Posted on Research

Can you dry clean at home?

Have you ever wondered, ‘can you dry clean at home’? Whilst some home hacks allow you to use different methods incorporated into dry cleaning into a home wash, do you really want to?

We are a nation of saving superstars, with 90% of all UK residents having some spare cash in the bank. With the rising cost of living, it is no surprise that people are looking to save money even on household chores and expenses. Therefore, whilst trying and replicating the dry-cleaning process at home could seem tempting, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as there is a precise science to this freshening method.

With the average person doing over 13,000 laundry loads during their lifetime, there is no denying that this task costs both in time and financially. However, the benefits of looking after your clothing by having it professionally laundered will provide you with a longer lifespan and more time between having to replace your items. Dry cleaning is not just a convenient method of cleaning your items, but also a way to save you money in the longer term.

We know you all love dry cleaning (to the tune of $60.88 billion globally!), but trying to recreate your favoured laundering method can have catastrophic effects on your items. In this article, we will explore the merits of paying for your dry cleaning and just how effective at-home solutions are. Can you really achieve a dry-clean result at home? Let’s find out!

What is dry cleaning?

Before looking at how this cleaning method could be achieved using home laundry products and machinery, it is important to understand how dry-cleaning works.  

This much-loved method of cleaning clothes offers a waterless form of washing that instead uses different chemicals and combined reactions to remove stains and freshen up fabrics. As well as using industrial strength products, the process also uses large-scale machinery that must be operated at a precise temperature and speed to achieve the best results. The finishing processes are also crucial within this form of cleaning, as one of the benefits is having a longer-lasting finish to your household and clothing fabrics. 

Dry cleaning is also environmentally friendly due to the large-scale machines, non-use of water, and the ability for more items to be laundered simultaneously. Furthermore, many chemicals and products have been developed over previous years to offer an environmentally friendly way to clean clothes that is less harmful than some at-home solutions. 

Whilst all items can be dry-cleaned, the service is particularly helpful when dealing with tough stains, embedded odours, and items that are too large to fit inside the standard washing machine, such as curtains and bedding. 

What are the benefits of sending your items to be dry-cleaned professionally versus trying to do it at home yourself?

If at-home dry-cleaning is tempting you to try some laundry science, you might want to consider the benefits of sending your items to be cleaned by our team at Love2Laundry. These include:

  • Saving money as we know exactly what magic is needed for your various pieces of clothing and household items. You will start to spend a lot if you constantly test out different dry-cleaning methods using at-home ingredients. People have been perfecting this skill since 1845, with businesses having been favoured for a long time over attempting the method at home. We think, why spend money on trying to find your own methods when the hard work has already been done for you?
  • No items run the risk of being ruined. The chemicals that are needed for this type of laundering can have damaging effects if not used in the right ways. If you are testing out how to treat different items at home, you will likely experience more than one error. Dry-cleaning professionals also use various solutions depending on the type of fabric and reason for cleaning. If you tried to roll out your style onto different pieces of clothing, you could also run into some trouble.
  • More environmentally friendly. As well as allowing bigger loads of items to be treated all at once, companies such as our own use eco-friendly vehicles for transporting laundry loads. There are lots of great home cleaning products that meet the standards of green living, but dry-cleaning allows lots more boxes to be ticked.
  • Saving you time.  What is a task that you must do that can take you, on average, 88 hours per year to do? Laundry! There must be things that you would rather be doing than treating your own clothes just to know that the task will need to be completed again in the not-too-distant future. A laundry service removes the need for you to tackle the washing basket altogether.
  • Longer lasting effects. Whilst we can, of course, not make your clothing stain or smell repellent, the deep cleaning that professional dry-cleaning offers gives your items the best chance of staying fresh for longer. 
  • More effective against germs and bacteria. Finally, is the fact that dry-cleaning can remove germs and bacteria from your clothing that traditional washing does not. This is also the case if you are trialling your own method at home, as there are no guarantees that your process is making a difference to the clothing fibres. An example of this is how Covid-19 has impacted the dry-cleaning industry. This method of deep cleaning is celebrated for how it can help people in their times of need. When Covid strikes, a professional dry-clean has helped stop the particles from spreading around your home. 

Why is the dry-cleaning label important?

We have all been in a situation when we have purchased something new and realised it is labelled as dry-clean only. We are also sure that at least some of you have tried to defeat the odds by placing your items in a normal wash. This can result in damaged clothing that is no longer wearable and needs to be thrown away.

If an item has been labelled as dry-clean only, it is because using any other form of cleaning will cause irreparable damage. If you are attempting an at-home DIY dry-clean, even though the name of what you are trying to achieve is the same, the results will not be. This means that you are putting your clothes in the same situation as if you had just put them in the machine.

Can you successfully replicate dry-cleaning at home?

There seems to be a hack for quite literally everything online, and that does not stop when it comes to the art of dry cleaning! Some of the tips will be a plausible method of refreshing your garments if you are in a tricky situation, but that doesn’t mean we recommend that you do it. Quite simply, without professional chemicals and industrial machinery, dry-cleaning cannot be replicated at home.

Dry-cleaning can be broken into three stages that should all be considered individually when looking to trial the treatment for yourself at home. These are the initial chemical treatment, the item processing, and after-care considerations.

Treatment for fabrics involves the use of tough chemicals that have been tested for many years. Whilst they are not dangerous for your clothing, they cannot guarantee that recreation of these solutions could be safely used within the home in the same way. It is also not just the actual products that make a difference but how and when they are used. Treating items is a fine art which requires complete precision to get the best results.

Dry-cleaning involves a heated and spun element to the items, which helps the treatment work properly. The only way to mimic this at home is a hand-washing element incorporating water, an element not included in dry-washing.

The after-treatment of items is also a huge benefit to having items dry-cleaned, with the finishing stages helping lock in the freshness for longer. Some results, such as a perfectly pressed shirt or re-pleated skirt, are also impossible to achieve at home without professional equipment.

To summarise, you will likely be able to find some hacks that help you sort out the odd stain or remove an unwanted smell, but the detailed results that are achieved with dry cleaning cannot be replicated using at-home products.

So, can you dry clean at home?

For us, it is not a question of whether you physically can, but whether you should.

Plenty of great hacks online will make it possible to treat certain items, but without the professional products and tools, you will be very hard-pressed to roll this out to a larger scale. We are all for people considering in more detail how their items are laundered, but we think that we offer a very competitively priced way for you to achieve a perfect finish for an affordable cost.

Can you dry clean at home? No, but you can take inspiration from some processes to treat specific fabric issues. You can see our full price list or contact our friendly team to find out more about our services.


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