Busted: 6 Dry Cleaning Myths You Were Wrong About

Is your garment really "dry clean only" and other common myths debunked.

ByABC News
March 5, 2014, 12:37 PM

March 6, 2014— -- intro: While a trip to the dry cleaners is a common experience for many, there are secrets we probably don't know about the places we trust to clean our clothes.

“You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors!” Debra Kravet, who runs Apthorp Cleaners in New York, N.Y., told ABC News’ “20/20.”

Kravet said that many of the things customers think they know about dry cleaners are myths.

From garment bags to removing stains, here are some commonly held dry cleaning myths that “20/20” busted.

quicklist: 1title:Myth #1text: Myth: Club soda can help remove stains.

The Truth: False! “Club soda is definitely not the answer,” Kravet said. “If it was, we’d fill up all our cleaning machines with club soda!” According to Kravet, club soda does nothing except possibly make the stain worse. Instead, gently dab the spot with a white napkin or do nothing at all. Then, bring the garment to the cleaner as soon as possible, and be honest about what the stain is!

quicklist: 2title:Myth #2text: Myth: Clothes that have a “dry clean only” tag can only be cleaned at the dry cleaners.

The Truth: Nope! Despite those labels, for certain fabrics, such as cashmere sweaters, hand washing is just good, especially with light-colored clothing. Just don’t put these items in the dryer. Instead, lay them flat to dry.

quicklist: 3title:Myth #3text:Myth: It’s okay to store your clothes in the plastic bags from the dry cleaner.

The Truth: No! Those bags are just to ensure that the clothes don’t get splashed after cleaning. According to cleaners, your clothes need to breathe. Leaving your clothes in the bags might trap humidity or make it hard to lose any residual odor from the chemicals. Storing clothes in bags can also allow stains to oxidize and make the clothes harder to clean.

quicklist: 4title:Myth #4text:Myth: My clothes are washed separately from other customers.

The Truth: Wrong! Several people’s clothes are cleaned together. However, as long as the system is maintained properly, cleaners say this is not an issue.

quicklist: 5title:Myth #5text: Myth: Dry cleaners charge more for women’s clothing than men’s clothing because they have a gender bias.

The Truth: It’s not sexist: it’s economics, according to Kravet. Women’s shirts can’t fit on the pressing machine and have to be hand ironed. More labor means more expense.

quicklist: 6title:Myth #6text: Myth: Dry cleaning a suit too often makes it shiny.

The Truth: Not at all! “Wearing your suit day after day, the friction is what’s making it shiny,” Kravet said. However, if the cleaner is not good at pressing the suit, you may notice some marks left behind.