How to Dry Clean at Home

Some clothes are easier to care for than others. Most everyday items can be cleaned with a quick wash and dry, however “dry clean only” and delicate clothes require more TLC. While it’s always best to leave dry cleaning and laundry to the professionals, you might be tempted to skip the extra trip and dry clean at home.

This, of course, begs the question: Can Dry Cleaning Really Be Done At Home? While there are a number of ways to remove stains, wrinkles and odors from “dry clean only” clothes (more on this below), there is no way to dry clean. at home, according to Carolyn Forte, director of the cleaning lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Professionals are able to remove stubborn body oils and stains that home dry cleaning kits and steam cannot. “Dry cleaning at home may delay getting something to the dry cleaner and give you some extra wear, but that won’t completely eliminate the need,” she explains.

Maybe you have an entire season of clothes to dry clean and you don’t want to put up with the hefty price tag. Or maybe you’re not a fan of how your clothes smell when you bring them home. Forte offers a simple solution: keep looking until you find a dry cleaner that meets your needs or find an alternative (but very effective) solution like wet cleaning or liquid carbon dioxide cleaning.

How to Update “Dry Clean Only” Articles at Home

If you want to extend the life of a garment between dry cleanings, you have two options: use a dry cleaning kit or go for the DIY method.

Dry cleaning kits like the Dryel At-Home Dry Cleaning Starter Kit come with everything you need for a similar dry cleaning experience at home: stain remover, bag, clothes cleaning and an anti-odor and anti-wrinkle. Here’s how to get the most efficient refresh:

  1. Treat stains with the stain remover pen and spray strong smelling areas with the odor remover spray.
  2. Stick up to five items of clothing in the bag with the cleaning cloth and tumble dry. The heat and tumble of the dryer activates the cleaning cloth, releasing trapped odors and refreshing the fabric.
  3. Remove clothes quickly and get rid of any remaining wrinkles or odors with the spray.
    1. No kit, no problem: Follow these steps to beautify your “dry clean only” items:

      1. Remove stains from clothes. Just to be sure, test the stain remover on a hidden spot on the fabric and look for water spots or color loss. Fibers like silk and rayon can be damaged by household stain removers.
      2. Refresh fabrics, remove wrinkles and remove unwanted odors with a garment steamer like Seal star Conair Turbo ExtremeSteam Handheld Garment Steamer or a spray like Downy Wrinkle Releaser. Always start by testing the products on a hidden part of the fabric.
      3. Some fabrics, such as knits and other lightweight fabrics, can also be smoothed out in the dryer. Stick your items into a wash bag and add a damp washcloth, hand towel, or ice cubes to the dryer to speed up the process.
        1. Remember: this is only a placeholder until your next visit to the dry cleaner. There is no other way to make your clothes look and smell like new.

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