How to dry clean at home

Have you ever racked up an outrageous dry cleaning bill? Laundry expenses can balloon quickly, especially if you have lots of “dry clean only” items. Doing laundry doesn’t have to get expensive when you know how to dry clean at home. The process is simple, and you’ll need just a few things to get your clothes spotless in no time. That said, we’ve put together a handy guide for dry cleaning in the comfort of your own home.

What you’ll need

To start dry cleaning at home, you’ll need to prepare the following:

  • Dryer
  • Dry cleaning sheets
  • Dry cleaning bag
  • Stain remover
  • Clothing items 
  • Steamer (optional)

If you’re wondering where to get the products listed above, there are dry cleaning kits that you can purchase in a pinch. These kits typically include a stain remover, dry cleaning sheets, and a reusable dry cleaning bag. Once you have all the items with you, you’re ready to learn how to dry clean at home.

Start by removing stains on your clothes

The first step is to use the stain remover to prepare your clothing for the dryer. Liquid-based formulas and stain removing sticks both work equally well. Stain removal is necessary because unremoved stains may spread in the dryer and ruin your clothes.

To start, test the stain remover on a small spot on each of your clothing items. You’ll want to make sure that the formula is compatible with your garments and won’t cause any discoloration. Stain removers contain powerful chemicals, so use only a small amount to preserve the quality of your clothes. If you have particularly sensitive items, you’ll need to take extra care. Go over each item and clear them of all visible stains before proceeding.

Get your clothes ready for dry cleaning

With your clothes free of stains, you can then put them inside a dry cleaning bag. Each bag can only fit several items at once, so don’t try to cram all your items inside. The items need room to breathe and absorb the cleaning agents properly. Like normal washing, pick through the colors of your garments, and put similarly-colored items in one load.

Then, place a dry cleaning sheet inside the dry cleaning bag. When the sheet makes contact with heat from the dryer, it will release various chemicals and fragrances. The reaction will also create a small amount of steam, minimizing wrinkles and imparting a fresh scent on your clothes.

Begin dry cleaning

Set the dry cleaning bag inside your dryer. Switch the machine to its manual setting, and use low to medium heat for 20-30 minutes. When dry cleaning at home, clothes do not need to stay inside the dryer for a long time. Take your garments out as soon as the cycle is over.

Finally, take your clothes out of the dry cleaning bag. The result should be pristine and wrinkle-free clothing. You may store the clothes as you normally would, or follow some extra steps to make them even better.

Finishing touches

This is an optional step, but if you want to go all-out, it might be worth investing in a handheld steamer. A steamer removes even the tiniest wrinkles, and it’s gentler than ironing your clothes, too. Whereas an iron flattens out fabrics with abrasive heat, a steamer merely relaxes garments. The result is clothing that looks better and lasts longer.

Learning how to dry clean at home can certainly be a challenge, but the upsides are too good to pass up. You could save money in the long run, and your clothes may retain their quality for a longer period of time. The next time you’re headed to the dry cleaners, consider doing it at home instead.

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