Can I dry clean using my dryer?
September 11, 2013 10:50 AM   Subscribe

I have a couple of clothing pieces that I usually take to a dry cleaner. After getting a dryer, however, I'm wondering if I could somehow clean them at home instead...

The pieces are basically suits and sweaters, usually made of natural materials (cashmere, wool) though there are a few polyester items as well. I've searched online, but only find information about stained/smelly clothing, and my clothes aren't really either. What I want is just to "freshen" them up (nice scent, less wrinkles, etc.).

It seems like the best way to do this would be via steam, but my dryer is not a steam one and I don't have a personal steamer. Is there another alternative that won't damage my clothes (e.g. dryer sheets + low heat in dryer), or am I just going to have to get a steamer?
posted by Sakura3210 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Dryer sheets will deposit oil marks on your clothing. to that.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:52 AM on September 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

Have you tried Dryel?
posted by mefireader at 10:52 AM on September 11, 2013

Dryel is brilliant.
posted by meerkatty at 10:53 AM on September 11, 2013

FWIW, I've used Dryel with success, in the sense that I did it and nothing bad happened and I guess my clothes were cleaner. I have virtually no ability to discern whether such things are cleaner, beyond "hey, this no longer has gravy on it," so I'm not much of a judge.
posted by waldo at 10:58 AM on September 11, 2013

A hand steamer is worthwhile, as well, though. You'll find that you can freshen up your dry clean items with the steamer rather than taking them to the cleaners or Dryel-ing them.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:58 AM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

For woolens, you can soak the garment in cool/lukewarm water and wool wash (do NOT agitate the water), roll it up in a towel to get the water out (don't wring it), and lay flat to dry rather than dry cleaning or steaming. Woolens are naturally antibacterial so you don't need to freshen them up too often -- maybe a couple of times per season if they're getting worn often.
posted by pised at 11:10 AM on September 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

I use Woolite's Dry Cleaner's Secret. It is basically just like using dryer sheets, very easy, and I have been pleased with the results & savings. I looked into Dryel as well, but it seems to require more work, and I'm lazy (err...efficient :).
posted by xiaolongbao at 12:30 PM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I handwash my sweaters in cold water with Woolite and lay them flat to dry (I usually do it in a bucket in the sink, lightest colors first and ending with reds/black (but you can change the water if it gets yucky). Agitate very lightly, let soak for a few minutes, agitate again, rinse. Do not rub at all, especially not fabric-on-fabric - that's how you end up with pills. I only take sweaters to the dry-cleaners if they have a stain (they actually smell nicer after being washed for real).

Suits - the thing that's hard to do at home is the starching that makes them look crisp and professional. I still get them dry-cleaned. Ironing a nice suit makes me nervous.
posted by amaire at 12:42 PM on September 11, 2013

I may be less particular than some, and none of these items were bought at full price, but I wash my cashmere and wool sweaters in the washing machine on cold/handwash - with my favorite ones tied individually inside pillowcases for extra protection - and it works just fine. Every now and then I have had one that gets an overall slight fuzziness, but this hasn't happened to any of the ones I like best. I have a nice wooden drying rack that I lay them on to dry and that works great, since they aren't heavy with wetness as they would be with hand washing, which is when drying them flat is so important.

However, I am neither personally fancy nor employed in a dressed-up professional situation, so the ease and cheapness of doing it this way fully balances out for me the possibility of damage or alteration to any one garment.
posted by sumiami at 6:41 PM on September 11, 2013

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