October 11, 2023

Dry Cleaning vs. Home Washing: When to Trust the Professionals

When should you trust the professionals with your cherished clothing items?

Dry Cleaning vs. Home Washing: When to Trust the Professionals

When it comes to clothing care, our choices can significantly impact the lifespan and appearance of our favorite clothing items and accessories. With a range of cleaning methods at our disposal, the question often arises: when should you trust the professionals with your cherished clothing items? Whether you're carefully preserving a vintage piece, dealing with stubborn stains, or simply looking to extend the life of your favorite garments, understanding the difference between dry cleaning and home washing will help you decide the best method to clean your clothes. But first, let’s talk about what dry cleaning is!

What is dry cleaning?

Dry cleaning is a cleaning process for clothing and textiles that uses chemical solvents rather than water to remove dirt, stains, and odors. This method is used for fabrics sensitive to water or prone to shrinking or fading when placed in a traditional washer or dryer. Dry cleaning provides a gentle yet effective means of cleaning a wide range of clothing items, from delicate silk dresses to tailored wool suits.

Downside to Home Washing

Washing clothes at home can be convenient, but let's be honest—how many times have you started a load, got distracted, and had to rewash your clothes because you forgot to transfer them to the dryer? This is a common mistake that most of us have experienced. With the help of Shamrock Cleaners, you don’t have to make this mistake anymore because we offer a complimentary pickup and delivery service. Additionally, home washing, especially in top-loading machines, can lead to wear and tear on your clothes over time. Frequent washing can cause colors to fade, especially in bright or dark-colored garments. Some fabrics, like wool and cotton, are prone to shrinking when exposed to water and heat. Inexperienced stain removal attempts at home can sometimes set stains rather than remove them, making them more challenging to remove later.

When to Choose Dry Cleaning

Choosing dry cleaning over washing clothes at home is wise in specific circumstances where delicate fabrics, high-value garments, and stubborn stains require expert care.

Here's a list of clothing items and textiles that should be left to the dry cleaners:

  • Silk 
  • Lace
  • Fur
  • Leather & Suede
  • Suits & Blazers
  • Wedding Dresses
  • Coats & Outerwear
  • Vintage Clothing
  • Stained Clothing
  • Clothing with Beads or Sequins
  • Clothing with Care Labels Indicating "Dry Clean Only"

Environmental Impacts

Washing your clothes at home uses up more water, energy, and detergent, which ramps up the usage of resources. There is also the issue of microplastics from synthetic fabrics ending up in the water when you do laundry at home, which isn't great for the environment. But here's some good news! Many dry cleaners these days are going green to reduce their environmental footprint. Look for providers that use friendlier solvents like hydrocarbon or liquid CO2 instead of PERC. At Shamrock Cleaners, we're all about being a green dry cleaner because we genuinely care about keeping you and our environment safe and sound.

Signs Your Clothes Need Dry Cleaning

It's important to know when to rely on professional dry cleaning to keep your clothes in great shape. Some common signs that signal it's time for expert care include stubborn stains that won’t come out, lingering odors like smoke or mildew, delicate fabrics like silk and lace, valuable items like wedding dresses, structured garments like suits or coats and clothes with "dry clean only" labels. If you have clothes or fabrics that can’t be washed at home, visit us at Shamrock Cleaners for our expert dry cleaning services!