide a rough guideline as to what can be washed and under what conditions. However, it only takes a few disastrous washes to find out that they’re not entirely foolproof. Let’s take a look at what should be taken to dry clean and what can simply be put into the washing machine.
Any item that has a particularly complicated design involving beads, sequins, or other adornments should always be dry cleaned. While the labels often say they’re suitable for machine washing as most cottons are, the changing temperatures and chemicals being used along with the general harshness of the washing machine will usually wreck fabrics with adornments of various weights. More often than not, the heaviest jewel on the garment will sink through the wet fabric and tear it: sometimes severely.
Heavily Soiled Items
Garments that are particularly dirty are a big grey area when it comes to dry cleaning. Yes, all heavily soiled items should be dry cleaned, but is the added cost and luxury of dry cleaning necessarily worth it? It largely depends on the linen type. Simple cottons without any complex designs or linings will often benefit from two washes before going into the tumble dryer if owners choose not to dry clean those particular garments. If possible and the care label doesn’t restrict it, then bleach or even pine disinfectant should be used to help lift organic stains. Anything with a lining is best taken to the cleaners, since soiling to the lining often requires its own pretreatment and stain removal techniques.
Dry Clean is your Best Bet for Delicate Items
Despite advances in washing machine technology, the “delicate setting” still isn’t quite delicate enough for the most delicate of fabrics like rayon. The jury is still out on whether or not silk and wool are suitable for machine washing, but this is largely down to how sensitive the wearer’s washing machine is. If there is any doubt or there is any particular value to an item, like a wool or tweed suit, then it should be taken to the dry cleaner for expert care.