Kiss Your Dry-Cleaner Goodbye!

Forget everything you thought you knew about Dry-Cleaning. I’m going to let you in on a little known fact: Dry cleaning is neither dry nor clean. Yes, it's true, Carrie Bradshaw lied to you.

In fact, the whole thing is pretty dirty and very expensive on the whole. I'm not just talking about the damage to your clothing and wallet, but the environment too. Dry-Cleaning involves dousing your clothes with some pretty heavy chemicals. It’s not cleaning, it’s more like ironing with chemicals! Plus, all that heat can set a stain for life if it isn't treated properly beforehand. Everybody has a sad Dry-Cleaning tale. For me, it’s always the smudge of makeup on the inside collar of anything light (and linen) that never goes away after a trip to the Cleaners.

So why do we do it? Because we’re told to! Clothing manufacturers use the “Dry-Clean only label” as a get out of jail free card to release them from any responsibility for shrinkage or garment damage from washing.

The fact is, we usually overdo it with dry-cleaning in this country. For example, a wool suit only needs to be dry-cleaned two or three times a year. I mean, if you’ve just spent the night at a wedding dancing your butt off then yeah, get it dry-cleaned. But for normal day-to-day wear, it’s just not necessary. If there are food stains or spills, the worst thing to do is wait a few days to take it to the cleaners. That’s like ringing the dinner bell for a moth buffet! Moths love natural fibers with a little side of pesto or soy sauce. They can detect even the tiniest speck of food on your clothing, and then hatch their eggs on it to feed the emerging larvae. Yeah, gross.

If you've eaten anything in your dry-clean-only garment, the safest bet is to hit it straight away with Garment Groom before putting it back in your closet. It's the fastest, easiest way to protect your favorite sweaters from pests, stains, and over-washing (not to mention the harsh chemicals in dry-cleaning).

I’m not saying you should throw your favorite Prada in the washing machine, but maybe it’s time to rethink how we do laundry. The only way to really find out if your "Dry-Clean only" garment is washable is to experiment. Proceed carefully by hand-washing it in our Everything Laundry Soap and hang to dry. If that works, you can move on to machine washing on a cool, gentle cycle, and preferably in a mesh laundry bag. For a professional finish, throw some of our Laundry Fragrance onto wool dryer balls at the end of the dryer cycle to scent it like a fancy French Laundry.

I’m happy to report that this method has worked for me on everything from wool blazers to long, silk gowns. Sigh. Remember parties? But just be careful, because sometimes that linen jacket will seem fine after the first or second wash, only to discover that it’s actually lost a little bit of shape or color on the third go-round. Consider this the rule to live by: if your garment emerges unscathed 3 times after hand or machine washing, consider your dry-cleaning budget the only thing that’s shrinking.

I hereby grant you permission to carefully disregard the care labels on your Dry-Clean only favorites. This means that you can spend your money on more clothes, not your dry-cleaning bill.

See you on the Dance Floor!

xbp