Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Say NO to dry-cleaning!

Silk is undoubtedly one of the nicest fabrics to have in your closet. It can be worn in the summer, the fall, the winter, anytime really. It gives a really polished and sophisticated and luxurious feel to any outfit.

But what I don't love about silk is the fact that wearing it, makes me sweat. And sweating, means I have to wash it more often than I would say, a pair of jeans. And washing silk usually means dry-cleaning silk.

I called around a couple places in town this weekend to find out exactly how much they were charging for dry-cleaning silk and I was really shocked. Most places the average cost for dry cleaning a silk blouse is $11, for a silk dress it's around $25. Here I was with a bag FULL of things to dry clean. I had five silk tops, two dresses and a pair of silk shorts.

If you do the math, thats OVER $100 just to clean clothes that I've already probably overpaid for anyways. I don't know about you, but the thought of paying $100 to be able to wear my silk clothes again just makes me shudder. I don't have $100 to spend on CLEANING something. So my clothes sat in their dry-cleaning bag, untouched. The days turned into weeks, the weeks turned into months and I am still no closer to wanting to get any of this junk dry-cleaned.

So, sick and tired of seeing this dry cleaning bag gather dust in my room and refusing to spend $100 on something like this. I consulted a fabric, sewing and knitting expert, (I texted Charles' Mum) asking her to help me with handwashing some of these dreaded silk things. She sent me to a couple links that talked about how to best go about it. And from those links I kind of created my own version of hand-washing.

I will say though, before anyone tries this, do not hold me responsible if your silks get ruined! I am a firm believer that clothing has a mind of it's own and if it wants to react badly to something. It will. ;)

Most of the tutorials I saw online suggested using detergents like Woolite. Since I'm cheap, I just used a TEENY TINY amount of Tide in some bowls in my kitchen. For some reason the idea of washing clothes in sinks just upsets me. No matter how many times I clean the sink, it will always be the place where I spit my toothpaste into.

I had one bowl full of my tiny amount of detergent and lukewarm water, and a second bowl for rinsing just full of water.

Here is the most expensive pile of clothes EVER. Over $100 just to CLEAN all this. BALONEY.

So after I swooshed around one of the shirts in the detergent bowl for a little bit, I rinsed it off in the rinsing bowl a bit. You kind of have to be careful because sometimes the colours will run which will freak you out at first, because the water in the bowls will turn colours, but if the blouse or dress is a solid colour, I don't think it's an issue. Or at least, it wasn't an issue with my stuff.

After the rinsing was done, I would put the shirt on a clean towel on my dining room table and just kind of roll it up like a flap-jack! (I don't know if anyone else ate flap-jacks as a kid, but they're like really thin pancakes that you roll up)

A flap-jack with a really expensive silk shirt lining.
They also said in most of the websites I saw, that you shouldn't hang your silk in the sun because it can damage it. So I hung all my items in my creepy poorly-lit bathroom!

My results were pretty good. Washing my stuff this way got the job done and cost about 1/100th of what I would have had to pay at the dry cleaners. I think when I do it again I'll probably add a little vinegar to the mix. I've been told by several people that vinegar is like the be-all end-all miracle cleaner. So I will just have to try that!

Do you have any tips for cleaning "dry clean only" stuff??!?!!?!


  1. Vinegar also "sets" your colors from "running" . Always wash new jeans with vinegar rinse first.

    As to the dry cleaning.... great job for silks but NEVER try it for rayon. I once accidently washed a size 12 rayon suit and it cameout a size 3. Boy, was I mad!!! lol

    1. Ahhhh Rayon is the worst!! Once I had a Rayon dress, and stupid me I put it in the washing machine. I had to wear it as a shirt after that. :S

  2. i usually avoid buying stuff that say dry clean only just because i know its a hassle to care for it and since its so bad for the environment. =/

    Glass of Fashion

  3. Thank you for this post! I avoid dry cleaning as much as possible, but sometimes it just has to be done. I am going to give this a try!

    1. I would try washing your stuff in a little bit of vinegar and water first! My friend Hannah swears this is a miracle!!! I'm going to try it this week :)


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