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Message Board > Fabrics and more... > Can I machine wash a dry clean only fabric? ( Moderated by CynthiaSue)

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Can I machine wash a dry clean only fabric?
What's the worse that can happen?
StitchyMama
StitchyMama
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Date: 4/4/13 3:13 PM

I just bought some 50/50 linen/cotton fabric. The fabric care on the bolt said dry clean only. I was reading on here the other day about abusing fabric before cutting so it don't shrink in the finished project. Do you think I'd be ok if I did this, I really don't want to dry clean every time I wear it. I did buy extra to account for shrinkage just in case.

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tlmck3
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Date: 4/4/13 3:31 PM

I wouldn't dream of dry cleaning a linen/cotton blend. I would wash and dry it in the dryer two or three times. That will soften up the linen fibers, which will undoubtably wrinkle badly on the first pass through the agitation of a washing machine. I'm guessing there is some kind of sizing in that fabric which has caused the manufacturer to recommend dry cleaning. If that's the case, washing will remove it and you might end up with a much different hand (limp. thin.) than what you started out with. And I'd expect shrinkage, too. You do want to know all that before you sew anything with it.

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marymary86
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Date: 4/4/13 3:35 PM

After I left the work force, I started washing all kinds of dry clean only things.

I use cool water and our hand wash cycle on the washing machine. I air dry everything.

Nothing has been ruined so far. I even threw a linen Doncaster linen jacket in the delicate cycle when nothing else would remove a spot. It did fine (though I did send that one back to the cleaners so it could have a professional press).
-- Edited on 4/7/13 4:47 PM --

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Mary


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In reply to StitchyMama <<


Date: 4/4/13 3:37 PM

Since you have extra and have no interest in dry cleaning, test a swatch in your laundry. I'd draw a 4" square with a marking pencil on a larger piece of fabric. Serge or zig-zag around the raw edges and launder however you plan to take care of your garment. Then measure your 4" square to see what happened; of course feel the cloth to see what's up. As already posted, I too would do several washes to soften up the linen since I like it that way. You can always spray starch if you want to make it crispy again.

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Judy Kski
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Date: 4/5/13 0:45 AM

I wash my "Machine Wash Cold/Tumble Dry Low" knits on Delicate in the washer and Delicate in the dryer because that is how they will be washed after I make them up. Sometimes I get just a little shrinkage. Other times, like if there is Rayon in the fabric, it can be a lot of shrinkage (as much as 1/4 yd. per yard of fabric. I'd much rather lose the yardage BEFORE I make my garment.

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Judy

Miss Fairchild
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Date: 4/5/13 8:22 AM

As one who can't stand to take things to the dry cleaners unless it's a wool coat, I would wash the fabric. Linen is pretty durable, but it's possible the dye might be "loose". I'd wash the fabric using cold water, delicate cycle, and make sure you have nothing else in the washer to see if the dye will bleed.

I recently washed some old lining, thinking it was acetate and would destroy itself in the washer. I was wrong! What I got was the softest, drapiest lining I could ever have!

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PeppermintPam

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Date: 4/5/13 8:59 AM

Linen/cotton blend? I wouldn't hesitate to wash in the machine with warm water, and toss in the dryer. I would also throw in a sheet of Shout brand 'Color Catcher'. That way if any color ends up on the sheet you'll know that might be why they labeled it dry clean only, and in future washes make sure to wash it with similar colors. If the color doesn't bleed you're good to go!

Also, being a linen/cotton blend I would wash and dry it at least twice just to be sure your finished garment won't shrink. Go for it!

BTW, I haven't dry cleaned any fabric... yet - even my wools, silks, and wool/ linen/ silk blends, and I haven't had any disasters yet, just wonderful fabric that when made up yields a washable garment. Of course I wash them a little differently than a linen/cotton blend, but you get the idea...

Elona
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In reply to StitchyMama <<
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Date: 4/5/13 4:28 PM

It makes life easier to get into the habit of serging the cut edges of any new fabric the instant it gets into the house and then washing and drying right away. Down the line, you will never get any nasty surprises.

ahrizel
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In reply to StitchyMama <<


Date: 4/7/13 4:45 PM

I have washed cotton/linen before without a problem. I don't know if it's apparel or decor fabric, sometimes the decor stuff like that is always listed dry clean. I machine wash everything except some silk and wools. Go with the others advice, wash a sample and see what it does. It will wrinkle big time, but linen does that. And expect some major shrinking, which is also the nature of the fibers. Honestly I think it will wash fine. My renaissance skirt is linen/cotton and has been washed and dried dozens of times. It looks fine, just worn after 10 years. But it is still in one piece with hot water wash and hot dryer most of the time. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
Mary

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