Monday, July 17, 2017

Dry Clean Only. A lie most of the time.

I have been slacking again on my blogging.  Having a difficult time coming up with subjects that are interesting or helpful.  I came up with this idea for a blog post after finding a 100% cotton dress with a Dry Clean Only tag.  Are you for real?  Cotton?  Seriously?  I did sell that dress, and wrote a note to the new owner explaining that I did wash this dress.  No harm done at all.  I am very careful with fabrics to begin with.  Special zip up nylon bags,  cold water, gentle detergent, delicate wash cycle, and hang to dry.  You can wash just about anything including almost all of the Dry Clean Only stuff. 

Dry cleaning fluid is bad for the environment, and actually very bad for you.  These chemicals leach into your skin as you wear the garment.  Besides, who wants to pay the bill for having clothing cleaned?  I used to pass up on anything with a dry clean tag.  Now that I have actually learned about the handling of different fibers, I wash just about everything.  Granted, some large items may be a little difficult to handle, and anything that bleeds is a real problem. 

Just about anything can be put in a bag, washed in cold water with gentle detergent on the delicate cycle, and hung to dry.  The only real exception to this is wool.  Wool does not like to be agitated.  Agitating wool equals felting.  Felting is bad.  When I read a label and it has wool listed (wool includes mohair, alpaca, and angora), I automatically hand wash these items.

 I fill a sink with room temp water, then add a little bit of wool cleaner (don't get carried away), and stir it with my hand.  Next, I push the wool garment into the water until it is saturated and sinks.  No agitation.  Do not slosh around in the water.  Any stain can be gently rubbed with the tips of your fingers.  You can also add a small drop of cleaner to that stain.  Dawn dish detergent and wool go together like peanut butter and jelly.  I allow the garment to soak for a bit.  In the next sink, I fill with the same temperature water (very important).  Don't add anything to this water.  I gently squeeze the water from the garment, and rinse it by pushing it into the clean water sink.  I just move it about ever so gently, then take the garment out and squeeze the water out.  You notice that I said squeeze and not wring.  Very important.  Wringing will stretch and ruin fiber.  At this point, you will have a garment that drips.  I like to place the garment on a folding rack placed in the bathtub.  Gently shape and let the water drip out until dry.  You can also place the item flat between two bath towels, roll tightly and the squeeze the water out.  You still have to put it on a rack to dry.  Shape the garment so that it looks nice and keeps it's shape. 

Silk and viscose can have a problem with stiffness.  After washing, you can place the item in the dryer on air dry.  NO HEAT at all.  The rolling about will soften the fabric.  I washed a Kate Spade dress and it felt like sandpaper.  Put it on air dry and it came out very soft.

Rayon is a favorite fabric now days.  The tag may say wash and dry, but this is a big mistake.  Rayon is made from trees.  That particular fabric absolutely hates heat (spandex hates heat as well).  I recommend that you treat all of your clothing with respect.  Put all soft fabrics in bags for protection, use the delicate cycle, and always hang to dry.  The only thing you should put in the dryer is your towels. 

Some rules for the laundry:

  Denim jeans ONLY wash with denim.  Turn your jeans inside out for added protection.  You do have to put them in the dryer or they will be stiff as a board.  Only put them in for 20 minutes.  Get them out and hang them up after doing a little shaking and shaping. 

Towels, wash cloths, and cotton underwear are the only things that go together.  Want to know why your clothes look bad?  You probably put a towel in with your clothes.  You can definitely put towels and cotton underwear in the dryer.

White only goes with white.  Unless you want something less than white. 

Red and all relative colors only go with same.  Obvious, but sometimes not obvious enough.

If you want your clothes to live for a decent time.  Hang everything besides towels and underwear to dry.  You can get these great folding racks that work really well.  You can also put up a tension rod across your bathtub and hang anything that won't stretch. 

Hope this article is helpful.  As always, feel free to ask questions.  I would be glad to help you out.

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