Taking your clothes to the dry cleaner is a luxury we can’t always afford. I would love to take my favorite pants and shirts there whenever a stain or smudge touches the fabric, but the price prevents me from doing this frequently. I leave the dry cleaners for special occasions, or better yet, I do the cleaning at home. One of the biggest myths behind dry cleaning is that if the label says “dry clean only,” it can’t be washed at home. I am here to tell you it can! Ignore the label, and use natural and affordable ways to get your clothes looking like they just got back from the dry cleaners. Save money and time by following these five easy tips about cleaning your clothes at home.
Don’t Dry Clean Everything
There are certain clothing, curtains, and bedding that can benefit from being dry cleaned, but many items can be washed right at home. What you should or shouldn’t take to the dry cleaners depends on the material of the items. Cashmere, wool, cotton, polyester, and nylon can typically be washed right inside your washing machine on the cold cycle. More delicate designed items with beading or sequins and are heavily stained might need to be taken to a professional.
Wash by Hand
If you aren’t positive about an item, rinse a hidden part in cold water. If the water doesn’t change color from the fabric, it should be safe to get the rest of the clothing wet. Take a small amount of gentle laundry detergent and rub it on the dirty area. The soap particles attach to the stain and loosen pieces so they can be rinsed right down the drain. The sink is a great place to hand wash whites and light-colored clothing. It also a safe place to wash clothing with intricate beading and threading.
Never Use the Dryer
No matter what you are washing, the dryer should always be used with care. I typically dry towels, underwear, socks, and sheets in the dryer without any worry. Most of my other clothes are hung to air dry. Why does the dryer seem so scary to me? I have ruined plenty of clothes by tossing them from the washing machine to the dryer without any hesitation. It seems there is always a stain hiding on a shirt that I missed, and the heat from the dryer permanently seals the stain into the fabric. A permanent stain isn’t the only problem dryers cause. The heat can cause the clothes to shrink and become misshapen. If the fabric doesn’t lose its size, it could easily lose the brightness or color.
Use Cold Water
When in doubt, use cold water every single time. This prevents colors from spreading and seeping onto other areas of clothing. Hot water can ruin the brightness of a fabric’s color in one wash, so save yourself the worry and use cold water instead. Water also is an excellent natural way to remove stains without using any harsh soaps or products. Blood, juice, and other dark stains can be rinsed under cold water until the stain fades away. You might not even have to wash other areas of the clothing. Water is your best cleaning friend, and it will help you save money and a trip to the dry cleaners.