Treading Lightly
Treading Lightly

Alternatives to dry cleaning

When I buy clothes I buy them with the intention of wearing them for at least the next 5 years. I invest in pieces that will last and I get them tailored so I love the way they fit. So when an item returned from the dry cleaners completely stained, despite going in in perfect condition, it’s safe to say I was furious.

alternatives to dry cleaning, how to wash dry cleaning at home, jcrew strapless dress

For the past few years I have either bought clothes that do not have to be dry cleaned or tried to find alternative ways to clean them myself to reduce the amount of dry cleaning I had. Not only is dry cleaning bad for the environment, it makes me nervous that they bathe my clothes in chemicals and then I wear them against my skin all day (especially since the chemicals are believed to be carcinogenic). But for delicate pieces that I was afraid to tackle on my own, I would get them cleaned. I clearly paid the price this time. My beautiful, tailored dress came back covered in blue stains and is no longer cream like it used to be.

Alternative to dry cleaning, jcrew strapless dress

So from now on, I will follow the incredible advice of The Laundress, and safely wash everything at home. And whatever they say I can’t wash won’t find it’s way into my closet. They have not once lead me astray and my clothes look great (and lets face it, who wants their clothes to be constantly costing them money to wear them? Cleaning them at home saves a lot of money!). I use regular bar soap (leftovers from hotel stays or a plain castile soap bar) and my homemade laundry soap to wash most items, but I did splurge for their nontoxic wool and cashmere wash as well as their stain brush.

Recently I washed my grimy, “dry clean only” peacoat and it came out looking new. Now I wash silk, wool, and just about everything else in my closet at home. The first wash is always a little scary (especially when my mom washed her “dry clean only” white patterned dress that has a deep purple lining), but not once have I had any failures.

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