So How Does Dry Cleaning Work, Anyway?
While most laundering techniques involve water, dry cleaning refers to a process in which clothes are cleaned without the use of water. Instead, chemical solvents are used to remove stains from clothing. It’s worth noting that the term “dry cleaning” is a bit misleading, since clothes are technically still made wet by the cleaning solvents involved in the process.
After you drop off your garments at the dry cleaner’s, they’re placed into a dry-cleaning machine, which looks fairly similar to a regular washing machine. Inside, the rotating drum is filled with a dry-cleaning chemical, which interacts with the clothing in lieu of water and detergent. One of the most common and traditional dry-cleaning chemicals is tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene (or “perc”), but various have caused the use of this chemical to fall out of fashion in recent years. Biodegradable materials such as have since risen to prominence as a more eco-friendly alternative.
Whether your wardrobe is relatively low-fuss or stocked with delicate materials, there are a few fabrics that should generally be dry cleaned. These include silk, cashmere, suede, and just about anything with detailed beading or embroidery. Always check the care instructions label, and take note of whether a garment is recommended to be dry cleaned or specifically labeled “dry clean only.”
From to sleek-looking in-home dry-cleaning machines, there are a number of ways to save money by dry cleaning at home. But experts warn that some of these methods aren’t as effective as higher-grade professional dry cleaning. Before you spring for an at-home dry-cleaning solution, be sure to read the reviews, consider auxiliary costs (such as or chemical solvents), and calculate whether an at-home machine would prove cost-effective over time based on your dry-cleaning needs.
Up next, keep reading to learn how to clean suede boots using only items in your kitchen.
This story was published at an earlier date and has been recently updated.