Can You Dry Clean At Home?

Taking clothes to be dry cleaned, paying for them, picking them up again – it’s all a bit of a faff, isn’t it? Can you dry clean at home instead?

Actually, the answer is yes, you can, and it’s easier to do than you might think. There are a few things to remember about it though, so let’s look into it.

Can You Dry Clean At Home?

You can, with the right equipment, do your own dry cleaning at home. It’s not as simple as throwing clothes in the washing machine, but it is definitely do-able!

Dry cleaning at home is not the same as taking them to the cleaners – the method is not “dry” for a start…

Official dry cleaning uses chemicals, which you won’t want to be messing around with at home, but with a few substitutions you can take care of even your most fussy clothes.

  1. Place the clothing in a clean bowl filled with cool water and about a teaspoon of delicate washing liquid.
  2. Swirl the clothing around in the water, then leave them to sit in the bowl for around 20 minutes.
  3. Drain the water out of the bowl and gently press the items of clothing against the sides, to remove some of the water.
  4. Refill the bowl with clean water and swish the clothes around gently to rinse them, then drain out the water and gently press the clothes again.
  5. Spread out a towel on a flat surface and spread the clothing out on it, making sure there are as few creases as possible.
  6. Allow the clothes to dry completely, then use a steamer to remove any wrinkles that may have settled in.

If your clothing has particularly stubborn stains, you should treat these first before you clean the entire item.

Dampen the area, the rub a small amount of delicate dish soap into the area until the stain has lifted.

Alternatively, make a paste with baking soda and water, apply it to the stain and wait for 15 minutes before rinsing off.

What Can I Do Instead Of Dry Cleaning?

Dry cleaning really is a bit of a faff, isn’t it? You have to load up the clothes, take them to the place, pay, then wait for them to be ready. If only there was an easier way…

It turns out, there is! You don’t have to have your dry clean items cleaned professionally; there are a few things you can do at home:

  • Hand wash. This is a gentle way of cleaning that can really make a difference – no risk of being damaged in the washing machine (this works especially well for beaded or embroidered items).
  • Remove stains using equal parts of white vinegar and water. Vinegar is a highly effective cleaner that is also very gentle on delicate fabrics.
  • Use a steamer. This is a great way of removing dirt and odours, as well as helping to keep your clothes in tip top condition.
  • Spray essential oils. If you miss the smell of a really fresh piece of clothing, simply dilute a few drops of your favourite essential oil in a spray bottle, and spritz it over your clothing.

As you can see, you don’t always have to resort to the professionals when it comes to cleaning your clothes – with a little care and attention you can easily sort the problem at home.

Here’s a useful video that shows you how you can dry clean at home, using a shop bought kit and a tumble dryer:

Do Things Really Need To Be Dry Cleaned?

Dry cleaning is generally reserved for clothing that is a very delicate fabric and that won’t survive the rigors of the washing machine.

It is not always that they NEED to be dry cleaned, but that they may get damaged rolling around with other washing in a vigorous washing cycle.

There are some things that it is recommended to always leave to the professionals, however comfortable you feel with your at-home cleaning:

  • Leather and suede
  • Wedding dresses
  • Velvet
  • Clothes that have sequins, gems, beads or embroidery
  • Delicate lace
  • Natural fur

Other fabrics, despite the fact that they might state “dry clean only” are probably suitable for washing carefully at home yourself.

Always remember to treat delicate fabrics with great care, if you want to avoid damaging them.

What Is The Green Alternative To Dry Cleaning?

Dry cleaning, although it is a fantastic way to clean clothes, is not always the most green and healthy way of cleaning.

Some dry cleaning establishments use a carcinogenic chemical known as perchloroethylene – tit’s not great for the environment, or for human health!

You can, of course request that this is not used.

An alternative to this chemical is a greener version that uses liquid carbon dioxide instead.

If you want to go for the healthier option, request this method instead – or find yourself a different dry cleaners.

Can I Steam Something That Is Dry Clean Only?

We are all a little nervous of clothes that state “dry clean only,” aren’t we? However, there is really no need to worry too much.

Steaming is a gentle way of cleaning even the most delicate clothes, and it is actually highly effective too!

Because steaming is a pretty hot process, it will help to remove the bacteria and dirt that causes clothes to smell, and not look their best.

This method can also help to remove wrinkles, so you won’t need to get the ironing board out after – it’s a win win!

One thing to look out for is that you don’t get the steamer too close to the clothing – excessive moisture can damage some delicate items.

Final Words

If you have a lot of clothes that are dry clean only, the hassle (and the bills) can really add up. Why not have a go at dry cleaning at home?

It is a fairly simple solution that can save you a lot of time and money, especially if you have a good few items that you wear often that are dry clean only.