Winter Wardrobe Care: How Dry Cleaning Can Preserve Your Heavy Fabrics

Winter Wardrobe Care: How Dry Cleaning Can Preserve Your Heavy Fabrics

As we approach the spring season, most people are planning to shift out of their winter wardrobe into items more suited for our lovely Colorado sunshine. Before storing your heavy fabrics and coats away until next year, it’s important to give them a good clean so that they’re fresh and ready to go when you need them again. Be aware, however, that the single best way to clean your fabrics is with the help of a dry cleaner. 

Dry cleaning your fabrics will help preserve your best clothes, increasing their longevity and ensuring they can be worn for years to come. From the experts here at Burke Cleaners, here’s how dry cleaning can preserve your heavy fabrics. 

What is dry cleaning?

While the cleaning process is called ‘dry’ cleaning, most people are surprised to learn that it still utilizes liquids in order to clean your clothes. The name refers to the fact that dry cleaning does not utilize water; it uses different forms of solvents, or chemicals, instead. These chemicals include tetrachlorethylene, perchloroethylene (perc), and petroleum-based solvents. 

Dry cleaning involves a multi-phase process where clothes are soaked in a water-free liquid solvent and processed through a machine very similar to that of a domestic washing machine. Garments are loaded into a central drum at the core of the machine, and solvent filling approximately one-third of the surrounding shell agitates grit, dirt, dust, and other impurities from the fabric. During the washing cycle, used solvent is recycled through a filtration chamber and then fed back into the central drum, thus repeating until the cleaning process is completed. The final step typically includes drying the clothes through the application of heat and some form of steam finishing. 

General Benefits of Dry Cleaning 

There are several benefits to dry cleaning clothes. Compared to traditional, home-based cleaning, dry cleaning provides: 

  • Less wear and tear and clothes (fibers kept in good condition)
  • Longer preservation because solvents have a lower viscosity than water
  • Effective removal of stains and tough spots
  • Versatility as most clothes can be dry cleaned
  • Long-term preservation of clothes which leads to less replacement of garments 
  • Cost savings by not needing to buy at-home detergent
  • Cleaner clothes by using solvents rather than detergents used in water-based washing
  • Odorless cleaning process
  • Time savings by not having to clean the clothes yourself - dry cleaning works around your schedule 
  • No shrinkage of clothes 
  • Space for large and heavy garments

Heavy Fabrics That Need Dry Cleaning 

It is recommended to dry clean clothes before putting them into storage after the winter. Washing your garments through the dry cleaning process will remove any lingering odors, such as sweat, and your clothes will be less likely to attract bugs or have a stale, musty smell when you take them out of storage again. Furthermore, many heavy fabrics are simply too large to be cleaned using at-home washing machines and dryers - this doesn’t negate the need to have them cleaned.

Dry cleaning, therefore, is the most efficient and effective method for cleaning your heavy fabrics, but several different types of heavy fabrics should be professionally cleaned without question. 


Winter Wardrobe Care How Dry Cleaning Can Preserve Your Heavy Fabrics Wool

If not treated properly (such as washing in water using an at-home washing machine), wool can easily be damaged, warped, or shrunk. Heavy soaking, heat, and a rough washing machine environment causes damage to wool, so it’s usually best to bring your wool jackets, coats, sweaters, scarves, and other garments into a dry cleaner to have them cleaned safely and effectively. 


Winter Wardrobe Care How Dry Cleaning Can Preserve Your Heavy Fabrics Velvet

Velvet winter clothes should also be dry cleaned, but unlike wool, it is because velvet is an extremely delicate fabric. Velvet can be warped and crushed, and the fabric can be expanded and distorted by a rough washing machine. Similarly, water alone will cause velvet to deteriorate faster than normal because water is a thicker substance than dry cleaner solvents. So when it comes to your winter velvet clothes, the best bet will always be a dry cleaner. 

Structured or Lined Jackets

Winter Wardrobe Care How Dry Cleaning Can Preserve Your Heavy Fabrics structured

While not a specific fabric type, structured or lined jackets, vests, and coats are all susceptible to damage when cleaned in a normal washing machine with water. The best way to maintain the beautiful structure, shape, and integrity of these types of winter garments from year to year is to have them dry-cleaned. 

Leather and Suede

Winter Wardrobe Care How Dry Cleaning Can Preserve Your Heavy Fabrics leather

Leather and suede winter attire can be among the most expensive. However, it is critical to note that dry cleaning leather and suede is not suitable in an at-home washing machine OR dry cleaning. Cleaning leather and suede improperly can remove their natural oils, causing them to become dry, stiff, and prone to cracking. It’s very important to find a professional cleaner that offers specialized leather and suede cleaning services in order to keep these fine winter garments looking their best and lasting as long as possible.

Safe and Effective Winter Wardrobe Cleaning

The bottom line is that dry cleaning is the best way to preserve your heavy fabrics. Your winter wardrobe likely consists of a variety of wools, velvets, leather, suede, and other structured jackets and winter garments. These garments can be cleaned safely and effectively, limiting the amount of damage done to individual fibers when cleaned using the dry cleaning process and other professional-quality methods.

Dry cleaning uses solvents rather than water, and this alone will keep fibers from losing shape, distorting, shrinking, loosening, and swelling; it is, therefore, the most optimal way to ensure the longevity and cleanliness of your winter wardrobe’s heavy fabrics. 

For a convenient, efficient route to the cleanest possible clothes, don’t hesitate to contact Burke Cleaners or visit one of our 24/7 express locations today!

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