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"Dry Clean Only" (from my "what would happen if" series)

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Has anyone ever machine washed something that you're only supposed to dry clean? And what happened (did the item get ruined)?

Thanks in advance
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I do it all the time, nothing bad ever happens, i just set it to the delicate setting on my washing machine.

I hand wash dry clean only stuff often, I will say however I did wash one wool suit that had lining and it shrunk up something awful and I had to throw it out but some stuff is washable.  The dryclean dryer things are good too if its just a smelly dirty not actually dirt dirty

haha - you sound just like me!  mostly i don't buy stuff that's dry-clean only, but i have a few items, and they've all been in the machine.  nothing expensive, though.

it may lose it's shape.  don't do it if you're going to be crushed if it's wrecked ;)

I always wash "dry clean only" clothes in the washer. I just put it on delicate cycle and USE WOOLITE! That is very important. I only wash them in the washer though if it is an emergency and I really want to wear it soon after. Otherwise, I just hand-wash my "dry clean only" stuff. I think it works just fine.

It depends what the material is made of. I put lots of wool, cotton and sometimes silk that says dry clean only in the machine and it is fine. Once I washed a synthetic dress that said dry clean only by hand and it shrank in half! Had to toss that.

yeah, i stand by the "expensive" distinction (or maybe i should say the "quality" distinction).  i think a lot of manufacturers put "dry-clean only" on the label not because the fabric requires it but so that you can't complain when it falls apart.  same with a lot of "hand-wash only" and "lay flat to dry" stuff. 

When I worked in a downtown office and had to have nice dress clothes, I did it all the time. Make sure you use cold or very cool water only. I never bought Woolite though. I had lots of silk blouses and did them on gentle in cold water. I never put them in the dryer. I had a wooden rack.

If the label says "Professional Dry Clean Only" don't wash, even by hand. That's a good indication that water will ruin the fabric.

It helps if you turn the clothes inside out if you're putting them in the washer.

It helps if you turn the clothes inside out if you're putting them in the washer.

ooh - and button/zip them up!  it helps them to keep their shape and not get stretched out.

I accidently washed a silk blouse that I had to throw out afterwards  :(

But, if something is older and I no longer care what happens, I try washing it.  Some good results, some bad.

one time my ex-boyfriend left his sweater at my house and i thought i'd wash it for him and i didn't look on the tag to see the washing instructions and washed and dried it and it came out like 2 times smaller than it was :|

Thanks... I don't have much to lose, so I think I'll go for it.

Pg, I don't usually buy dry clean clothing either... I mean, microwaving a piece of fish is a hassle enough for me. And the things I do buy, I only have to dry clean about once a year since it's mostly outerwear...

This particular jacket doesn't look like it's the best quality, but I only bought it because it was on sale, so if something happens I won't be too upset. If it were a quality item, i wouldn`t even question it, and take it straight to the dry cleaners`.

The material is poly and wool... not silk or anything, so I`m okay in that sense... but the lining looks really delicate, and the filling is something wierd (some sort of coarse cottonball-like material that feels like it can form chunks... tag says poly, but I don`t think all polyester is made the same)

And I'll try Woolite.... but should i zip it the right way (as opposed to turning it inside out)... since the lining looks like it's the most delicate part of the jacket?

Anyways, now I know I at least have some chance of succeeding, and if I mess up, it won`t be such a terrible loss. Thanks for all the input!

`one time my ex-boyfriend left his sweater at my house and i thought i'd wash it for him and i didn't look on the tag to see the washing instructions and washed and dried it and it came out like 2 times smaller than it was :|`

at least you didn't have to think too long about what to get him for his birthday...

My ex husband once threw my favorite white cashmere sweater in the washing machine with the white cotton knits and washed it in hot water, then put it into the dryer.  It shrank to child size.  Since he was a compulsive label reader, I doubt that he didn't know it was marked dry clean only.  He was a spiteful snake.

I have successfully washed, by hand, gently in Woolite, silk blouses. I let them drip dry on hangers padded with a towel.   After I saw in a documetary how women in India beat their silk saris on the river rocks to clean them, I figured that silk is tougher than we think.   

It depends on the item. A lot of things seem to say 'dry-clean only' for absolutely no reason! (especially if they're polyester...) They usually wash up just fine (I use cold water and the 'gentle' cycle) and I hang them up to drip-dry rather than risking them in the tumble-dryer. I melted the mesh embroidery inserts on a brand new blouse when we first moved into the apartment, because I didn't realise that it couldn't take the heat in the dryer!

Do not use Woolite on wool items.  Despite the name, it is no longer formulated for wool.  Use a dish detergent like Dawn or Fairy Liquid.  Make sure it's detergent rather than soap as soap is harsher on wool.  It's not *horrible* if you do use Woolite once, but I don't use it for any of my hand knit items as I want them to last as long as possible.


I machine wash almost everything, including a "dry clean only" suit jacket I have.  I always use the most gentle setting available, wash and rinse in the same temperature water (hot wash/cold rinse will be more likely to shrink it).  Then I either tumble dry on the lowest heat setting until almost dry and lay flat to finish, or I just lay flat or hang to dry if I don't think it will handle the dryer.

I knit a wool hat for my boyfriend and after the winter I threw it into the wash (since I made it, you'd think I'd know the care instructions, but sometimes I'm not that smart) - it became felted (which is great when you do it on purpose, not so great otherwise) - I think I actually like it better now (I had used two colors, and now they are all mashed together quite nicely) - but it shrank some, and is a little tight.

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