DIY Dry Cleaning

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If you’re anything like me you dread seeing “dry clean only” on clothing. I don’t wear a ton of things that are dry clean only so by the time I have enough stuff to justify a trip to the cleaners, months have gone by. Also, it’s expensive and who knows what chemicals they’re using on your clothes. Even when they say “organic” I’m not sure it really is. And, with 2 kids and all the business that comes with them and their schedules, I often drop off the clothes and forget about them for months. I’ll be looking for a certain pair of pants and when they’re no where to be found it’ll hit me: I took them to the dry cleaners! Inevitably it’s early in the morning and the dry cleaners are closed and there’s no way I’m getting those pants for another 3 months–till the next time I go looking for them.  So now I just do my clothes at home, on the cheap!

DIY dry cleaning | The Quinntessential Mommy

Dry cleaning doesn’t actually mean your clothes aren’t getting wet. (Bet you didn’t know that!) It just means they aren’t immersed in water–hence the dry part. But dry cleaners do use a liquid mixture of chemicals to clean your clothes. So why can’t you do that at home with stuff you already have? Well, you can!

Cheap & Easy DIY Dry Cleaning


You Will Need:
  1. Spray Bottle
  2. Your favorite liquid laundry detergent (colorless is best)
  3. water
  4. clean white towel (a washcloth is perfect for this, or a baby burp cloth)
  5. dryer
  6. pillowcase (optional)
How To:

1. First, mix one tablespoon of the liquid laundry detergent with 1 1/4 cups of water. Pour into the spray bottle.

2. Then, gather the clothes you would like to dry clean. Look at each one carefully, identifying spots and stains.

3. Lightly spray the water/detergent mixture on any spots and use a clean white towel to break up the spots.

4. Then very lightly mist the rest of the garment with the detergent mixture. It should be barely damp.

5. Put the clothes in the dryer for 15 minutes on the “Fluff” setting (no heat). If you have an item that is very delicate, I recommend putting it in pillowcase to keep it safe. Check your things after the time is up. If they are still damp, dry them for a little longer. You can also put the dryer on the lowest setting for a few minutes, but keep a close eye on your clothes so nothing shrinks.

This method is really simple and will leave your clothes clean and fresh quickly and easily.  You’ll likely have to iron some of your garments after you’re done though so I don’t recommend it for large batches of, say, dress shirts–unless you LOVE to iron 🙂 . This is really best for those few things you have in your closet that need dry cleaning every so often. And the best part is that it’s SO inexpensive. One small spray bottle of your “solution” will last throughout quite a few garments!

Have a favorite laundry hack? Share it in the comments!

Photo Credit: Jamison Hiner

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  • Reply Keisha Gardner

    Great money saving idea! Sounds simple, too. Thanks for sharing!

    1-05-15 at 8:19 am
    • Reply Krista

      So cheap, right? Let me know if you try it!

      1-05-15 at 10:49 am
  • Reply Melissa Carrier (@Jemstaa)

    Thanks for sharing this! I’m exactly like you when it comes to dry cleaning… I’ll always avoid it if I can! Will have to try your method out!

    1-05-15 at 8:39 am
    • Reply Krista

      Dry cleaning is prob the errand I hate most! LOL Let me know if you try it!

      1-05-15 at 10:49 am
  • Reply

    Thanks for these great tips. I have many clothes that recommend dry cleaning but I hate adding any extra errands in to my life.

    1-05-15 at 9:12 am
    • Reply Krista

      Me too–it’s so hard to get out of the car with 2 kids for a 2 second errand!

      1-05-15 at 10:50 am
  • Reply Alana

    I have a mini mountain of stuff awaiting dry cleaning. I cannot wait to try this once I get a new spray bottle today. Is it weird that I’m excited? I’m actually excited!!!

    1-05-15 at 9:24 am
    • Reply Krista

      I was so excited to try it too! And I was also surprised that dry cleaning isn’t really DRY. LOL Are we laundry nerds yet?

      1-05-15 at 10:50 am
  • Reply Lauren

    This is great for my casual jackets I wear to work.. I hate shelling out 8 bucks every single time I wear them.. when prob a little freshening up would do! I am going to try this!

    1-05-15 at 9:38 am
    • Reply Krista

      Yes it’s PERFECT for that! Let me know how it goes!

      1-05-15 at 10:52 am
  • Reply Tammi

    Great time and money saving tip! No excuses to clean dry clean-only now. Definitely scheduled this for Pinterest!

    1-05-15 at 12:03 pm
  • Reply JoAnn

    I honestly had no idea how easy this could be. I’ll be trying it out with a sweater I have in a pile waiting for the moment I can actually bring it to the dry cleaners 🙂

    1-05-15 at 12:16 pm
  • Reply Traci@tracesoffaith

    I always wondered what special cleaning dry cleaners did. I’ve been guilty of just washing things anyway and crossing my fingers. Thanks for the how to!

    1-05-15 at 1:04 pm
  • Reply Holly Marie

    Hooray for an easy DIY dry cleaning post! I have a pile of holiday clothes that read “dry cleaning only” and actually wanted to Pinterest this. So glad I found this helpful post! My laundry room is covered…

    1-05-15 at 6:38 pm
  • Reply Tricia

    This is AWESOME! I hate having to go to the dry cleaners. Pinning!

    1-06-15 at 11:36 am
  • Reply Drama Queen's Momma

    Great tip! I HATE ironing. I would rather throw something away than iron it, so I will definitely be following the “only do a couple things at a time” rule! LOL

    1-06-15 at 6:44 pm
  • Reply Shambray

    I am so excited to try this! I dread going to the dry cleaners too. Even though they are only a few blocks away. Thank you so much for sharing.

    1-09-15 at 12:55 pm
  • Reply 14 Blog Posts to Help You Save Money - The Love Nerds

    […] DIY Dry Cleaning | The Quintessential Mommy […]

    1-12-15 at 9:05 am
  • Reply Karren Haller

    Oh how nice, I love this tip, I think it would be appreciate on my Friday Feature Linky party, if you would like to share, I would love to have you stop by!! I dont like the errand either!

    Have a great weekend! Karren

    3-13-15 at 8:53 am
  • Reply Nikki @ Growing Up Mom

    This is a great idea, I used to use Dryel back when I had to wear suits. Luckily, I don’t need to do this as often anymore. However, this is a great trick for those times I still need to dry clean. The ironing however, that I have never really done, and don’t forsee doing in future, so we’ll have to see how this works out.

    3-13-15 at 4:43 pm
  • Reply Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai

    I love cheap and easy tricks that save me money! This is a fantastic tip. Thanks for Co-Hosting at the #HomeMattersParty – you are AWESOME! Have a great weekend! 🙂

    Life With Lorelai

    3-13-15 at 6:49 pm
  • Reply Suzie

    Ok this is super information. I have to pin this to keep so I know how in future! Thanks! Now following you from the meet up monday 🙂 Love your blog

    3-27-16 at 8:54 pm
  • Reply Victoria @DazzleWhileFrazzled

    Great tips! I too dread buying clothes with dry cleaning labelled on it. I’ll have to try this. Visiting from Meet Up Monday.

    3-28-16 at 3:26 pm
  • Reply Gael

    I’m going to try it with a comforter but put the comforter in the sun and fresh air instead of the dryer. Thanks for this.

    4-28-16 at 10:44 am
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