Washing dry clean only clothes

So many clothes say dry clean only, but are they really? You can clean most items at home with great care. There are a number of dry cleaning alternatives available that can safely wash the majority of dry clean only fabrics right in your tumble dryer. Some fabrics can even be washed in your washing machine with great care.

Tumble dryer method

Examine the fabric you are dealing with. If you are working with angora, lined trousers or suits, or 100 per cent wool you will want to use only a specialist dry cleaning solution. Immersing these fabrics in water can cause them to shrink beyond repair. If you are working with a wool blend, wash the item with care in the washing machine.

Treat the stains with a dry cleaning stain remover. Dab the stain with the liquid stain remover to treat the stain or place a white paper towel underneath your stain and use the spot cleaner cloth to blot up the stain.

Place up to four items directly in the tumble dryer.

Place the dry cleaning cloth in the dryer and run on medium for 20 minutes.

Remove clothes from the dryer immediately. Hang as usual.

Washing machine method

Place dry clean only wool blends in your washing machine and place the machine on the gentle cycle. Always use cold water.

Wash with a specialist cold wash wool blend cleaning detergent.

Remove the clothes from the washing machine and do not place in the tumble dryer. You will want to dry the clothes by first placing them on a clean towel. Roll the towel to remove any excess moisture from the clothes. Lay the clothes flat on a drying rack.


If you are in doubt about whether you can clean an item at home it is best to err on the side of caution and take it to the dry cleaners.

Things You'll Need

  • Dry cleaning solvent cloth
  • Dry cleaning stain removal solution
  • Dry towels
  • White paper towels
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About the Author

Robin Neorr has been working as a full-time freelance writer since 2007. She has written for various websites including The Frisky. Before she started her writing career, she spent 10 years in media marketing. She has a bachelor's degree in communications and a master's degree in communications management from John Carroll University.