Know The Difference: Hand Wash, Machine Wash, Dry Clean Only


How to clean your clothing seems simple enough right? Place your clothes in washer, add some soap and turn on your washer. Easy enough huh? Wrong. The manufacturers of your clothing take the time to print instructions on those little labels for a reason. Read on to learn the details of how and why things are washed the way they are. As you enjoy this oh so enthralling article, remember that here at Schafer Dry Cleaning, we perform all of these washing techniques in house.

Hand Wash

The hand washing technique is reserved typically for delicates or things that are likely to be damaged by the force and repetition of a machine. To hand wash a garment, find a clean washbasin, tub or sink, fill with cold water and add just a few drops of mild detergent. Then, knead gently for two minutes. Some recommend a hair conditioner rinse for use on silks. Rinse until the soap is gone and lay flat to dry. Hand wash is NOT the same as Dry Clean. Sound fun? If your answer is no and you have better things to do with your time, drop these garments off at Schafer and lets us do all of the work.

Machine Wash

This is the most common technique of cleaning your clothing – the washing machine. Most washing machines have a variety of settings, hot water, cold, warm, cold-then warm, etc. Just remember that hot water contributes to shrinkage and is harder on fabrics than cold. However, there are some serious stains out there that can only be mastered by a hot wash cycle. After a machine wash, you have the choice of a machine dry or hanging the clothing to dry naturally. The latter is better for the clothing but may take hours instead of minutes, depending on the humidity of where you live. Do you have hours to go through your clothes and determine what is better to dry in your machine or hang dry? If not, bring these garments in to us at Schafer Dry Cleaning and let us show you the labor of love with your garments.

Dry Clean Only

This is our personal favorite, for many reasons – the best of which is that dry cleaning is one of the most efficient and gentle ways to clean your clothing. The label on your garment is a “best practices,” guide. If the label says, “Dry clean only,” that’s the best way to handle the garment. Items made of silk, taffeta, wool, velvet or other exotic fabrics should be ONLY dry-cleaned.

According to the Dry Cleaning and Laundry Institute the process of dry-cleaning is “… to remove soils and stains from fabrics. Among the advantages of dry cleaning is its ability to dissolve grease and oils in a way that water cannot. Natural fibers such as wools and silks clean beautifully, but can shrink, distort, and lose color when washed in water. Synthetic fibers like polyester also respond well to cleaning, whereas they can retain oily stains after washing. Dry cleaning helps to return garments to a “like-new” condition using precautions to prevent shrinkage, loss of color, and change of texture or finish.”

Some sources suggest you can wash items that are “dry clean only.” Do this at your own risk. The labels are there for a reason and any time you vary from the recommended method of cleaning, you run the risk of damaging your clothing.

Additional benefits when you bring your clothes to Schafer Dry Cleaning

Inspection: Before we return a garment to you, we conduct an inspection to make sure your order has met our own and your expectations. If we spot a problem, the garment gets sent back to receive further attention. Safeguards like this help ensure that your clothes will look their best when you come to pick them up.

Finishing: Thanks to special pressing equipment, professional finishing gives garments a crisp, wrinkle-free, like-new appearance that can’t be beat. There are no rumples or creases out of place. Plus, by taking your clothes to Schafer Dry Cleaning, you don’t have to spend your weekend standing over an ironing board and a hot iron.

Schafer Dry Cleaning offers free Pick Up and Delivery Service to your home or office. Schafer services the following areas in Michigan:

  • Jackson,
  • Chelsea,
  • Hillsdale,
  • Napoleon,
  • Brooklyn,
  • Michigan Center,
  • Grass Lake,
  • Albion, Liberty,
  • Hanover,
  • Jerome,
  • Somerset and
  • Cement City

Call us today to get your service started! 517-782-7131