You fall in love with a shirt only to flip the tag and see the dreaded words, "Dry-Clean Only." Instead of leaving it at the store, bring your new favorite item of clothing home with you without fear of dealing with the dry cleaner. Along with being a big bother to drop off clothes and then pick them up, dry-cleaning isn't the best for the environment — and getting clothes professionally laundered adds up!
Check the Material
Start by figuring out what type of material you're working with. Most store-purchased clothing items are already colorfast, but it's always smart to do a quick test to double-check hues won't fade or bleed before hand washing. And it's a good idea to spot treat with a gentle stain remover before giving a gentle cleaning.
How to Hand Wash
After you know what type of material you're working with, you can safely hand wash these items at home:
- Cashmere: Your lovely cashmere sweaters can be hand washed with warm water and a gentle cleaner, like The Laundress's Wool and Cashmere Shampoo ($19). Hand wash in warm water, then dip in fresh cold water until the clothing item is free of soap. Cover a countertop with a soft, dry towel and lay the cashmere item flat to air-dry. Avoid wringing, rolling, or hanging, which will stretch the material.
- Wool: Just like cashmere items, wool clothing can be hand washed, or machine washed on gentle in cold water for a cleaning when needed. Just like washing cashmere, lay flat and avoid hanging or wringing.
- Leather: Use a damp cloth to clean jackets or pants, but avoid being too aggressive while cleaning, which can damage the surface.
- Silk: Silk is a hard material to colorfast, so you might experience some fading while hand washing. Wash with a mild, natural soap, such as castile soap, in room-temperature water. Let the item soak for a few minutes and then lightly agitate with hands. Rinse with clean water, then hang dry on a padded hanger.
Try an At-Home Dry-Cleaning Kit
If you're still concerned about actually dunking your beloved clothing item in water, you can pick up a dry-cleaning kit ($80) that works with items that have linings, like business suits and velvet jackets. Follow the directions, and you're on your way to refreshed clothes.