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Can You Wash "Dry Clean Only" Items at Home?

Posted by David Whitehurst on May 2, 2011 8:22:00 AM

Wool sweater requires dry cleaning

Many people wonder about the importance of dry cleaning; is it really necessary?

With so many clothes, blankets, and other garments now being classified as “dry clean only,” it can seem like going to dry cleaners is a regular duty.  This is causing more and more people to attempt washing these items at home, which can be very disastrous for some.

The following is a few different items that require a dry cleaner, and what can happen if you don't follow the proper care instructions.

Down Comforters

The closest thing we'll feel to being hugged by a cloud, down comforters are often a cherished part of the sleep routine.  Unfortunately, they can also get dirty very quickly.  These items are designed for dry cleaning, and trying to wash it in a machine will ruin the feathers that create its characterizing fluffiness.  Down comforters that have been washed at home will be very lumpy, and it will be impossible to change it back to its original condition.


Wool Clothing

Unless you have bought washable wool, your garments will shrink without the skilled hands of a dry cleaner!  Do not waste this popular winter fabric by resizing it; it is worth the dry cleaning cost to uphold.



Silk is a very delicate fabric, requiring the skill of a dry cleaner to handle properly.  A washing machine will ruin the fabric by twisting it and stretching it out, while the water could also cause colors to run.  Heat is also very bad for silk, meaning the dryer, as well as many laundry wash cycle settings, would be dangerous.


The truth is, it's possible to wash some dry clean only items at home, but definitely not the way you normally wash clothes at home.  Dry cleaners specialize in hand washing and special cleaning techniques, many of which can't be done by untrained hands.  Make the commitment to go to a dry cleaner, and make the commitment to properly care for your laundry.


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