Most people have idly wondered from time to time, what would happen if they put something particular in the wash. Having something specially cleaned can be a hassle, and many people believe that clothes will be just fine if they go a cycle or two through the washer. But that's pretty far from the truth. There's a lot that can happen to your clothes even if you put them in the gentlest cycle of your washer.
Your Clothes Could Begin to Unravel
A washing machine agitates delicate clothing quite a bit, even on the gentle cycle. This agitation can pull off small additions, such as the beads and sequins you might find on a wedding dress. Other clothing is simply not meant to be agitated at all, so the threads will begin to pull and tear through the cloth. Delicate cloth, such as lace, can be particularly susceptible to this. An abrasive cotton thread will eventually work its way through even a strong lace.
DIY clothes cleaners will often recommend that you simply soak your dry clean clothing rather than agitating it, and gently rinse it. This can work for some types of material, but it's still dangerous. Suede, leather, taffeta, velvet, rayon, and fur will usually not be able to be washed this way. On the other hand, silk, cotton, wool, and linen possibly can be, but there's a caveat: stretching and shrinking.
Your Lining Could Warp
The major issue that occurs with dry clean clothes is that the exterior or interior will shrink. Most dry clean clothing has an outer layer of cloth and an inner layer of cloth. These are usually two different types of cloth. When subjected to either water or heat, one of these are going to warp and shrink. This is going to alter the lines of the outfit dramatically.
When the interior lining gets smaller, the clothing will appear to be pulled in, creating creases and lines where they didn't exist before. When the exterior gets smaller, the interior lining will start sticking out and will be visible when it shouldn't be.
Your Clothes Could Dull or Pill
Some types of cloth, such as a high-quality cotton, shouldn't be cleaned in a washing machine because they can get dull or pill. If they are fragile, then the structure of the thread is going to be damaged by washing. The fibers will begin to fray, which will eventually make something that looks shiny look dull.
If it's a thicker fabric, such as wool, a normal washing could cause it to pill. This is when fibers collect on the surface, usually in small balls. Both of these scenarios are difficult if not impossible to fix and restore, as the fabric itself is damaged.
Your Clothes Could Bleed
Finally, sometimes clothes are dry clean only because the dye itself could come off in the wash. Even with normal, washable clothes, dye sometimes rinses off the first few times you wash them. If you have a dry clean only item, you may find that the dye runs when you wash it.
This could either lead to other clothes being dyed or it could lead to clothing that is lighter or blotchier than it was before it went into the wash. Using a color-fast detergent could help, but could also cause solvent damage to the clothing.
If you have very small stains on your clothes, it is possible to wet blot them out, and it may not damage it. But for the most part, an all over cleaning is really going to require the services of a professional. You can get a consultation at the Crystal Cleaning Center.