Dry Clean Only? Tips for Laundering Dry Clean Only Pieces

“Really? There’s a MACHINE in the basement that would do this for me.  This is so stupid.”  Ok, I didn’t say the “it’s so stupid” part, aloud.  I said it in the comfort of my own mind. 

This was a common semi-dialogue I would have with ma grandmere when I stayed the night.

Every night before bed, she made me wash my undergarment, by HAND. She did the same.

Until this day, I can still see her toffee tone stockings and brassieres draped over the shower rod. 

I dreaded it.

It wasn’t until I became an adult that je remercie beaucoup ma grand-mère for prepping me. 

Before having disposable income, undergarments were one of the items I splurged on.  When studying in Milano, my flat mate asked me one day “if you’re so broke (which I was) why did you just spend €60 on a brassiere?”  

In “Knock (off), knock (off.) Who’s There?” I discussed cost-per-wear.  That €60 Italian lace brassiere lasted longer than I’d like to admit.  As I began to type how long I had the brassiere, I started to feel ashamed. THAT’S how long I had that brassiere, I’m embarrassed.

Not only did the craftsmanship play a tremendous part in the brassieres longevity, it was also the proper care. 

Delicate garments and undergarments deserve the extra care.  The few times that I lazily tossed “handwash only” items into the wash, on a hot setting, I regretted it shortly thereafter.

I will admit that there are times when hand-washing just isn’t practical.  Below I will note garment symbols (in the event that your tag is in another language) and mostly safe short cuts to save le jour.


1. Machine Wash 2. Hand Wash 3. Do Not Wash 4. Dry Clean Only
5. Do Not Dry Clean
1. Wash Cold 2. Wash Warm 3. Wash Hot
1. Normal Cycle 2. Perm Press Cycle 3. Delicate Cycle
1. Iron Low 2. Iron Medium 3. Iron High 4. Do Not Iron 5. No Steam Iron

Delicate tips & tricks

Diamond et Pearls or Sequins.

When I’m in dire need of sequins or jeweled garments for a soiree (or a Tues. in the office) and I cant make it to the cleansers, I use mesh laundry bags. First, I fold the garment inside out and then neatly fold it into the mesh laundry bag. For the best results, I also use the delicate wash cycle and a gentle detergent.


If an item you want to wear (isn’t soiled) is in need of a quick refreshing, add vodka! Oui! Place vodka in a spray bottle and lightly splash this Russian nectar all over the item. You can either let the garment air dry or use a steamer to get add a crisp touch!

Let’s let Fuzzy-Wuzzy remain a bear.

Those tiny annoying “balls” that not even a heavy duty lint brush can remove are called “pills.” I used to think that pilling only occurred with bargain priced garments, until I took a textile course in undergrad. Pilling is typically caused by two things, fiber tear and friction. When the fibers of a fabric tear, the remaining surface stubble creates those annoying little balls that we now know is called pilling.

Friction pilling. This is commonly found on the inner sleeves of a top, or the inseam of pants (YASSSSSS thick thighs! I’m jealous) wherever constant rubbing occurs. The most cost effective treatment is to use a shaving razor. I used to purchase fancy swirly battery operated fabric shavers. If you’re not purchasing an industrial shaver, or need to de-pill ten-thousand sweaters, I don’t think it’s worth the cost. A good ole razor will suffice.

Do you have questions about garment care?

What are some DIY tactics you use to keep your items in great condition?

Please be certain to click: “notify of comments and new post via email.”

Ciao for now 💋


  1. Phoenix

    I TOO so VIVIDLY remember those stockings!!! Multiple uses of course. 😀 and razors saved many thick fall-friendly sweaters! My question is how do you know what undergarments are worth the splurge? I’m only familiar with Victor’s Public Knowledge and l’Agent.

    • Ms. Atkins Sr invented “going green.” She was ahead of her time. You asked a very good question. The best way I can help you differentiate between quality lace and stock, is to show you. If you bare with me, I’ll do a quick post on IG.

Leave a Reply