Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Laundry Poll

Today I dropped off the dry cleaning portion of my closet-incident-related laundry. I've been handwashing sweaters for days (3-4 sweaters per round, three days for complete drying before beginning the process again), and I think I have my method down pretty well by now, even if it is still pretty tiring. I guess I've found the drawback to having so many lush boucle sweaters, especially because they don't always go back into shape easily.

At the dry cleaners, we had a big discussion on three of my items--

  • My quilt made of special occasion fabrics, which isn't in the best of shape and which I told them I'd sign a release for...it has had so much food spilled on it over the years and is coming unstitched so if it gets ruined it gets ruined, but it needs to be cleaned.

  • My never-worn turquoise mesh top with beading all over. Once again, signed a release. It's a cute top, and who knows, I might someday go to a club again. This is the top that they sold me a silver strapless top to go underneath, and we all know what a great idea that was. I won't be heartbroken if it doesn't come through well, but I hope it does.

  • My Prince Edward Island ivory wool cable sweater. It's too big, but it's one of those sweaters that you wear over a thin sweater in the winter when it's blizzarded and above 30 degrees and you want to walk somewhere. Or you're going skating at an outdoor pond and want to move freely and accessorize with a cute hat, scarf, and gloves. The problem is the sweater got the worst of the water from my neighbor's toilet outflow, and the dry cleaners said they didn't think the stains would come out. This one might be relegated to working outdoors in February clothing.

And here we approach my actual question: How many of you have heard that A: You should not dryclean wool sweaters, B: You should not handwash wool sweaters, C: You can machine wash wool sweaters in a garment bag on cool but should not dry them, or D: Any other washing methods.

I'd read online that handwashing was preferable to dry cleaning, or at least that it was natural to do, that it was heat that shrunk a sweater and not water, but the ladies at the dry cleaners insisted that dry cleaning was the only way to prevent wool from shrinking. Said they'd had some bad experiences. I have a few sweaters that are part wool that have held up fine with handwashing, but I have several sweaters that are giant and are completely wool and often handknit. They are too big for me to do myself, which is why I was asking what the dry cleaners offered.
Now, I want to hear your opinions and methods. What do you do with wool?


Sarah said...

I haven't heard anything about wool, but I have heard from many professional sources that one should handwash cashmere sweaters, with a gentle cashmere shampoo if available, because drycleaning breaks down the fibers.

I think the decision have something to do with the garment structure, too. It was recommended that I dryclean my pashmina scarf because it is a smooth, flat, straight weave that might be misshapen by water washing.

It's very confusing.


Anonymous said...

Wool is not adversely affected by Dry Cleaning as this is a MYTH that has been around forever.

Various textile programs in several Universities have done studies that show no adverse effects to the fabrics after repeated cleanings in excess of 30 times.

Three things affect wool or any other hair fibers which have scales that become tangled. These are Moisture, Temperature, and Mechanical action.

Water expands the fibers that shrink when they are dried. This process can create distortion of the fibers and change their shape. Dry Cleaning is moisture free and eliminates this happening.

Temperature if it is to hot can harm the twist of the yarn. Yarns and heated as they are made to shape them all the same and twist them together. If the temperature exceeds this manufacturing Temperature the yarns lose their memory and shape. Temperature in Dry Cleaning solvent reclamation is 130 to 145 degrees. The average home dryer temperature increses to over 200 degrees once the water is gone.

Mechanical action, especially when the fibers are wet, tangles up the fibers. Just like your hair when you wash it. Conditioners attempt to lubricate the scales of the hair so that they can be manipulated back into shape. If the scales become entangled which is called being felted, the conditions is permanent and cannot be undone.

A Professional Dry Cleaner has years of experience in recognizing all types of fabrics, and can adjust their processes to safely clean your items, and restore them to a like new condition.

bakar said...

Natural laundry detergent works in that it is made completely of natural ingredients. Many companies will use citric acid and water as the main ingredients.I recommended THE DRY CLEAN SPA.