How to Wash Dry-Clean Clothes at Home

Does the phrase "dry clean" make you cringe, either because of the toxic chemicals most cleaners use or because of the prices they charge? Good news! Many of these delicate items can be safely washed by hand at home with a gentle detergent. Just follow these simple steps to make your clothes clean and green.

Decode the Care Labels
Manufacturers only need to list one care instruction, even if a garment can be both washed and dry-cleaned. To prevent mishaps, they'll usually print "Dry Clean." These items can typically be hand washed. "Dry Clean Only," however, means exactly that.

Note the Fabric and Detailing
Simple, solid-color cotton, wool, linen, rayon, and "washable silk" items can generally tolerate hand washing. Let the pros handle anything with bright prints or colors that may bleed, clothing made of traditional silk, or anything with delicate stitching or beading.

Plus: Tips for Perfect Laundry

Wash Carefully
Fill a clean sink or washbasin with lukewarm water, then add a few drops of detergent, preferably one made for delicates. Add the garment and swish for three to five minutes. Avoid excess agitation, which causes shrinkage. Rinse the item in fresh water, then gently squeeze out the excess water. Do not wring, as this can damage the fabric.

Dry Right
Place the item flat on a clean bath towel and reshape. Roll the towel up, pressing the remaining moisture out of the garment as you go. Unroll, transfer to a fresh towel, and repeat. Unroll, and lay the item flat on a drying rack or another clean towel to air dry, flipping it halfway through.

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