How do we know if something requires dry cleaning? Sometime a garment is labelled dry clean only; sometime there is no obvious label and individuals must decipher symbols.
DRY CLEAN ONLY is fairly self-explanatory. Washing by convention methods, even once, will damage the fabric, often beyond repair.
DRY CLEAN is sometimes the preferred method. An item labelled this way can probably be cleaned by conventional methods, but we don’t guarantee it. Dry cleaning may mean the garment will last much longer. If the item is expensive we strongly recommend dry cleaning.
If there is no label, possibly because it has been removed, then the type of fabric should be a good indication of what method to use. Silk, satin, and velvet are almost always better kept with dry cleaning. Cotton, nylon and polyester are fine for conventional machine washing with detergent. Wool varies; loose fitting cardigans and pullovers can be washed with water that isn’t too hot; any heat will cause shrinkage, so hot dryers cannot be used. Any wool that is part of a shaped garment, like a suit, should be dry cleaned, especially if it is mixed with another material. Dry cleaning will allow the suit to keep its shape; conventional cleaning will cause the garment to age prematurely.
Items that are of a mixed fabric type are sometime subject to problem shrinkage. This is most noticeable when the different materials shrink at different rates, causing the garment to loose shape.
Any suits or dresses with linings, embroidery, glued items or delicate trimmings should be dry cleaned, unless there are a manufacturer’s instructions that say otherwise.
A circle around a letter on the label means dry clean only. The letter, usually P, F, or A indicates the type or dry cleaning required.
A cross put through a circle means DO NOT dry clean. This is relatively rare.
If in doubt about any item ask dry cleaning, Chatswood.