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How To Avoid The Dry Cleaner – Clothing & Shoe Cleaning Tips

Maybe you are busy, maybe you prefer the control, or maybe you just don’t like paying for the dry cleaner. No matter your reason, listed below are ways to avoid the dry cleaner, lengthen the life of your clothes, and avoid washing mishaps.

How To  Hand Wash Your Clothing

The video above is a great example of how to wash a sweater, but I recommend slightly cooler than warm water to prevent shrinkage. In the video, she uses a gentle shampoo and a gentle conditioner. For sweaters that are not wool, do not use shampoo. Instead, I recommend Seven Generation laundry detergent. They are gentle, yet effective for smells and stains. If a stain occurs, do not scrub, simply put your chosen soap directly onto the stain and rub lightly with the tips of your fingers or thumbs before doing the usual hand washing moves of squeezing and soaking.

How To Avoid The Dry Cleaner

A lot of dry clean only items can actually just be hand washed, simply follow the instructions for hand washing above. After some time, dry cleaning the items that do indeed say Dry Clean Only is a good idea to keep the shape fresh. After all, we are not professional cleaners.

If you don’t have time to hand wash, a lot of Dy Clean Only items can actually go in the washing machine on a short or delicate cycle. These items are silk, casual pants, and most man made fabrics that say Dry Clean Only. Always use cold water when washing these items, and I recommend putting delicate fabrics, like silk, in a mesh laundry bag before washing. Once they are done in the washing machine, lay them flat to dry on a hard non-wood surface, or throw them over a well-dusted door to dry if you don’t have a drying rack. I personally throw my wet clothes over the shower door and towel racks in the bathroom. I don’t recommend having items dry on hangers as the hanger can create indents in the garment. If you really want to dry shirts on a hanger, I recommend a wide plastic hanger to preserve the shape of the shirt.

Items That Must Go To The Dry Cleaner

Items that should not be submerged in water (aka dry clean items that should not be hand washed) are coats, jackets, blazers, delicate slacks and highly embellished pieces like a sequined dress or a sweater with pompoms on it. I also find items with elaborate colors ro designs fair best at the dry cleaner.

How To Wash Your Clothes In A Washing Machine

If any of your clothing’s tags recommend machine washing, go right ahead and follow the instructions and use the washing machine and dryer as instructed. But if you want to be extra careful to avoid shrinkage and extend the life of your clothes, turn your clothing inside out and always use cold water, delicate cycle, and hang dry. If there is a stain, treat the stain by hand before machine washing. If you start to notice a pair of pants or a sweater start to bag out a bit, feel free to use the dryer. I regularly use the dryer on stretched out t-shirts and jeans I usually hang dry.

How To Avoid Washing Your Clothes Entirely

Cleaning a garment shortens it’s life. It is best to prevent washing with these tips…

  • Take a clean spray bottle of any size and fill it with half rubbing alcohol and half water. Spritz the inside of a garment where it gets its wear like the armpits of a dress or cardigan, and the seat of a skirt or pant. This kills bacteria causing smells. (Do not over spray. The garment should not be wet afterward. 1-2 spritz is enough.
  • Never use perfume to cover a smell. If you must use something, use a body spray. It is less harsh, less concentrated, but still has alcohol. Febreeze can also work if it is used sparingly. When using either item, do not spray directly onto the garment, spray into the air and then move the garment into the area of space that was just sprayed. Don’t do this to silk.
  • Never leave clothing on the floor or in a pile at the end of the day if you don’t plan on washing it. When you take off a garment, spritz it if needed, and hang it immediately. Sweaters should not be hung, so after you spritz it, lay it down on a table, bed or couch to air out a bit before folding it and putting it back on the shelf or in the drawer it belongs in.

How To Keep Your Shoes Clean

Before wearing your new boots or shoes, spray them with a protectant spray. For leather shoes and boots, I use KIWI Boot Protector. If a stain does occur, I use Bon Ami house hold cleaner and a rag to remove the scuff off the leather. For suede shoes and boots, I recommend Scotchgard’s Suede & Nubuck Protector. To clean suede, use a horse hair brush and a suede cleaner.

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