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  1. #1
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    to dry clean or not to dry clean, that is the question.

    i have a sweater that is 75% nylon, 20% angora, and 5% lambswool. must i really dry clean this garment? or can i handwash it or put it in a cold water, gentle cycle?

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  3. #2
    Senior Member
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    I hardly ever dry clean my clothes and they're all fine; gentle cycle with some Woolite in cold water works fine. Or you could use Dryel, which can be found alongside the detergents. You just throw your clothes in the Dryel bag with the little cleaning cloth and put everything in the dryer for a half an hour and they come out nice and clean.

  4. #3
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    The materials themselves don't require dry cleaning. But sometimes they have a dye or whatever that can't take regular cleaning. Most likely the manufacturers just want to be on the safe side though, so they put a dry cleaning label on it so no one can complain if the garment is ruined in the wash...

    I had a merino wool cardigan that said Dry Cleaning Only. Bah. I hand washed it and the only thing that happened was that the water turned a little dark. But it didn't really change the colour of the cardigan.

    I also have a pleated skirt that is supposed to be dry cleaned, presumably so it will stay, umm, pleated. I machine wash it all the time.

    So in general, no, but it depends on how attached you are to the sweater. :-)

    ***ETA: if you do decide to wash it yourself, handwashing might be a better idea than machine washing though. Less chance of felting it (although the wool content is low).

  5. #4
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    What does "felting it" mean, teagrrl?

  6. #5
    Senior Member
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    you know when you machine wash a wool sweater and it shrinks and gets all dense and unwearable? that's also called "felting". technically, it's actually "fulling", but a lot of people call it "felting". the fibers in the wool mesh together and make the garment shrink. most animal fibers will felt when exposed to hot water, soap, and agitation.

    i handwash most of my "dry clean only" clothes in cool water with my shampoo or a little dish soap. woolite is actually really bad for fibers (it coats them with residue) so i don't use it. your sweater should be fine handwashed. the only things that really actually need to be dry cleaned are anything made with acetate, and things like overcoats.

  7. #6
    Senior Member
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    Dec 2005
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    florida's nature coast
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    I'm with you guys, I don't dry clean, not only is it another errand to run, it's way TOXIC!!!

    I would handwash the sweater in cold water with a very mild detergent, certainly not woolite, look at the ingredients, grody! There are lots of gentle washing soaps that are good for us out there and they smell delicious!!

  8. #7
    Senior Member
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    los angeles county, CA
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    I would watch out more for machine dryers than for the water washings. DON'T machine dry anything labelled dry clean only!!!!

  9. #8
    Senior Member
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    San Francisco
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    here's my quick and dirty list:

    i would NOT machine wash:
    -anything silk
    -anything with lots of beadwork, lace trim, silk ribbons, etc.
    -anything with a lot of structure or a lining (ie, most jackets, pleated skirts, pants with linings, formal dresses)
    -anything wool that i am super attached to

    i would handwash wool with eucalan which does not require rinsing. for beading, lace, etc, i would handwash with a dye-free detergent. silks i would likely dryclean, depending on the finish. and suits, jackets, lined stuff, i would dry clean.

    i have synthetic formal dresses that i toss in the wash on cold, gentle, and in a sweater bag. i pretty much air-dry everything in my wardrobe. and i wash almost everything except my most formal clothes, and lined pants, which don't get cleaned very often at all.

    i'm pretty sure companies are obligated by law to only put ONE method of care on their labels. the general standard my friends use is when something says "dry clean", it's washable, when it says "dry clean only" i would tend to dry clean it or use extreme care when washing.

  10. #9
    Senior Member
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    I love that Mitch Hedberg bit "This shirt is dry clean only, you know what that means? Never been washed."

  11. #10
    Senior Member
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    down by the bay
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    I would run my fingers around the inside edges of the washing machine to look for things that may snag the fabric - I lost two woolish sweatershirts to snagging machines.

    I love Dryel - even if there are some fumes in the house, it's gotta be better than what comes out of the bag. Plus, I can't believe the prices for dry cleaning either - a dress cost me $15 once, and it wasn't anything fancy!


 
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