Tuesday, April 14, 2009

#46 Avoid dry cleaning like the plague

People are becoming more and more aware that the main chemical used in dry cleaning is perchloroethylene, a known carcinogen.  Why expose yourself to this?  And why pay so much money to do it?  My solution to the dry-cleaning problem is mostly to NOT OWN DRY-CLEAN ONLY CLOTHES!   Simple, isn't it?  Okay, I confess that I have a couple of very nice articles of clothing that slipped in somehow and must be dry cleaned.    But really, any mother of small children knows that it isn't worth owning nice things in the first place.  They end up covered in some sort of goo-- and the nicer the clothes, the more stuff that ends up on them, right?

There are beginning to be some greener dry cleaning options out there, unfortunately there are none locally for me.  Also, some clothing that claims that it is "dry clean only" can actually be washed in a gentle cycle and hung to dry.  I have had success with this with a few items that were hand-me-downs from my mother.  (It's a little easier to take the risk when I didn't pay for the clothes in the first place.)  

Pros: Avoiding the dry cleaners is avoiding a huge expense!   Non-dry-clean-only clothing means more practical clothing.  Staying away from carcinogens is always a good thing.

Cons: If you do want to dry clean at a "green" dry cleaners, it's bound to be more expensive.  No dry cleaning may mean limiting your clothing choices.


Maren said...


I haven't dry cleaned anything in years - including Lance's suits. I have found that just about anything can be hand washed or washed in the machine on the gentle cycle, and I've never had anything ruined.

We even skipped the dry cleaning on my wedding dress. Instead of spending all that money on having it cleaned and put into a storage box, my mom tossed it all in the washing machine set to gentle. (Except the beaded top, but luckily that was separate.) The rest was all satin and turned out immaculate! Not that I'll ever get into that dress again, but if a wedding dress can survive the wash, then most other things can, too! (Plus it saved a ton of money.)

Aaron, Julie, and Trey said...

OK I have been wondering how to clean Aaron's suits without taking them to a dry cleaner: is that a hand wash only, or can I throw it in the washing machine on gentle?