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Do you believe care instructions on labels?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by alchimiste, Jun 12, 2005.

  1. alchimiste

    alchimiste Senior member

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    When labels say that a garment must be handwashed or dry cleaned only -but there does not seem to be a good reason for that- what do you do?
    I have some linen clothes which "should" be hand washed. Does it just mean that they were not preshrunk and I have to deal with a problem created by someone else? I also have a new pair of trousers that's a blend of silk, linen and cotton. It says to dry clean it. Is dry cleaning really better than hand washing?

    Mathieu
     
  2. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

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    Honestly, with expensive clothes i just follow the instructions ;p

    Every pair of linen pants i own are dry clean only and i have a couple shirts that are hand-washable. I once asked my dry cleaner about the whole situation once and she said it's not necessarily the type of fabric that determines whether an item should be handwashed or drycleaned but the finishing on the fabric. For example, i have a pair of armani brown linen pants where the individual strands are slightly different in color. I think if i washed them in water the colors would bleed together and the effect would be ruined. Dry cleaning won't create that problem.
     
  3. itzamazing

    itzamazing Senior member

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    I don't. I believe they put dry clean only on everything nowadays (especially relatively expensive garments) to avoid potential liability issues. Even basic cotton items will say dry clean only. Plus, most cashmere items will say dry clean, and I'm told this is one of the worst ways to care for cashmere and can ruin the product. Most modern washers have delicate cycles and you can use a very mild detergent (shouldn't need Tide or Wisk as I wouldn't expect one to be playing soccer in expensive clothing).

    If you are careful, you can safely machine wash many items that say dry clean only, cottons in particular. The key is to never put them in the dryer, unless you have an air/delicates setting and even them I wouldn't risk it.
     
  4. dah328

    dah328 Senior member

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    One of my merino wool sweaters got mistakenly mixed in with a load of cotton t-shirts once and was run through the washer and dryer. There was no discernible damage to the sweater. I don't plan to make a habit of machine washing my sweaters, but I'll be a lot less hesitant about carefully hand-washing them. I'd still be careful with silks, though.

    dan
     
  5. Ed13

    Ed13 Senior member

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    I wash evrything but wool trousers. I use the delicate cycle on the washing machine and hang or lay flat to dry.
     
  6. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    I just steam-clean many items and then I freeze them to help kill any germs left about that did not die when I steam-cleaned the items. As well, I make a habit of using washable / dryable everyday clothes, thus I don't have to worry about dry cleaning / hand washing.

    Jon.
     
  7. hermes

    hermes Senior member

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    manufacturers are required by law to provide a method of cleaning on the label, not necessarily the preferred method or the best method or every method of cleaning, just one method of cleaning

    as such, given a label would like end up a foot long, you get one method on the label

    as stated above, you can pretty well handwash or gentle cycle wash most items and not dry clean them etc etc etc
     
  8. trogdor

    trogdor Senior member

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    Someone once jokingly suggested, in response to a garment that was extremely fragile and likely to be damaged by cleaning, that the care label should read "www.ebay.com" [​IMG]
     
  9. BjornH

    BjornH Senior member

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    I've once been bitten by disregarding the label. I put some Hugo Boss cords in the washer that had dry clean on the label. What I didn't factor in was that they were lined to the knee and the lining did not look it's best after the wash and had actually torn in a few places. Also, ironing was a bitch opposed to my other (unlined) cords. YMMV...
     
  10. ernest

    ernest Senior member

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    My mother washed by hand an H&K scarf which should be dry clean and it is still wearable.
     
  11. mack11211

    mack11211 Senior member

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    I would hand wash anything except for trousers, which may have issues with the material of the waistband or lining.

    Dry cleaning removes stains but does not get the sweat out.

    If something has a deep or rich color I hand wash it briefly.

    To truly clean something you have to send water through it.

    My favorite care label was on a very old hunting vest. The label read: "When wet, dry by a fire."
     
  12. ernest

    ernest Senior member

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    I don't agree with this.

    Sweat is just a molecule like any other smell.

    Dry cleaning remove smelly molecules and so the sweat.
     
  13. gardel

    gardel Well-Known Member

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    mack11211, perhaps you are thinking that no liquid passes through your garment when it is dry-cleaned?

    The "dry" in "dry clean" refers to the fact that instead of water (i.e. "wet"), a liquid solvent is used. This liquid should get the sweat out just fine.
     
  14. Nick M

    Nick M Senior member

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    My favorite is this one: [​IMG]
     
  15. stache

    stache Senior member

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    (mack11211 @ June 14 2005,03:46) To truly clean something you have to send water through it.
    I agree. You can get away with dry cleaning many things, but some pieces eventually need to be immersed in water. Plus there is some mysterious 'wet' method of dry cleanig that involves water. I have had silk shirts come back from the dry cleaner up to two inches shorter in the sleeves. [​IMG]
     
  16. alchimiste

    alchimiste Senior member

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    Mom = Australian for laundry?
     
  17. Sam Hober

    Sam Hober Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I agree with most of what you say. But sometimes dry cleaning is the best. For example silk will tend to lose its brilliance when washed by hand. On the other hand the silk will become softer when hand washed.

    I am not personally brave enough to put beautiful fabrics in the washing machine, but what I have heard is that textures will often change. Sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.

    Very, very mild detergents should be ok, mild shampoos for wool and silk would usually be better. If you are worried about colors bleeding be sure to use a mild soap such as synthrapol which has suspension agents. You can buy it online for around $11 per half gallon.
     
  18. rootless

    rootless Active Member

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    I don't, and in some cases I think labels are really misleading. As a reformed northener I have a nice, small collection of cashmere sweaters. Many have labels that suggest dry cleaning, but I think that handwash in cold water without any detergent is the best way to clean them (unless they are filthy or smelly, in which case you'll need to either to dry clean them and pray or use a gentle detergent [hah.] or shampoo). The main thing with them is to avoid any friction, which is what makes detergent and shampoo a bit problematic. I "fulled" a couple of nice sweaters pretty badly while learning to wash them properly.

    I don't machine dry much of my nice outer clothing, and even there I'm careful, use low heat, and often take things out while still damp (which also helps in ironing some things), and finish the drying in air. Some clothing can stand up to full sunlight when line dried, some can't. I recommend sun-drying for clothes that can take it, as it leaves them really fresh, but discretion is the better part of valor here, as with all cleaning techniques.

    Bad drycleaners can, and will, ruin just about anything.
     

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