We received a question about a designer dress with a care label that says to "Spot Clean Only." This is a common problem that consumers encounter, and not just on designer dresses.
Here is the question we received from Elaine:
"I purchased a lovely Adrianna Papell dress that can be neither laundered nor dry cleaned. It has a beaded decorative pin at the neck that would crumble I'm sure. Could you suggest what I might use to freshen it. Just needs something for under the arms (I wore it on a warm evening)."
Why Does The Care Label Specify "Spot Clean Only?"
Elaine probably had it right when she identified the beaded decorative pin. Pins like this often prevent an otherwise dry cleanable dress from being cleaned (other than through Spot Cleaning). Subjecting the dress to normal dry cleaning agitation can damage the pin and the pin can damage the dress. Sometimes the pin can be removed and the dress otherwise cleaned with a normal dry cleaning process.
But sometimes, the dyes in the garment may not withstand a normal dry cleaning process with any dry cleaning formula available to the dry cleaning industry. I'm not sure why any manufacturer would design a garment that cannot be dry cleaned or wet cleaned, but it happens often.
Ric Pevey, our General Manager at Champion Cleaners in Birmingham, Alabama and a Certified Garment Care Specialist, gave Elaine our response. This is an approach DIY Cleaning Solution for Spot Clean Only garments, especially for garments that aren't really dirty...when they just need a little freshening up:
If No Stain Is Present
If the fabric has no apparent stains, manipulate the fibers using a fabric sheet (such as Bounce). This should help freshen the dress. This method does not remove stains but it does help absorb the odor and will give you at least another opportunity to wear the dress again.
If Stain Is Present
If the dress has stains, test an inconspicuous area with water and woolite mix to see if the dye in the dress can retain it's color with this mix. If successful, use the mix on the area needing freshening. Then let the dress air dry. Once dry, use the dryer sheet to manipulate the fabric needing freshening.
If you have a garment needing cleaning and the care label allows Spot Clean Only, take it to your professional dry cleaner and discuss the best way to clean the garment. Many dry cleaners will not clean the garment without a waiver of liability. But it the garment cannot be worn again without a proper cleaning, you don't have much at risk.
On Site Cleaning = Access To Professional Dry Cleaning Management
At Champion Cleaners we do our dry cleaning and laundry on site. This gives you access to professional dry cleaning management in Vestavia Hills, Hoover and Calera, all with Certified Garment Care Professional credentials.