Let’s face it: Taking clothes to the dry cleaner is expensive and inconvenient. I’d wager the majority of us have taken a look at that “dry-clean only” label and wondered, What would happen if I were to hand wash this blouse instead? Well, in some cases, you can.
Most manufacturers are only required to list one way to clean a garment. If the tag says “dry-clean only,” obey it. If it says “dry-clean,” that means that is the recommended method, not the only method.
Unless the label suggests otherwise, always bring silk, acetate, velvet, wool, and taffeta items to the dry cleaner. Cotton, linen, cashmere, polyester, acrylic, and nylon can usually be hand washed at home with a mild soap, like Woolite Delicates ($5, amazon.com). Just be sure to run a test on a hidden seam first to see how the fabric reacts with the detergent.
Note: Before you wash anything with beading, sequins, and the like, make sure they are sewn on (you’ll see stitches, not glue).