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How To Dry Clean Your Clothes At Home

image of pink sweater on a pink background with a blue text box that says how to wash dry clean only clothes at home

Are you looking to wash your dry clean only clothes at home? Read on for my full tips on how to wash many different types of dry clean only fabrics at home, using a variety of methods.

I’ve always wondered how to dry clean at home.  I try not to buy dry clean only clothes.  However, sometimes unsuspecting dry clean only clothing works its way into my wardrobe.  More often than not this happens when I’ve bought clothes on eBay and haven’t been able to inspect the care label.  These items will inevitably end up in the laundry basket and sadly never see the light of day again.

Thankfully for me, and for you, I’ve recently come across this guide from the wonderful Yumi Sakugawa over on WonderHowTo.com on how to wash dry clean only clothes at home.  It has really been helping me to take the guesswork out of dry cleaning at home.

Image of a pink jumper on a pink background, with a blue text box that says how to wash dry clean only clothes at home.

What’s the Problem With Dry Cleaning?

I’m a bit loathe to dry clean my clothes, you see.  The most common dry cleaning chemical used is perchloroethylene.  This is a carcinogenic and neurotoxic chemical linked to higher incidences of leukemia and tumors in dry cleaning staff.  And who knows how this affects those wearing dry-cleaned clothes.  

To add to this chemical load, dry cleaning has an environmental impact.  Think of your local dry cleaners, where all the newly cleaned clothing is hung on plastic hangers and wrapped in plastic.  The environmental impact of this single-use plastic is not to be ignored.  If we can lessen this impact by bypassing the dry cleaners then I’m all for that.

How To Dry Clean At Home

I’ve never known the right way to dry clean at home.  As such, some of my attempts at-home dry cleaning have been successful and others not.  Laundry roulette if you will.  

The “dry clean only” coat I’ve worn every winter for the last five years has been gently machine washed time and time again.  And it still looks fresh as a daisy!  Other times, the odd item of dry-clean-only clothing has come to a sad end at the hands of my washing machine.  RIP my lovely but synthetic pleated skirt circa 2006. Thankfully, Yumi’s illustrated guide really helps to take the guesswork out of dry cleaning at home.

how to dry clean at home

Let me transcribe, in case you are visually impaired and using a text reader.

Before you attempt dry cleaning at home, check the clothing label first.  Some materials and fabrics are best left to the professionals.  These being suede, fur/feathers, velvet, taffeta, and anything with delicate stitching/beading.

In The Machine Washing

Cotton, linens, and durable polyesters can withstand machine washing.

  1. Place items of clothing inside a mesh bag designed for washing delicates*.
  2. Set your machine to a gentle cold-water cycle, and add a mild laundry detergent.
  3. Once the cycle is complete, remove the clothing and lay flat, or hang dry.

Hand Washing

Many wool, silk, and cotton dry clean only clothes can withstand handwashing at home.

  1. Fill your sink or bucket with cold water, and add a mild detergent.  Mix a little to create a foam.  For wool products, use a specialist wool detergent*.
  2. Dip your clothing in and out of the soapy water until everything is soaked through.  Use your fingertips to rub any soiled areas. 
  3. Drain your sink or bucket, and refill it with clean cold water.  Dip and re-dip your clothing until all the soap is gone.  Refill your sink or bucket, and repeat as necessary, if required.
  4. Lay your clothing on a clean white towel, and push (but don’t twist) the water out.  Place another towel on top, and roll the towel up whilst squeezing gently.  Repeat 3-5 times.
  5. Reshape your garment, and lay flat on another clean dry towel until dry.  For wool products, dry your garment away from sunlight/heat.

Leather Jackets

Before washing your dry clean only leather jacket, or other types of leather clothing, be sure to carefully read the care instructions on the label first.

For light surface care, use a damp towel to remove everyday dirt and grime.  Be sure to not rub too hard.  For more serious stains, try using a leather stain-removal spray.  You can also hand wash a dry clean only leather jacket in a sink filled with lukewarm water and a small amount of dishwashing liquid or liquid Castille soap*.  Gently rub stained areas. 

When it is time to rinse the jacket, lift the jacket out of the soapy solution.  Similar to the process for handwashing clothes, empty the sink and refill it with clean water. Rinse your jacket in the clean water (don’t wring your jacket.)  Again, you may need to change the water a few times, to make sure all the soap has been rinsed out.  Then allow your jacket to air dry, away from sunlight/heat.  

I would hang it on a sturdy hanger, perhaps in your shower or bathtub, to catch drips.  

In Any Doubt About Washing Dry Clean Only Clothes At Home?

Of course, if you are in any doubt about washing dry clean only clothes at home, or if an item of clothing is particularly special to you, then do use a dry cleaner.  I don’t want to be responsible for ruining your wedding dress or bespoke suit!  If you are looking for a greener alternative to conventional dry cleaners, then I have heard of dry cleaners that don’t use perchloroethylene.  However, at present, I don’t know enough about them to vouch for their environmental friendliness.

I also have a ton of other laundry tips that you might find useful.  Firstly, how to make your own fabric conditioner.  Secondly, this is a good one to legitimise laziness – how often should you wash your clothes.  I also have a guide on how to wash wool, and how to wash striped clothing.  And lastly, my guide to natural stain removal, and my eco-friendly alternatives to tumble dryer sheets.

Home, Home and Garden

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Naturally

how to get rid of fruit flies from your kitchen naturally

Let’s chat about how to get rid of fruit flies naturally. You might call them compost flies. Whatever you call them, I wanted to share the effective natural method I’ve found for clearing your kitchen of this almighty pest.

I know, I know, you’re thinking exciting stuff, but fruit flies are a very real problem I face every summer without fail. And chances are, by the fact that you’re reading this post, one that you face too, and you need a way to rid your house of these pesky fruit flies.

Every summer I feel like I blink and my kitchen goes from fruit fly free, to hosting a swarm of hundreds. Hundreds of fruit flies that are multiplying in front of my very eyes.

What Are Fruit Flies And Why Are They A Problem?

Fruit flies are scientifically known as Drosophila melanogaster, but we’ll keep to the simple fruit fly term here!

I’ve found out from the Berg Lab that female fruit flies can lay up to around 400 eggs. These eggs hatch within 12 to 15 hours and these can go from egg to adult in just seven days. What is more, females become receptive to courting males about 8–12 hours after emerging from the egg.

Basically, blink and you’ve got a fruit fly problem before you even know it!

how to get rid of fruit flies from your kitchen naturally

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies From Your Kitchen

Be Mindful of Where You Store Your Fruit

If you have a fruit fly infestation then an open fruit bowl isn’t always the best place to store fruit. Consider using the fridge for fruit that will store well in the fridge (beware, not all fruit likes the fridge). Fruit flies like higher temperatures, and can’t reproduce in the cold.

Do not leave cut or spoiling fruit or vegetables, fruit salads, fruit juices, jams, jellies, pickles, etc., exposed in open containers. Pop them in tubs or glass jars, and put them straight into the fridge.

Remove Rotting Fruit and Vegetables As Quickly As Possible

Rotting fruit and vegetables are ideal breeding groups for fruit flies. Be mindful of what is in your fruit bowl, and check there isn’t any spoiled fruit in the bottom of your fruit bowl.

Check vegetables such as potatoes and onions, which should be stored in cupboards, and not in the fridge. There could be one rotten potato or onion at the bottom of the bag, which would be enough to support a huge colony of fruit flies.

Keep Sides Clean

Wiping up food spills from countertops quickly, especially sugary foods like jams and ketchups and fruit juices, are vital in the fight against fruit flies.

Keep Your Compost Caddy Covered & Empty Frequently

Keeping the lid on your compost caddy is vital when you have a fruit fly infestation. Try placing something heavy on top of it, to limit any access to the fruit flies.

I recommend emptying your compost caddy regularly when you are bothered by fruit flies. I try to empty my caddy at least twice a day. Washing it out regularly is also key in the fight against the fruit fly.

How To Make a Fruit Fly Trap

If the above steps aren’t making a dent in the number of fruit flies in your kitchen, then consider this it’s time to pull out the natural traps. I find these key in how to get rid of fruit flies.

What You Need

  • An empty bottle
  • A small amount of beer, wine, or vinegar (enough to cover an inch or so of the bottom of the beer bottle)
  • One squirt of washing up liquid

Simply add some beer, leftover wine, or vinegar into an empty bottle. One with a narrow neck works best – like a beer bottle, add the washing up liquid, and Bob’s your uncle.

The alcohol or vinegar tempts the fruit flies in with its stale sweetness, and the washing up liquid soap decreases the surface tension of the liquid. When the fruit flies fly in to investigate the irresistible stale smell, the flies are immediately immersed and can’t escape.

I really hope this helps rid you of your fruit fly problem!

ps: Like this post? Try this one on how to make natural weedkiller.