While most people know what dry cleaning is, many don’t know when they should use the service. Both traditional in-home laundering and dry cleaning are used to clean clothing and other items. However, unlike traditional laundering, dry cleaning is the process of washing clothes without water. While both cleaning processes have their advantages and disadvantages, is one better than the other?

Pros and Cons of Dry Cleaning and Traditional Laundering

Dry cleaning is generally better for clothing and delicate items because it is less harsh than traditional laundering. Dry cleaning avoids the abrasive agitator in a washing machine. It rarely causes shrinkage of delicate fabrics that a dryer can cause. Dry cleaning also helps deep clean clothing and can get out tough soils and stains that traditional washing cannot. When clothes are dry cleaned, they come out crisp and fresh. With traditional washing and drying, clothes can be rumpled and wrinkled, creating a need for ironing. However, traditional laundering is generally less expensive and can be better for certain materials.

What Should I Dry Clean?

Fabrics such as cotton, spandex, polyester, and nylon are okay to wash with traditional laundering practices and do not need to be dry cleaned. When deciding what needs to be dry cleaned, always check the material’s label. Items with labels that read “dry clean only” should be brought to a dry cleaner. Items made of wool, silk, velvet, taffeta, acetate, or blends of rayon, wool, and silk should all be dry cleaned. Clothing that is lined, pleated, or has fabric prone to shrinking should be professionally cleaned. Suede, leather, and garments with special details, such as beading, are also recommended to be dry cleaned. If your clothing bleeds color when wet, dry cleaning can help preserve the color and your clothing item.

What Method is Better?

What it comes down to when deciding if dry cleaning or machine washing is better, is the specific item. Both methods of cleaning have their pros and cons, but they vary greatly depending on the material of the item. Take your time to read the labels on your garments. If the label says “dry clean” or “dry clean only” follow those instructions. If there is no label, base your decision on the material type. Consider the type of stains, if any, in the fabric. Note any pleating or details on the item. Dry cleaning is much safer for many specialty items, such as suits, but isn’t always necessary for everyday items, like cotton t-shirts. If you are ever unsure of what to do, ask a professional, like one of our staff members at Gristy’s Cleaners.

We are always happy to help and answer questions so feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you have. To learn more about dry cleaning, read our other blogs and visit our services page. Gristy’s Cleaners is committed to providing you with ready to wear, cleaned garments in a timely matter. We are dedicated to helping you look your best!