October 1, 2013 | Tips & Style

Does “DRY CLEAN ONLY” really mean it?

Dry Clean Label

How many times have you looked at tag that says, “Dry clean only” and wondered, “Do they really mean that?”

It’s a natural response. We’re all so used to warning labels that are only there to protect the manufacturer from getting sued; we don’t blame you for being skeptical. In the case of dry cleaning, there are two main things to look for on that label.

DRY CLEAN ONLY vs. DRY CLEAN

In a little wording trick, the clothing maker is saying that you must dry clean an item with “Dry clean only” and is suggesting that dry cleaning would be the best, but not the only way, with “Dry clean.” That being said, if they’re suggesting that dry cleaning would be the best way, there’s usually a reason. An item might be delicate, have colours that can bleed together, or shrink. In other words, the second label should maybe read, “Get a professional to clean this.”

You bought it because you like it

Most of our favourite outfits are made up of items we spent a little more money on, felt amazing in, and have the best memories wearing. You want to protect these special pieces. Sure, you can take a chance and throw that wool sweater in the washer on a gentle cycle, but if it loses shape, you might regret it.

Reasons why the label tells you to dry clean

We all like to know why we’re being told to do something, so we’ve prepared a list of reasons why you might want to send your clothing to the dry cleaner (Parkers, preferably!).

Fabric

Most people understand that certain fabrics won’t do well in a household washing machine, but do you know which fabrics those are? Silk, acetate, velvet, wool, taffeta, and leather should all head over to your friendly neighbourhood dry cleaner to avoid damage caused by washing at home. These aren’t the only fabrics you can dry clean, but they are the big ones.

Detail

You know that awesome sequined top you bought to wear to your friend’s birthday? It sure isn’t going to like the spin cycle in your home washing machine. Any delicate details like beading, fringe, lace, buttons, or sequins would probably be better off in the hands of a custom clothing care professional you trust.

Colour

When an item has bold colours paired with white or another light fabric, colours can bleed into each other. Sometimes, a label will tell you to dry clean an item like this because they know that a good dry cleaner will be able to keep each colour in its place. Seeing as colour blocking is a huge trend right now, preventing colour bleeding is important!

You just aren’t sure

Cold water? Gentle cycle? Hand wash? Scrubbing? Cleaning your clothing seems like it should be straight forward, but some of the most incredible designs incorporate different fabrics, textures, and detailing, leaving you completely confused about how to care for the garment. At Parkers, we have many different processes for custom clothing care and will be able to assess your item before we recommend the best approach to clean it.

We know that a dry cleaner saying that you should dry clean your clothing is a little obvious, but you might be surprised to know that we don’t always recommend dry cleaning. There are some fabrics that would benefit from a different process, which is why we offer a wide range of custom clothing care options. We even offer wet cleaning with non-toxic, biodegradable detergents!

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