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To Dry Clean or Not to Dry Clean

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To Dry Clean or Not to Dry Clean
Dan Kitwood / Staff / Getty Images
Since vintage clothing will most likely not have a “Dry clean only” tag or any care instructions attached like our clothes do today, you will have to use your digression when deciding how to clean your treasured vintage. Some vintage pieces may be washed a home depending on their fiber content, age, structure and detailing. For certain types of fabric or especially valuable piece, a professional cleaner may be necessary.

Here are some guidelines for deciding if your garment should be dry-cleaned.

  • If the item is made from two different types of fabric (e.g., a lining or facing), it should most likely be dry-cleaned.

  • If the item contains metallic threads or is beaded, embroidered, sequined, or appliquéd, it should most likely be dry-cleaned.

  • Wool, velvet, and silk items should always be dry-cleaned.

Most any fiber type may be dry cleaned, but keep in mind that dry cleaning can be costly and uses chemicals which can take a toll on our venerable vintage fabrics and our environment. If at all possible, try to remove stains and clean your garment at home; you'll save a lot more than just your money.

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