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Guest Post: How to Dry Clean at Home

Today my sister is back with another guest post! If you have missed her posts in the past, you can find her easy steak taco recipe here, and her old fashioned strawberry jam (without pectin) here. I'm really excited for today's post because this really takes DIY to the next level. So without further delay, here is Lisa:

Let's face it - doing laundry sucks (or is it just me?). It's not at the top of my fun-to-do list, but it has to be done if we don't want to walk around in dirty clothes all the time. So, when I go clothes shopping, I generally check the tag to make sure that it can just be thrown in the wash with the rest of my items. You can image my dismay the few times I have gone against my rules and not checked the tag only to get home and realize those perfectly-fitting pants that I bought in every color because they were on sale are DRY CLEAN ONLY. A few mumbled curses later, they were hung up in my closet to be worn on special occasions or when I had to look fancy for a work meeting.

The other day, I'm looking at my beloved pants hanging there one morning deciding if it was a "fancy" day when I realized they probably needed some freshening up. They weren't really dirty - I spot cleaned them whenever I had an unfortunate mishap (read: toddler grime) - but they just needed a refresher. Back to my love-hate relationship with laundry. Being that I only own 2 or 3 things that need to be dry cleaned, it makes absolutely no sense to take the time to drive 20 minutes to the dry cleaners, drop off my items, come back 2 or 3 days later and pay some crazy amount of money just to have them freshen up my pants. So, I took to the internet to see if it could be done at home on the cheap (and eco-friendly!). Low and behold, it's possible! Of course there are the commercially available products, but you still don't know exactly what's in them. For my sensitive skin, I need to be sure there's no harsh chemicals or I'm babying a rash for a few days.

There are a few ways you can "dry clean" at home, and I was a little nervous to choose one, but I think it turned out well. Any person that does their own laundry (or lives with someone that does laundry for them...) will have these items on hand. First, here's a list of what you'll need:

- Your item to "dry clean"

- A spray bottle

- Water - Your favorite laundry detergent (I used Woolite Everyday since that's what I had)

- A white hand towel or wash cloth

- A pillowcase or delicates laundry bag (optional)

First, mix 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups of water with 1 tablespoon of detergent. The amount you use will depend on skin sensitivity, scent preference, etc. I used 1 1/4 cups of water. Pour the mixture into the spray bottle, and you're ready to go! You can pre-treat any stains with the mixture first by spraying enough to get the spot wet and loosening the stain with the white cloth. If it is a stubborn stain or something that is very colorfast (like some silks/satins or patterned items), be very careful with the towel, or just bite the bullet and take it to a real dry cleaner. Once you've dealt with any stains or spots, lightly spray the item all over with the water/detergent mix, just getting it slightly damp. Put it in the dryer (inside the pillowcase or laundry bag if it's really delicate) and dry on the non-heat (fluff or air-dry) setting of your dryer for 15-20 minutes. Check to see if it's dry, adding time if it needs it, but being careful that your items don't shrink. Alternately, if it's a nice day and you have the space, you can line dry your clothes for an even fresher feeling (I love the smell and feel of actual air dried clothes, don't you?).

Now that I know how to do this at home, my heart won't sink when I get my newly found favorite item home just to see the dreaded "Dry Clean Only" label. Happy cleaning!


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