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Simple Ways To Remove Stains From Dry Clean Only Clothes

While going about everyday activities, stains are bound to happen and most times it is not practical to get your clothes dry cleaned frequently. Often, it is a matter of the time that is required to drop the clothes off at the dry cleaner. Other times, the cost of having clothes dry cleaned is very high.

The easiest dry cleaning stain removal process is to just drop it off at the dry cleaning facility. However, if you are unable to get the clothes to professional dry cleaners, you have nothing to worry about.

This article will provide you with some simple tips on how to spot clean dry clean only clothes. Before we dive into the tips, let us find out how dry cleaning actually works and what to do when you buy clothes that are labeled dry clean only.

Dry cleaning 

The concept of dry cleaning is different from laundering. Dry cleaning involves a method of cleaning stained fabrics without the use of water as a solvent. 

However, the fact that it is called “dry” does not mean that the cleaning process is an entirely dry process. Instead, it refers to a way of cleaning fabrics using some chemical solvents other than water.

This method of cleaning clothes is often applied to fabrics that are very delicate and can not be washed either by using a washing machine or by hand. It also helps to preserve the desirable qualities of the fabrics by preventing stretching and shrinkage.

The chemical solvents that are used in the dry cleaning process are not often readily available to be used at home. So, fabrics to be dry cleaned are taken to professional dry cleaners to remove stains.

These professional dry cleaning services have large machines that are used in the cleaning process, including the chemical solvents required to completely get rid of stains on the fabrics.

Dry cleaning services provide a large number of people with professional cleaning services at costs that are proportional to the quality of services that they deliver to their clients.

Once the fabrics are either dropped by clients or picked up by the dry cleaning service, the first step that they go through will be sorting. This sorting is carried out either based on the color of the fabric or the material of the fabrics.

Next, the dry cleaning stain removal stage where fabrics are treated for the stains that are found on them. The professionals are skilled and they know the exact treatment to give to any stain found on the fabrics, oil, grease, sweat, coffee stains, and more.

Coffee Stain

Coffee Stain on clothes

The clothes are thereafter loaded into the dry cleaning machine with the right amount of chemical solvent needed to get rid of stains and the machine is then turned on so that the fabrics can be cleaned by gently agitating them so as to loosen the stains and get rid of it.

After the clothes have been washed and rinsed with another clean chemical, they are removed from the machine and taken to a dryer. It might also be dried by the same machine that was used to wash the fabrics if it is a closed system.

Next, they are pressed or ironed and packaged for delivery to their respective owners. The purpose of this packaging is to prevent the clothed against any further stains that may occur.

In recent years, though, there are several dry cleaning kits that are available for use at home. These kits come with manuals on how to clean the fabrics and that makes them very easy to use. They help to minimize costs that will have otherwise been used to pay for professional dry cleaning services.

However, it is vital to keep in mind that the services rendered by these professionals can not be compared to the results that you are bound to get from the use of the dry cleaning kits. Therefore, it will be wise to only dry clean at home those fabrics that do not have tough stains on them and reserve the ones with tough stains for the professional dry cleaners who know exactly what to do about them.

Additionally, the emergence of on-demand services, including on-demand dry cleaning services has made certain house chores, such as laundry, easier to carry out. By means of an app, you will be able to have your clothes picked up at a time that is convenient for you, dry cleaned and delivered back to you without even having to break a sweat.

But, there are certain dry cleaning stain removal that do not necessarily need to be taken to the dry cleaning facility. Let us see what to do about them.

How to Spot Clean Dry Clean Only Clothes

Spot Cleaning

Spot Cleaning clothes

Spot cleaning refers to a treatment that is given to a stained fabric with the intention of cleaning the stained part of the fabric alone and not the entire cloth. There are some fabrics that can only be spot cleaned and that is because they can not be washed safely using a washing machine or hand washing.

Fabrics that have intricate designs and hand-sewn embellishments such as beads, rhinestones, and laces are often spot cleaned because doing so will remove stains from the fabric without bringing any damage to the designs.

Another possible reason for spot cleaning a piece of clothing is due to the fact that the material used in sewing the cloth can not be able to hold the dye during the washing process; and therefore, does not need to be immersed in water or any other solvent so as not to color bleed and ruin the fabric.

Spot cleaning can also be done even when you are washing a piece of fabric with water. This will help to remove some tough stains on the fabric before the actual washing process commences. It is often done to confine the stain to a particular area on the fabric and prevent it from spreading to other areas and inducing subsequent stains.

Always remember that not all fabrics can be spot cleaned. For instance, an attempt to spot clean silk will most likely make the stain worse than it is already since it will leave large blotches of stain on the fabric. Therefore, it is important that you know how to spot clean dry clean only clothes to avoid creating a bigger mess.

Applying too much of a cleaning solution, using excess water, or just simply using the wrong product to remove a stain can cause you to end up ruining your favorite piece of clothing while spot cleaning on your own. So, if you are not very familiar with the basic principles surrounding spot cleaning, it will be better to take the clothes to a professional dry cleaner to have it cleaned properly.

Professional dry cleaners will be able to detect the issue with the fabric immediately and take care of it very conveniently.

Sometimes, though, there may not be enough time to take the fabrics to the dry cleaner, so, it will be best that you learn how to spot clean dry clean only clothes even before the stains occur. Let us now examine a few steps to take that will help to eliminate stains from your fabrics as soon as they happen.

How To Remove Stains From Dry Clean Only Fabrics

Dry Clean Only

Dry Clean Only clothes

Dealing with stains on fabrics that are labeled “dry clean only” can be very risky. It is especially true with knitted and woven pieces of clothing such as wool and cashmere. Any mistake with the cleaning procedure will leave the fabric stretched and shapeless.

Learn: How to Wash and Clean Cashmere With Care

It is vital that you act quickly when stains occur because time is of the essence in terms of spot cleaning dry clean only fabrics. The earlier you take care of the stains, the easier it will be to get rid of them.

We will now look at four steps that you can take to remove stains from your fabrics as soon as they occur.

1. Check the label on the fabric

Labels are very important. The manufacturers of your garments are well aware of the need for labels and that is why they put it on the fabrics. Some people are not aware of this fact and that is why they are very quick to tear the labels out as soon as they purchase the garment.

The label provided you with a lot of information that will help you to take good care of your clothes to enable them last for a long time. It tells you about the type of material that your garment is made from, cleaning products to avoid using on the garment, ironing options, and if it is “dry clean” or “dry clean only”.

So you see, the label is like a guide that the manufacturer gives to you to help you handle your clothes correctly. Just imagine the number of clothes that are ruined on a daily basis, which would have been avoided if only the owners paid even the slightest attention to the labels.

Note that both fabrics that are labeled “dry clean” and “dry clean only” can be spot cleaned but it will require extreme carefulness. On the other hand, though, there are certain materials that you should not even attempt to spot clean on your own.

Materials like cashmere, leather, suede, and rayon should be promptly taken to the dry cleaner once they are stained. They are more experienced to handle these types of fabrics than you are.

  2. Identify stain

This step in how to spot clean dry clean only clothes is very critical in the removal of stains from fabrics. Identifying the type of stain on your clothing will give you leverage on the type of cleaning solution or product to use and how to go about it without bringing any damage to your clothes.

There are many different types of stains that we are faced with on a daily basis and it is very crucial that you learn about those stained before they occur. Below is a list of stains that are very common:

  • Oil-based stains:

Oil Stain

oil stain clothes

These are some of the most common types of stains that can be found mainly because we encounter them every single day. Most times, they are inevitable.

Oil-based stains are a little bit tricky to get rid of simply because of their tendency to spread to other parts of the fabric as quickly as possible. They also have the potential of leaving indelible marks on clothes if they are not removed quickly and efficiently.

Some common oil-based stains include lotions and body oils, petroleum, butter, mayonnaise, gels, salad dressing, lipstick, makeup, and many more.

  • Earth-based stains

Ketchup Stain

ketchup stain clothes

These stains are more commonly identified as food stains. They include a wide variety of liquid food stains that may occur at any time.

These stains are not as difficult to get rid of as the oil-based stains. They can be removed even with the most readily available solvent in the world, water.

However, before spot cleaning this type of stains, ensure that you have an idea of what you are doing to avoid turning a simple problem into a complicated one.

Tea, coffee, red wine, ketchup, juice, soda, and mud are all found under this type of stain.

  • Protein-based stains

Sweat Stain 

sweat strain clothes

Protein-based stains are inevitable. Even if there is no visible stain on the clothes, protein-based stains will surely be found on it.

The stains under this category include sweat, blood, urine, milk, meat and fish juices, eggs, vomit, and urine.

  • Ink stains

Ink Stain

ink stain clothes

A stain from the ink is one of the most difficult types of stains to remove when thinking of how to spot clean dry clean only clothes. They are very tacky and often condemn any piece of clothing that they are found on, especially if it is in large quantities.

Stains like ink from a pen and permanent markers can be found in this category. 

 3. Gather cleaning supplies 

Cleaning Supplies 

Cleaning Supplies

It is true that there are different types of stains but the products or cleaning solutions to use in removing them are almost the same. Below are the necessary items to use in spot cleaning stains on a piece of fabric.

  • An absorbent white clothes or towel. This material is used to carefully blot the stain and absorb any excess moisture. The purpose of using a white material is to ensure that no further stains occur during the process.
  • Depending on the type of stain, you may need a scraper, a knife, or even the edge of your credit card.
  • Paper towels, cotton balls or cotton swabs are also needed for miniature stains.
  • A bowl of cold water to aid the removal process.

4. Choose the right method and cleaning products

Once you have identified the type of stain that you will be dealing with, the next thing is to find a suitable procedure on how to spot clean dry clean only clothes to use as well as an appropriate cleaning solution.

Choosing the right method and products will help to eliminate the stains more efficiently. We will now examine some simple ways to clean different types of stains on a fabric

  • Scrape off any excess.

Scraping off any excess stain is the first thing that you will have to do before every other thing. Doing this will help to prevent the stain from moving from one spot to another and creating a bigger problem than the one already at hand.

You can use the blind edge of a knife or your credit card to scrape off any excess mud, jelly or lotion.

  • Removing liquid-based stains

In the removal of liquid-based stains, water alone can do the work only if you address the issue as quickly as possible.

Start by spacing the stained part of your fabric on the absorbent white cloth or towel or simply hold it under a sink.

Next, pour cold water or soda water over the spot you are trying to clean. If the stain is not removed this way, prepare a solution of equal parts of vinegar and clear dish soap.

Use a paper towel or cotton swab to dip into the solution and gently start dabbing it on the stain. You must never rub the stain as it will aggravate the situation. But you can increase your tapping motion.

Don’t forget the white towel that you placed underneath the clothing and constantly rotate it when any part of it becomes wet or change it with a dry one entirely when it is fully saturated.

Once you are done with tapping the cleaning solution onto the stain, allow it to dit on the fabric for about 20 minutes. Repeat these steps until the stains are gone and use a clean cloth or cotton ball to wipe off the solution or you can rinse and allow it to dry off completely. 

  • Removing oil-based stains

Using water alone never want to remove oil-based stains. In some cases, it might even make the stain worse. So you need a different approach when it comes to getting rid of this type of stain.

First, apply a large quantity of baking soda on the stain and tap it into the fabric using a cotton ball or a small, soft brush such as a nail polish brush. Always remember not to run the stain.

Allow the baking soda to sit on the fabric and absorb the stain for a few minutes and gently shake off any excess powder. Examine the clothing for any traces of a stain on it.

If the stain is not removed this way and is still visible, place the white towel under it and wet the fabric with cold water. Dab the stain with a small amount of citrus-based cleaning detergent.

Leave the detergent on the stain for a couple of minutes. Wipe off the detergent with a cotton swab and allow the clothing to dry, thus completing the dry cleaning stain removal process

  • Removing protein-based stains

Protein-based stains have a strong stench and so require high-quality products to get rid of both the stain and the lingering odors.

When cleaning a piece of clothing that has a protein-based stain on it, you will have to place the white cloth or towel under and wet it with cold water.

Next, you prepare a solution with 2 parts of water, 1 part of ammonia, 1 part of peroxide, and 1 part of a clear colored detergent. Use a cotton ball to tap this solution into the fabric and allow it to sit for a few minutes.

Wipe off any excess product or rinse with cold water and leave it to dry off completely. 

Always make sure that you only store clothes that are very neat and dry. Storing dirty or moist clothes can attract moths and some other insects that can damage your clothes.

  • Removing ink stains

Among all the different types of stain that can be found on fabrics, ink stains are one of the most difficult to remove.

They are best handled as soon as they occur when they are still wet. When ink stains occur, resist the urge to wipe it as the wiping motion will only push the stain deeper into the fabric and make it even more difficult to remove.

You can buy an ink removal kit and strictly follow the guidelines on how to use it.

5. Additional helpful cleaning tips

Below are extra tips that you can apply on how to spot clean dry clean only clothes and rid them of stains:

  • Alcohol can be used in the removal of a wide range of stains from fabrics. Therefore, endeavor to carry a small bottle of alcohol-based products like hand sanitizer at all times for immediate spot treatment.
  • Always bring with you a white cloth or small towel, and a handful of cotton swabs or paper towels.
  • Always remember to test any cleaning solution that you prepared for removing stains in inconspicuous areas of your clothing to know its reaction before using it directly on the stains.
  • It is often best to keep commercial stain removers on hand in case of emergency stains.
  • Endeavor to buy a home dry cleaning kit 
  • Most importantly, act very quickly when stains happen. If you do, you will succeed with dry cleaning stain removal and avoid damaging your clothes.

When Stains Are Difficult To Remove At Home

Commercial Dry Cleaning

commercial dry cleaning

Try as you may, there are still some stains that you can not remove on your own. Spot cleaning dry clean only fabrics, take note of the stains that are very difficult and leave then.

Your best shot at fully eliminating stains from your fabrics is to take them to commercial dry cleaning facilities. The professionals there can dry clean spots on the fabrics using the best products and best methods possible.

If you’re not confident about using commercial dry cleaners, you may want to go through our guide on things to consider when choosing the laundry service for you.

Remember, though, that trying to tackle tough stains on your own can only result in damaging your fabrics and that can not be compared to the amount you will pay for the services of a dry cleaner.

The professionals know the entire dry cleaning stain removal process and how to handle each fabric to make your clothes look fresh all year round.

Final Words

Stains can be frustrating at times, especially if you just got your clothes back from the dry cleaner and manage to stain it the next day.

These simple tips on how to remove stains from your dry clean only fabrics without having to visit the dry cleaning facility will help to simplify your life and reduce much stress.

Always bear in mind that when spot cleaning dry-clean-only fabrics, it is advisable to take small spots at a time and not try to clean large stained areas on the fabric and subsequently ruining your garment.


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