Does Dry Cleaning Remove Stains: Read This To Know The Truth

by Mario Garcia
Does Dry Cleaning Remove Stains

Stains on clothes happen unintentionally. Nobody would like to intentionally stain their clothes when they know how difficult stain removal can be on clothes. 

The degree of stains on a cloth could vary. Some stains are much easier to remove than others. The fabric and means of stain removal also play a crucial role.  

Dry cleaning is popularly used on fabrics and clothes that can’t withstand the rigor of a typical home washer and dryer.  

Now the question many are asking is this.

Does dry cleaning remove stains?

Yes, it does. It’s efficient for removing new and existing stains on clothes. You can say it’s more effective for removing stains than regular washing. However, some stains can’t be removed, especially those that have lasted for quite a while.

The truth is no product can get rid of every single stain. Just find the right one that can match the stain on your clothes and use it.  

What Is Dry Cleaning? 

Dry cleaning is a process that involves cleaning clothing with agents that don’t include water. It’s known as “dry” only because it doesn’t need water to make the clothing clean. But the process is not entirely dry. It makes use of chemical solvents, which are mostly liquid, to clean the clothes.

This method of cleaning clothes is mostly used for fragile clothing. So, it’s suitable for clothes that may shrink or stretch when washed with hands or a washing machine. Sometimes, such clothes have instructions on their care labels that usually state, “Dry-clean only.”

Unlike wet cleaning, dry cleaning is not easily done at home. And that’s why you’ll need to take it to a professional rendering such services. They usually have various treatments for different stains. 

Types Of Stains For Dry Cleaning

All stains fall into two major categories. They are oil-based stains and water-based stains.

Water-based stains usually require an acidic mixture to remove. Some of these stains include stains from coffee, alcohol, wine, tea, and other beverages.

Oil-based stains require non-aqueous chemicals to go ff. They also include fatty and greasy stains, stains from cooking oil, butter, lotion, etc.

Some stains may not be within these categories. They include:

  • Stains from organic food and substances like milk, egg, meat, blood, sweat, etc.
  • Stains from dyes such as ink, vegetable, and fabric dyes, 
  • Food stains from cooking or eating, or even stains from vomit.
  • Stains from adhesives.

Best Stain Removers

To remove stains effectively at home, you’ll need suitable cleaning agents. Various cleaning agents are designed for the different stain types. Some cleaning agents and the stains they remove include:

  • White vinegar or dish soap like Palmolive, Dawn, or other dish detergents removes food stains. You can also mix the dish soap with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to make it more effective.
  • For removing oil-based stains, use baking soda or Palmolive (citrus-based).
  • For blood and other organic stains, use hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. You can also use an enzyme cleaner.
  • Use OxiClean (enzyme cleaner)for sweat stains.
  • For dye or ink stain, use alcohol or hand sanitizer.
  • Use bleach for stains on white cloths alone.

Suitable Fabrics For Dry Cleaning

It’s convenient to take stained clothes to professionals offering laundry services. But before making such a move, be sure that the clothes in question are ideal for dry cleaning. 

Some clothes are not recommended for dry cleaning by the manufacturers. Such clothes usually have the “Do not dry clean” sign on their care labels.

Some fabrics are recommended for dry cleaning because they easily damage when hand washed or washed in a washing machine.

Fabrics considered suitable for dry cleaning include:

  • Woolen fabrics
  • Beaded or sequined clothing
  • Silk, velvet, leather, and suede fabrics: You can still wash them at home. But it would help if you hand wash them carefully. However, to avoid mistakes, dry-clean them.
  • Rayon fabrics: You can dry clean them, but it’s not necessary.
  • Painted fabrics
  • Knitted or open weave fabrics
  • Faded or discolored white clothes
  • Embroidered clothes or clothes with ornaments
  • Stained fabrics
  • Upholstery or home furnishings
  • Formal clothes
  • Vintage clothes: You can easily preserve them if you dry-clean them.

How To Remove Stains From Dry Clean Only Clothes

When your cloth gets stained, act quickly. Don’t just throw it into the cloth basket till the next washing day. If the stain stays longer, you’ll have to use professional help to get it off. The earlier you try to get the stain off, the more your chances of doing it successfully.

Follow these steps to get the stains off yourself.

Step 1: Confirm the type of fabric 

The type of fabric you’re cleaning will determine if it’s suitable to dry clean it or not. You can dry clean some clothing and still be able to wash the clothes in a washer. However, some fabrics are not suitable to even hand wash, except to dry-clean.

You can check the cloth label to know which cleaning is best for it. You’re only constrained to dry clean only when the manufacturers recommend it. 

Step 2: Find the stain

Find out what part of the cloth is stained. You may also check to see if other areas have been stained too. 

Also, remember what exactly stained the cloth, as it’ll help you choose which method will remove the stain. Some products such as baking soda, dish detergent, peroxides, and so on can come in handy for the task.

Step 3: Get the necessary products and supplies

When you identify the stains, don’t make the mistake of using just any product you can find to get it off. As you find out the stain, get the necessary materials you’ll need to get rid of it. It won’t be reasonable to use baking soda because it’s a good cleaning agent when the stain is from ink. You’ll make a mess of everything.

In essence, be intentional about selecting your supplies. And be sure the products are effective for getting off such stains. Some general items you can use include cotton swab or cotton balls (for small stains), several towels or clean, soft cloths, plastic spoons or butter knives, and cold water.

Step 4: Remove the stains

For stains with thick paste or glop, use a spoon or butter knife to scrape off any thick paste on the area. Be careful when you scrape it off so it doesn’t spread the stain. Next, use a damp clean cloth (it shouldn’t be dripping wet) to clean off the stain on the area. 

This process also requires caution, as you don’t want to make it worse. Change the cloth sides as you wipe the stain, don’t use the same side continuously. Turn to a clean side after each wipe. Now add the right cleaning product that’s recommended for such stain to another clean cloth. And swipe it over the area.

Use a damp but clean cloth to wipe the area again. Repeat this process several times till it removes the stain completely.

Once the stain goes off, spread the cloth out to air dry.

However, if it’s a liquid stain, use a clean, soft cloth to clean off as much liquid as you can. Don’t forget to change the sides of the soft cloth continuously. If you do this on time, a large amount of the stain will go off.

Next, use a clean, soft cloth to dab a suitable cleaning agent on the stain. You can use a mixture of dish detergent and white vinegar (since it’s a liquid stain). If it’s a small stain, use a cotton swab which can get to the spot effectively.

Let the mixture sit for approximately 20 minutes or the specific time for the cleaning agent you’re using. Then wet a clean, soft cloth with water and rinse off the mixture from the area. Hang the cloth to air dry.

For oil-based stains, you’ll need a powder-like agent that can soak up the oil. To do this, you can use baking soda or corn starch. All you have to do is to sprinkle it on the stain and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Then, turn the cloth over to shake off the powder (which has already absorbed the oil).

But you’ll still notice the stain, though not as visible as before. So, apply the suitable degreasing cleaning agent and leave it to sit for some minutes. Next, use a soft wet cloth to rinse off the area. You’ll notice that the stain is gone. Then air-dry your cloth.


Dry cleaning gets rid of stains in clothes. But not every stain can be removed, especially stains that have stayed for a long period. Also, you can get rid of some stains at home. But it’s effective when you use the right products on fresh stains.

Finally, be cautious when getting rid of stains yourself, so you don’t spread them to other parts of the cloth. And if you can’t remove the stain by yourself, let a professional help you.

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