Before you try to clean something yourself, you need to take a look at the label. This is because there are certain kinds of materials and fabrics that are extremely difficult to clean at home, and which are best left to professionals. Garments which you should send to professional dry cleaners include:
• Anything with delicate beading or stitching
Certain fabrics are actually able to withstand machine washing, in spite of what the clothing label says. These include:
• Durable polyesters
To machine wash them, you'll first need to get your hands on a specialized mesh bag for washing delicates. Then, place the articles of clothing inside it, and put it in your washing machine. Use only cold water and a mild detergent, and set your washing machine to a gentle cycle. Once the cycle is complete, immediately remove everything from the washing machine and either lay them flat or hang them to dry.
'Dry clean only' fabrics which are able to withstand being washed by hand are:
This technique is a little bit more complicated than machine-washing, but once you get the hang of it, you'll never send the above fabrics to the dry cleaner again. Here's what you need to do:
1. Fill up a bucket or sink with cold water and add some mild detergent to it, before mixing it a little to make the water foamy.
2. Dip your garment in and out of the water until it is thoroughly soaked through. Use your fingertips to get the grime out of tough stains.
3. Drain the soapy water and refill it with clean cold water.
4. Keep dipping your article of clothing in the water until all of the soap is gone. Change the water once more if required.
5. Lay it on a clean white towel and push the water out. At this stage, it is very important not to twist the water out of your clothes, since doing so may damage them.
6. Place another white towel on top of the garment, and slowly roll the towel up and down, while squeezing gently. Repeat this for 3 to 5 times.
7. Reshape your clothing, and lay it flat on another towel to dry. Ensure that wool products are kept away from heat and direct sunlight.
Leather jackets can be quite sensitive, so make sure to read the label for any special instructions apart from 'dry clean only' before attempting to clean one yourself.
For light surface care, the best thing to do is to use a damp towel to remove any grime and dirt that may have accumulated, ensuring that you don't rub too hard. For tougher stains, a leather stain removal spray may come in handy.
You are also able to hand wash leather jackets by soaking them in a small basin filled with Castile soap or some dishwashing liquid. Then, gently rub the dirt out of the affected areas, and air it dry when you've finished.