Dry cleaning uses solvents rather than water to wash garments. The garments are put into a machine and tumbled, and this agitation and the solvents lift dirt and stains. Here are some factors to consider when having your clothes dry-cleaned.

Specific Stains

Mention any specific stains when you take items to the dry cleaners, as the stain may need to be pretreated. Let them know what caused the stain, whether it was oil, wine or coffee. This information will help the dry cleaners decide what pretreatment will be most effective.


While you may be nervous at times about your clothes shrinking in the washing machine at home, this is unlikely to happen at a dry cleaner. The process they use employs solvents rather than water. When you clean cotton or other machine-washable clothes at home, the fibres absorb water, which can cause them to distort. Once the water evaporates, you can be left with a shrunken or out-of-shape t-shirt, for example.

However, the solvents used in dry cleaning react differently with fabrics. Of course, you should check that the garment doesn't have a do not dry clean symbol on it. Clothing that you can wash at home may possibly be dry-cleaned, so long as it doesn't preclude it. Your dry cleaning service can give specific advice about a garment.


Before you take a piece of clothing or a doona to the dry cleaner, check the washing symbols on the tag. A circle without an X indicates that an article can be drycleaned, but an X in the middle of the circle precludes drycleaning. Sometimes you may see letters inside the circle, such as an "A", "P" or "F". These letters symbolise what type of solvent should be used. They tell the dry cleaner specifically how to treat the garment. Lines under the circle indicate that only moderate processes are suitable. One bar means to be gentle, and two bars mean to use extremely moderate processes.


You may wonder how the solvent itself is removed from your clothes if water isn't used. The dry cleaning process involves various stages. After the clothes are cleaned, they go through an extraction process in which the clothes are gently spun and the solvent flicks off to the side. The garments are then tumbled in warm air and aerated with cool air in the final stages. After this thorough process, you may notice only a minuscule trace of a solvent odour, if any. Most of it gets extracted during the process.

Drycleaning is good for many delicate fabrics because the clothes aren't submerged in hot water and detergent to remove the stains. This heat can damage fragile textiles. For more information, contact a company like Mattara Dry Cleaners.