If your wardrobe includes a multitude of garments labeled "Dry Clean", you might be tempted to save a few dollars by dry cleaning at home using one of the kits available on the market. But do the at-home dry cleaning kits work, and if so, what benefits does professional dry cleaning offer?
Dry Cleaning at Home Does Cannot Compare
New York magazine published an article looking at whether or not dry cleaning kits work. The results of testing found that at-home dry cleaning kits are cheaper and work to freshen clothing, but "none of the kits trumped a professional dry cleaner."
Other studies testing the effectiveness of dry cleaning kits resulted in similar conclusions. Dry cleaning at home cannot compare to professional dry cleaning.
Not surprising. As the Dry Cleaning & Laundry Institute states, "professional dry cleaners are full-service clothing care specialists." They can remove most stubborn stains without damaging your garments in the process. They can make alterations to your clothing, repair loose buttons, and give your garments a clean, crisp and wrinkle-free "like-new appearance."
Simply put, professional dry cleaners are experts at caring for your clothes.
What Dry Cleaning at Home Can & Cannot Do
At-home dry cleaning kits can work well for removing odors and freshening your clothing, although some may leave a strong perfume smell. Dry cleaning at home can also remove some light stains, but does not work well on most stains, especially ground-in soils or oil-based stains, nor do you get the clean, pressed look professional dry cleaning provides.
If you do decide to try dry cleaning at home, do your research. Home dry cleaning kits are considered safe for durable fabrics, but not for materials such as silk or leather. You also risk damaging your garment during the stain removal process. If you ruin a garment using one of these kits, you likely will not be able to get the garment replaced.
Leave Heavy Stain Removal to the Experts
Keep in mind that if a stain remains after treatment and you place the garment in the dryer, the heat could set the stain permanently. Rather than putting the garment in the dryer, take it to a professional cleaner. Stain removal is a science and professional dry cleaners know the right chemicals and processes to use for specific types of stains on specific types of fabrics.
The type of stain determines the chemical used when attempting to remove it. The more your dry cleaner knows about how the stain was created, the better the chance they have of removing it. Some items require treatment more than once to effectively remove the stain. Other stains may need more aggressive treatments in hopes of removing the stain. If that is the case, Tide Cleaners will obtain permission from the customer prior to additional treatments.
Don't Try to Dry Clean These at Home
Do not attempt to dry clean leather, suede or fur at home. You should also leave coats, blazers, suits, tuxedos and wedding gowns to the professionals. And, if you have any other garment or textile you would be upset about damaging, send it to a professional dry cleaner.