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.

Hand Washing
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 Mrs. Meyer’s All Purpose Cleaner or Seventh 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.

Dry Clean
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 it fresh. After all, we are not professional cleaners.

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.

Using Machines
If any of your clothing’s tags recommend machine washing, go right ahead and follow the instructions, but turn your clothes inside out. Unless otherwise instructed, use cold water, delicate cycle, and hang dry to avoid shrinkage. If there is a stain, treat the stain by hand before machine washing.

Preventing Washing & Dry Cleaners
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.

Before wearing your new leather boots or shoes, spray them with protector spray. I use KIWI Boot Protector from Target or Scotchgard’s Shoe Guard. If a stain does occur, I use Bon Ami house hold cleaner and a rag to remove the scuff off the leather. If you have suede shoes, I recommend Scotchgard’s Suede & Nubuck Protector.

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