Many consumers incorrectly assume that any article of clothing can be hand or machine washed. But that’s not the case at all, and making such a mistake could permanently damage your garments to the point where they’re no longer wearable.

So, how do you know what can be hand or machine washed and what cannot? First, check the tag on the garment. If it says “dry clean only,” then it shouldn’t be washed conventionally. But garments aren’t always properly labeled and many consumers will even cut tags off if they’re sewn in a place that could cause skin irritation when worn. 

On that note, we’ve put together this guide that details 10 garments you should never launder conventionally. All of the following items should be dry cleaned for the best results.

Dark Silks

You should clean any silk material with caution, but dark silks are especially sensitive. That’s because dark silks tend to bleed, potentially spreading to other clothes or surfaces. To ensure you protect other garments from staining, take dark silk clothing to a professional dry cleaning facility. 


Hand or machine washing suits is a bad idea – period. Have these formal garments professionally dry cleaned to keep them looking crisp for the long term. Suit dry cleaning will ensure this special occasion attire can be worn again and again.

Anything Pleated

Pleated garments should always go to the dry cleaner. Professional dry cleaning services can help preserve existing folds and pleats and even re-pleat those that are beginning to fade.

Excessively Stained Clothing

Yes, there are do-it-yourself stain removers and techniques that you can administer to salvage heavily stained clothing. But one slip-up can potentially ruin the garment for good. If you have anything of value that’s stained, it’s best to take it to a professional for a specialized stain removal dry cleaning process.


Don’t take a chance on cleaning leather yourself at home, even if the tags don’t specify these items are “dry clean only”. Leather garments are always best left to the professionals.

Synthetic Materials

Synthetics also tend to be fragile, and any clothing item fragile or delicate shouldn’t be conventionally laundered.


Furs should be professionally cleaned simply because the skin that they’re attached to can dry out and shrink if cleaned at home.


Luxury velvet materials should also be handled with the care and expertise of dry cleaning professionals.

Anything Embellished

Laundering embellished garments conventionally could cause irreversible damage. 

Garments with a ‘Do Not Launder’ Warning on the Tag

To reiterate, never throw anything in the washing machine with a “dry clean only” tag. Always check your tags before washing your clothing or removing them. For more information about how Rema Dri Vac’s quality dry cleaning systems can help preserve your customers’ “dry clean only” garments, contact our team.

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