There are arguments to be made for both dry cleaning and washing a clothing item. Which process is best depends on the item and how you use it.

Dry cleaning and washing are different and yet similar. Dry cleaning uses solvents (and sometimes detergents) removed during the drying phase. Washing uses a combination of water and detergents. Aside from that, the process is similar since both dry cleaning and washing are done in a tumbling drum of some sort.

When is dry cleaning the best choice?
For absolute cleanliness and minimal (to no) damage to the fabric or clothing item, dry cleaning is tops.

Dry cleaning (as its name indicates) doesn’t use water. Water can be harmful, as it alters certain fabrics. For instance, it shrinks wool fibers and fades wool colors. Water is also rough on silk, bleeding silk colors and shrinking and wrinkling silk fibers that often are coated with an anti-wrinkle treatment that water removes.

What’s more, dry cleaning uses less agitation than washing. During the wash cycle, sloshing and spinning twists and tears at fabric, wearing it out. In addition, washing doesn’t always remove all the detergent. When detergent remains in clothes, it attracts rather than repels stains and odors. It’s ironic, but true.

On the other hand, the dry cleaning process removes the solvent as well as the dirt.

When is washing the best choice?
It sometimes makes sense to wash items instead of dry cleaning them. Some everyday clothes and certain fabrics that aren’t harmed by washing can be cleaned at home or at Oceanside by our “wash and fold” service. Fabrics most appropriate for washing are some every-day cotton, cotton-blend and polyester clothes where longevity of the fabric, fading and the “look” of the item are not as important.

In fact, certain fabrics cannot be dry cleaned. These include fabrics containing or made up of plastic, PVC, or polyurethane. Fabrics composed of these materials deteriorate during the dry-cleaning process.

Always check the care label on your clothes. That label will give an accurate description of the type of fabric and the ideal care instructions.

Oceanside will help you decide on dry cleaning vs. washing
If you aren’t sure whether to dry clean or wash an item, bring it into Oceanside. We’ll look it over and help you decide the best course of action.