Laundry & Dry cleaning

Things you might want dry cleaned

When it’s laundry day, some of us separate the whites from the colours, whilst others simply throw everything in the washing machine with a colour catcher. But what about those delicates and clothes that require a dry clean? Putting them in the washing machine could damage the fabric and shrink the garments. So, before you tackle the washing, it’s best to take the time to sift through and check the washing instructions before popping it all on a 40° cycle. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out which items require special attention, especially if you have a mountain of clothes to get clean and the labels have faded.

So, if you:

  • want to know which fabrics have to be dry cleaned;
  • want to know more about the whole process of dry cleaning;
  • want to make sure that you look after your clothes to keep them at their best…

then read on!

What is dry cleaning and how does dry cleaning work?

Professional dry-cleaning services clean clothes and fabric without using soap and water. Dirt and stains are effortlessly removed by dipping fabrics into a special dry-cleaning solvent. If the stains on your clothes are particularly bad, it’s best to point this out to your dry cleaner, as they may need to pre-treat them with special chemicals before they are dry cleaned. Specialist dry cleaning companies will often cover buttons, any embellishments and decorative features so they don’t get damaged during the dry-cleaning process.

With stains pre-treated and buttons covered, clothes are put in a large dry-cleaning machine, which is pumped with the special liquid solvent. Once clothes have gone through the dry-cleaning process, the garments are inspected to check the stains have gone and the buttons are fixed back on the clothes. Next, the dry cleaner will press, iron or steam each garment to remove any wrinkles, pop a protective cover on them and hang them up to wait for customer collection.

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Leave these fabrics for dry cleaning

Some clothes you have in your wardrobe may be classed as ‘delicate’ and require a handwash or gentle cycle on the washing machine, while some may need the special care of a dry-cleaning service. If you’re unsure which fabrics need dry cleaning, be sure to check the labels. If the labels don’t offer any cleaning instructions, for a general rule it’s best to assume that the following items need to be dry cleaned:

  • Linen
  • Leather
  • Suede
  • Rayon

Clothes made from the above fabrics won’t benefit from being cleaned in a washing machine. Linen is likely to shrink if washed in a washing machine. Potentially, linen can be gently washed in cold water, or be given a pre-wash to protect the fabric, however washing in water can leave the fabric with a rough finish. Dry cleaning is a much gentler process, that won’t interfere with the fabric’s construction. So, to maintain the quality and long shelf life, dry cleaning linen is best.

Leather, whether real leather or synthetic, should never be soaked in water during cleaning, so is unsuitable for machine washing. As explained earlier, the dry-cleaning process doesn’t use water; it’s a liquid-based solvent that removes smells, dirt and stains – and leather dry cleaning goes through the same process. The hot water temperature of a washing machine can potentially damage, discolour and dry out the leather, leaving it to crack and wear down.

It’s the same for suede and rayon. The water and heat from a washing machine will ruin the fabric over time. To maintain the garment’s structure and quality, it’s always best to dry clean.

Provide proper care for your suits

When it comes to suit cleaning, should you wash on cold, hand wash or give them a quick spin? Despite the instructions you’re given, to avoid possible shrinking and fabric damage, it’s best to dry clean your suits. It’ll help maintain their quality over time, and you’ll not have to think about ironing them afterwards, as the dry-cleaning company will do it all for you.

Benefits of dry-cleaning curtains and carpets

It’s not just clothes that benefit from a dry clean. It’s the same for curtains and carpets. If your carpets have stains that are proving too stubborn to remove by hand, it might be best taking them to the dry cleaners. And just like clothes, the dry-cleaning company will pre-treat any stains to make sure they’re fully removed.

Carpets are too large for a washing machine and can often feature delicate elements like stitching and lining that washing machines can damage. Dry cleaning carpets will make the process of cleaning much easier. And you won’t have to think about where or how you’ll get them dry too. Dry cleaning carpets will also help maintain the fabric quality, prevent colour fading and remove the possibility of the fibres shrinking. Another benefit of dry cleaning is that the unique liquid used for carpet cleaning is biodegradable, meaning it won’t harm the environment.

Over time, curtains can pick up stains and smells that become embedded in the fabric. Fabric spray fresheners can only do so much, but dry-cleaning curtains will eradicate those stuck-on smells. Once dry cleaned, the dry-cleaning company will steam the curtains, removing any creases, meaning you won’t have to worry about having to iron large pieces of fabric.

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Fabrics that don’t require dry cleaning

The majority of our clothes won’t need dry cleaning and can be put on a 30° or 40° wash. Here are the fabrics that won’t require dry cleaning:

  • Cotton – it doesn’t need dry cleaning and is machine washable. Most cotton garments come with a pre-wash applied, so shouldn’t shrink, but if you’re still worried about possible fabric damage, you can always wash on cold or a lower setting
  • Polyester and other synthetics – polyester along with nylon and acrylic can be machine washed
  • Wool – although wool items don’t need dry cleaning, they will benefit from a handwash rather than a machine wash. It’s important to point out that wool shouldn’t be put in a tumble dryer either, as the heat will shrink the fabric
  • Cashmere – dry cleaning cashmere could actually damage the natural fibres of cashmere wool. It’s best to handwash cashmere in special cashmere shampoo and cold water

Useful tips for dry cleaning

Here are some dry-cleaning tips and tricks to help you achieve the best results for your garments:

  1. Check for dry cleaning labels – if in doubt, look for the dry-cleaning symbol
  2. Don’t try and remove the stain yourself – the products you use may set the stain and the rubbing will ruin the fabric and discolour the dye. Use the spot-dry cleaning method to remove any excess stain before taking to the dry cleaners
  3. Take it to the dry cleaners as soon as possible – when it comes to stains, the quicker they’re treated, the better
  4. Avoid exposing the stain to heat and light – doing so will cause the stain to set in
  5. Point out the stain to the worker at the dry cleaners and tell them where the stain has come from – this will make sure the stain can be treated with the right products before being dry cleaned
  6. Perspiration can weaken fabric – dry clean the item as soon as you can to avoid irreversible damage.

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Do you need professional laundry and dry-cleaning services?

Tackling the laundry can take up a lot of time; there’s the sorting, the washing, the drying and then the ironing. Throw in the dry cleaning that needs organising and you soon have a big job on your hands. Why not trust in a professional company that will handle all of your dry-cleaning needs? At FantasticServices.com, we’ll pick up your dry cleaning from your home, take it to the dry cleaners and return it back to you. With our dry-cleaning pick-up and delivery service, there’ll be no more rushing to the cleaners, finding a place to park or finding the time to do it. Simply book in with us, today!

Takeaways

Here are the main things to bear in mind when it comes to dry cleaning:

  • The sooner you treat a stain, the better the results will be
  • You can dry clean large items like curtains and carpets
  • Don’t forget to plan ahead – dry cleaning can take several days to be completed, not to mention the time it takes to drop it off and pick it up

***

What items do you have dry cleaned? Let us know in the comments…

Image Source: Shutterstock / Ekaterina_Minaeva

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