How to Remove Stains on Dry Clean Only Clothes

Updated February 21, 2017

Many common stains can be removed from dry clean--only clothes without the expensive trip to the dry cleaners. The process of spot cleaning clothes is called sponging. Obviously, some stains cannot be removed, even with this technique or by professional dry cleaners. Stains made by permanent markers, dye and some paints are almost always permanent, especially once they have dried on the clothing. Dry clean--only clothes should be treated as soon as possible after staining.

Fold a cloth until it is several layers thick. Place the stained clothing face down on the cloth. The stained part should rest directly on the cleaning cloth.

Apply dry cleaning solution to a cloth. Use the cloth to apply solution to the back of the stain. Work from the outside of the stain to the inside so that the stain is not enlarged.

Check the cloth below the stain. If it is becoming soiled, refold the cloth so that the part of the cloth touching the stain is clean.

Repeat steps 1 through 3 until the stain is gone.


Read the instructions on the dry cleaning solution. Note what fabrics it may or may not be used on. Follow package directions when using the solution. If the stain seems to be spreading or not budging, take the garment to the dry cleaners right away. Point out the stain and explain what the stain is made of.


Smooth fabric works better than terry cloth as a cleaning cloth when treating clothing. Terry cloth balls up and sometimes leaves lint on darker fabrics.

Things You'll Need

  • Cleaning cloths
  • Dry cleaning solution
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About the Author

After realizing the character curriculum she wanted to teach was unavailable in Mexico, Perri Sams began writing curriculum for children and their parents in 1990. Sams attended Louisiana State University and graduated from Calvary Ministerial Institute Spanish Language School in 1989, where she was valedictorian. Sams has been based in southern Kentucky since 2003, where she has written extensively for "Kentucky Family Living" magazine.