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Life of Colleen: On washing "dry clean" clothes

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On washing "dry clean" clothes
posted by Colleen Shirazi on Sunday, August 31, 2008 at 11:21 AM (Pacific)


It's been a bit of a bugger. Drycleaning is now prohibitively expensive...I was quoted ten dollars for one dress at a local "green" drycleaners. After a paltry few wears, it would become cheaper to buy a new dress.

Some "dry clean" clothes can be hand-washed, but it's at your own risk. Silk can shrink. Some rayon does too, particularly rayon with a matte texture. Wool sweaters are the biggest bugger, since agitating them at all can produce "locking."

Clothing manufacturers have made more of their products hand-washable, that's for sure. Nine years ago, the majority of my office clothes had to be drycleaned. That worked back when drycleaning dresses cost three dollars. You simply took very good care of the dress, and wore something underneath it to stretch out the times you needed to dryclean.

But now...who has the time or money for so much fussing and drycleaning?

I feel strongly, manufacturers should re-engineer more of their clothes--aside from suits, coats and the like--to be hand-washable. You're not going to put drycleaners out of business any more than they already are out of business. They'll still have enough suits, jackets, formal dresses, et cetera.

It's a matter of design. If you know the silk or rayon is going to shrink the first time it meets water, then engineer the garment accordingly.

Basically--accept there is no longer "a wife" to take care of all of this stuff. It's the wife who needs business clothes now, and the wife doesn't actually have a wife (more's the pity).

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