How often should one dry clean their clothes?
Today in this busy world everybody looks for quick fixes. Nobody wants to spend the whole day doing laundry at home. So here comes dry cleaning, as our savior. Dry cleaning cleans the clothes by using a non-water based solvent which breaks down the dirt. Stains are spot cleaned with additional chemicals and steam jets. Later they are washed and rinsed with the solvent. But these solvents can weaken the fabric over time and the whole process is quite harsh on the clothes as it involves a lot of friction. So dry clean wisely and save your wallet and your time.
How often should you dry clean your clothes?
There are a lot of factors which decide the frequency of dry cleaning. If your clothes are heavily stained and soiled then they need to be taken to the dry cleaner immediately. Fabrication is also an important variable that can affect your visit to the dry cleaner. Wool clothing can be worn a lot of times whereas delicate materials like silk and cashmere which are susceptible to sweat, need more care. Then the weather also plays an important role in deciding your trips to the dry cleaner. If it is summer or you live in a warm place, you will sweat more and your clothes will absorb more sweat and then they need to be dry cleaned frequently. In winters when you don’t sweat that much dry cleaned clothes can be worn several times. Dry cleaning ensures that your delicate clothes made with dainty trimmings, buttons, sequins, and fragile fabrics are not damaged during the washing process. But it can curtail the lifespan of your clothes. So dry clean as less often as possible. Drycleaning and pressing expose your clothes to chemicals and in the long run, can wreck them. The dry cleaned clothes do shine due to the heat and pressing but the process thins out the fabric. Try not to buy a lot of clothes which need to be dry cleaned every time. The dry cleaned clothes should be worn at least three times before they are sent again for dry cleaning. The reason for this is that the dry cleaning process uses a lot of chemicals to remove the stains and uses starch to make the clothes wrinkle-free, making them stay cleaner for a long time. Too much dry cleaning can damage your clothes. Here are some tips to help you decide when to bring your clothes to the dry cleaner.
Suits and coats- Suits and coats are tougher and can be worn many times before they would need dry cleaning. With woolen coats, you can go longer between cleanings but with materials like polyester, viscose or rayon you need to send them for dry cleaning quickly. Unless you soil them or it is excessively warm, you may not need to dry clean them quite often.
Denim- Denim can be washed at home also in the washing machine as it is a tough fabric but if drycleaned can also be worn several times before being dry cleaned again. Washing at home wears down the denim and cause shrinkage and so some people prefer getting them dry cleaned.
Jackets- Jackets can also go for months without drycleaning unless badly soiled. Jackets and coats don’t. come in direct contact of the skin and can be drycleaned once every season.
Sweaters-Dry clean sweaters after wearing 3 to 5 times ( depending upon how much you tend to sweat).
Blouses- Blouses should be dry cleaned after them 2 to 4 times, as they get up close to your skin. Silk blouses are delicate and tend to absorb more sweat so during summer, blouses need to go to the dry cleaner maximum after second wear.
Skirts-Woolen skirts won’t crease or wrinkle and also refrain stains so you can wear them at least 5 times. Skirts made of stain-repellent material can also be worn a few times before you bring them to the dry cleaner.
Shirts- During winter shirts are worn inside the blazers or jackets and so there is less possibility of them getting soiled. So drycleaned shirts can last even 5 wears also. But in summers when one sweats more you will have to dry clean your shirt after every second wear.
Pants- Unless soiled, pants especially wool pants can be worn multiple times before making its trip to the dry cleaner.
Dry cleaning vs Wet cleaning
The harsh chemicals used in the process of dry cleaning can wreak havoc on your clothes and our environment also. Perc( perchloroethylene) is a common chemical solvent used in dry cleaning and is considered harmful to the environment. Even the drycleaned clothes contain the perc residue that releases small quantities of perc into the air. Perc can cause headaches, loss of consciousness, limited memory, drowsiness, and can damage the kidney, liver, and lungs. Its long term exposure is linked to various forms of cancers. Some other alternatives to perc like N-propyl bromide, propylene and glycol ether are equally detrimental. Wet cleaning is a greener alternative to dry cleaning. It is a sustainable and environmentally-friendly option. Wet cleaning is nothing but the gentler version of home washings. It uses a mild, biodegradable, and eco-friendly soap and water for cleaning the clothes. Wet cleaning is a professional method of cleaning clothes without chemical solvents. There are computer-controlled wet cleaning machines which remove the stains with non-toxic spot removers. Wet cleaning is a cleaner and safer cleaning process that can clean “dry clean only” garments also. The clothes also come out smelling fresher and don’t smell of perc. Unlike dry cleaning which curtails the life of your clothes, wet cleaning protects the garments.
Tips to reduce the trips to the dry cleaner
1. Air dry your dry cleaned clothes after having worn them before putting them back into your closet.2. In case your dry cleaned clothes get any stain, try to spot clean them at home. Oil stains are difficult to get rid of and would need special care.3. You can brush off any lint or dry dirt off your dry cleaned clothes to release any trapped particles.
You can increase the wear of your dry cleaned clothes by airing, spot cleaning, and brushing. Decide judiciously which items of clothing need professional care and which ones can be taken care of at home. Also, if deciding to wash at home do it properly or you will end up ruining your garments.