9 Dry Cleaning Secrets to Keep Your Clothes Clean

Getting a stain on your favourite outfit is a hassle so we're showing you how to keep your clothes clean and new, at home!

Going to the dry cleaner can be a pricey and tedious chore. Here are some tips to make the trip as stress-free as possible.

This might be the most significant lesson worth repeating: If you’re unsure how to treat a stain, hand it off to a professional. This is especially true for dry-clean-only fabrics, which might be too delicate to stand up to DIY stain remedies. Stop yourself before you try to scrub out a stain with, say, lemon juice or hairspray (which doesn’t work, by the way). So if you aren’t sure, leave it to the pros and here are some tips:

  • Mark any stains with paper or masking tape to make them easier to find. Place masking tape around or on top of the stain, or safety pin a piece of paper over the stain. This will help the cleaner locate all of the stains to treat them right away. This can also be done for areas with an odour, such as armpits, etc. If you use paper, write the type of stain and when it occurred. This will be helpful information for the cleaners as well. For example, if sugar residue was spilled on the clothes, the residue may darken as heat is applied, leaving you with a larger and more noticeable stain.
  • Check the garment for any worn or weak areas. It is helpful to point these out so that your garment isn’t returned damaged. This includes loose buttons, broken zippers, etc. Some dry cleaners have tailors or alterations available that may fix these problems as well.
  • Time is the worst thing you can give a stain. Even the simplest stain can become difficult to work with when it has time to oxidize into the garment.

Making sure you put your clothes back in the closet properly is important. Before hanging your favourite dress back up, please give it a good look to ensure you didn’t accidentally stain it. There are some secret ways that you could be damaging your clothes; here are some tips to protect your favourite pieces:

  • Avoid spraying perfumes or hairspray or putting on deodorant after you get dressed. The same goes for body lotion or sunscreen. The alcohols and oils in these stains can pull colour away when removed. It’s a chemical change that can’t be reversed — the most common spot we see is on the collar.
  • You can avoid damage from deodorant or antiperspirant by allowing it a minute or two to dry before putting a shirt on. Also, antiperspirant contains aluminum salts that can damage your clothes even more than deodorant, which relies on alcohol to keep you dry.
  • Watch out for jewelry, watches, and pocketbooks rubbing up against clothes as you wear them.

Did you know drying your clothes can cause damage? Yep. Here are some tips to keep your garments looking good.

  • Over-drying can cause colours to fade or even shrinkage or other damage. So why not try what dry cleaners do….Dry cleaners don’t tumble dry your shirts — they press them wet. It’s incredible how much more life you get out of a shirt without exposing it to a dryer.
  • We’re not about to recommend you take everything you own to the cleaners; just engage in a bit of trial and error next time you dry a load. Stop the machine earlier than you normally would, check the dryness, and adjust the timing as necessary. You might be surprised to find that your clothes can dry in less time than you thought.
  • Have you ever opened your dryer door, and it almost smells like baked goods? That’s because you’ve baked your clothes. That means they were in the heat too long.
  • Consider hanging more things to dry inside your home, or do a quick tumble dry to remove some of the moisture and then you can hang to dry. You can use an iron to press it when it is still lightly damp.

Do you like to hang your clothes outside? Here are some things to keep in mind.

  • The only thing we recommend hanging on a clothesline in the sun is white sheets and my whitest whites clothes. The sun will bleach your clothes over time. And much sooner than you think.
  • This also applies to how you store your clothes. Light can discolour the fabric, so make sure you always turn off your closet light…. Dry cleaners can actually tell when you have left it on. They can always tell because it usually affects the shoulder area most.

Finally, here are some tips for when your clothes come home from the dry cleaners.

  • The bags ensure your clothes won’t get dirty on the way home from the cleaner, but they’re not meant for storage. The plastic bags can trap moisture against your garments, which could lead to mildew, discolouring, and odours.
  • Wire hangers don’t provide the structural integrity to support heavier garments. Sweaters or silks hung on a wire hanger for a while can get marks on the shoulders that can be permanent. This is also why you’ll see your sweaters folded over hangers when you get them back from the cleaners — they do that, so they’re ready to be placed on a shelf when you get home.