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 favorite clothing with some pretty heavy chemicals. It’s not cleaning, it’s more like ironing with chemicals! The chemicals aren’t even the worst part of Dry-Cleaning! All the heat from pressing your chemical-sprayed garments will set any stains for life if they aren’t treated properly beforehand.
Everybody has a sad Dry-Cleaning tale. For me, it’s always the smudges of makeup on the inside collar of anything light (and linen) that never go 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.
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 just ringing the dinner bell for a moth buffet! Moths love to eat natural fibers like silk or wool, 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 a generous spritz of Garment Groom before putting it away. It's the fastest, easiest way to protect your favorite clothes from pests, stains, and over-washing (not to mention the harsh chemicals in dry-cleaning).
I'm not saying you should throw in your favorite Prada in your washing machine, but I do think it's time to rethink how we do laundry. The only way to find out if your Dry-Clean only garment is washable is to experiment. Carefully, of course, but start with hand-washing with our Everything Laundry Soap a few times and hang to dry. If that works, you can proceed to wash in the machine on a cool, gentle cycle, and preferably in a mesh laundry bag. And, for a professional finish, throw some of our Laundry Fragrance onto wool dryer balls at the end of the dry 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 perfect linen jacket will seem fine after the first or second wash, only to realize that it's 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 permit you 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,