Blankets, throws, and other bedding items are all provided with care labels, much the same as clothing items.
Not all clothing items can be machine or hand-washed at home, while dry cleaning will maintain their shape, appearance, and quality. Blankets and throws are no different when cleaning with longevity in mind.
Dry cleaning at a glance
Dry cleaning is a cleaning process that only a few people know much about besides the fact that it's a safe cleaning process, particularly for delicate and detailed fabrics.
The dry-cleaning process practically renews a garment or bedding item. It is presented neatly folded and fresh smelling, much like the condition on the day of purchase.
It helps to know a bit about dry-cleaning as it will help you better plan your dry-cleaning trips.
Generally, dry cleaning takes between 24 and 48 hours for regular clothing items but may take longer for other items that require more care and attention to detail.
It also depends on the dry cleaner you choose. They may be extremely busy or experiencing staff or product delivery issues which have become oddly familiar recently.
If you need a regular item dry-cleaned by the weekend, taking the items in on a Monday is best, as the few extra days may prevent disappointment.
You could also use the extra time to have repairs done or allow time for stubborn stains to be removed.
You should be aware that dry cleaning equipment is costly, and many dry cleaners do not house all the necessary cleaning equipment on-site to cater to every need.
They will make use of a centralized location that has the equipment and capacity to handle specific tasks as well as large volumes.
Transportation time to and from the centralized location will naturally increase the time before your dry cleaning is ready for collection.
Estimated dry-cleaning times
Your everyday work attire may take 24-48 hours to dry clean as most dry cleaners have the cleaning equipment to handle general dry-cleaning tasks.
Standard business suits and jackets may take between 2 and 3 days, while a tuxedo has more panels and requires extra attention, which could take anywhere between 4 to 7 days.
The same applies to prom dresses and elaborate evening wear. The more complex a garment is, the longer it will take to dry clean.
Most wedding dresses have multiple fabric layers, beading, and lacework that require special care. You should allow for anywhere between a week or two for dry cleaning.
Fur, suede, and leather can also be dry-cleaned but require different methods and solvents that will clean the item without ruining it. Here again, these are more specialized items and will take between 7 to 14 days turnaround time.
Outerwear like hats and gloves will take up to a week.
Blankets and drapery may be too large for your washing machine, and washing these items in a bath by hand can be challenging.
Besides, the washing and drying process can pose challenges if you don't have the space or the weather is not playing along.
If you follow the care instructions, washing your blankets or drapery at home should be a breeze, but somehow, we trust dry-cleaning to do a more thorough job than we can.
Depending on the size and fabric of your blanket or drapery, it will take between 4 and 7 days to dry clean.
The process, in a nutshell
The term "dry cleaning" means that water is not used in the cleaning process.
Water is substituted with chemical solvents that do not soak into the fabric's fibers.
This eliminates fabric shrinking and stretching, a big concern with some fabric types.
This is vital for tailor-made or fitted clothing items but equally important for any other household item like blankets or drapery.
Some natural fabrics are more prone to shrinking and stretching, while synthetic fabrics may not hold their sheen, texture, or color very well.
Dry cleaning with the proper solvents dramatically reduces these risks as the solvents clean the fabric's surface and are specifically formulated to prevent the mentioned risks.
Each item you drop off at the dry cleaner will be tagged to identify the owner.
The tag is usually a tiny piece of paper pinned to the inner tag of the garment or item.
Good dry-cleaning practice is to avoid pinning the tag through the material, as this creates small holes.
Some dry cleaners will offer VIP treatment to their regular customers. They will iron on identity tags with bar-coded information on the inside of garments which further reduces the risk of your items being misplaced.
Each item handed in for dry-cleaning will be reviewed for common issues like missing buttons, items in pockets, and unraveling seams or rips in the material.
Some dry cleaners may charge a fee to repair items or replace missing buttons, while others note these issues to eliminate liability.
Stains are usually treated before the item goes through the solvent-cleaning stage.
It's also handy to point out stains to your dry cleaner and let them know what caused the stain.
This will help in selecting the suitable solvent to deal with the stain.
Items are placed in a machine that slowly moves them through the solvent, which loosens dirt and other particles.
This cycle ends with the solvent being drained away along with all the dirt.
A fresh batch of solvent is added to the machine, and the items are agitated again as a rinse cycle.
Items are inspected at the end of the regular cleaning stage and undergo spot treatment. The specific area will be treated with "special" chemicals, stream, or vacuum tools if any stains are noted.
The items are then dried at a temperature between 77 and 122 degrees Fahrenheit, removing dust mites. Items could be steamed before being perfectly pressed.
If you requested any repairs, it is at this time that repairs will take place. Items are then neatly folded and placed into protective bags, ready for collection. This step removes dust mites.
Things to consider before dry cleaning
Always carefully read the cleaning instructions on a garment, blanket, throw, bedding, or drapery.
This will give you a good indication of the recommended cleaning process.
There are some garments or fabrics that should not be dry cleaned, while the design and composition of others require dry cleaning only. Here are some handy tips if you're not sure whether to dry-clean or not:
Embellished items: Items with studs, beads, or sequins require gentle treatment, and dry cleaning should be considered.
Silk: Silk items, particularly in darker colors, should be dry-cleaned.
Suites: Suits, particularly wool suits, must be dry-cleaned to avoid shrinkage. Most items with linings should be dry cleaned as the interlining between the lining and outer fabric can break down if exposed to too much water.
Other fragile fabrics: If the cleaning recommendation is hand wash only, you will know that the fabric is delicate and should be treated with care. This usually relates to rayon, chiffon, and similar synthetic fabrics. As mentioned, leather, suede, and fur are best dry-cleaned.
You should know what fabrics can be dry-cleaned and which should only be hand washed in cold water using a gentle detergent.
Items not to dry clean
Fine-haired wools, mohair, and cashmere should only be hand washed in cold water with mild detergent. Oddly enough, dry-cleaning doesn't do justice to the aesthetics of denim jeans, so avoid dry-cleaning your jeans.
Storing your dry-cleaned items
When you get home with your dry-cleaning, remove the items from the protective bags, as this allows the remaining humidity to evaporate.
The good idea is to hang or place items in the open for an hour or so before you pack them in your closet space.
A point to consider is the alcohol used in hairsprays and perfume. I know many women and men, too, spray perfume directly onto their clothing which is great for the moment but not in the long term.
Alcohol causes discoloration, which can ruin a favorite item very quickly.
A word about blankets and throws
Blankets and throws require cleaning every few months, and most can be machine washed, but the occasional dry cleaning should be considered, especially if you note stubborn stains after the last wash.
Blankets and throws are mostly made with a combination of fabrics which helps to maintain the shape and improves durability.
There will always be a dominant fabric that presents characteristics that makes the blanket or throw the perfect sleep partner.
Some blankets or throws call for gentle dry cleaning. Some people will hand-wash or machine wash dry-clean-only bedding because they think it saves time, but dry cleaning takes a similar amount of time and significantly less effort.
If you follow the care and cleaning instructions on your blankets and throws, then dry cleaning, which is a delicate process, will be fine in most cases.
How often should you dry clean a blanket?
Your flat sheet reduces your direct contact with your blanket, but it still collects dust and other allergens.
It's advisable to dry clean your blanket at least once every three months.
If you do not use a top sheet or are sensitive to allergies, you can dry clean your bedding weekly.
Can I dry clean my blankets and throws at home?
Most convenience stores sell do-it-yourself dry cleaning kits but are designed more for smaller items that may not be ideal for blankets or throws.
The kits come with a protective bag and cleaning cloths soaked in a chemical solvent.
The instructions indicate placing a garment and one or more cleaning cloths in the protective bag and then drying the bag on medium heat for about 15 to 30 minutes.
It would help if you hung it to dry to prevent mold growth.
Although practical, most at-home dry cleaning kits are designed for something other than bulky bedding.
If your blanket or throw fills more than half of the protective bag, the kit will not clean it properly.
Some Final Words About How Long do Dry Cleaners Take
Dry cleaning is a cleaning process that uses chemical solvents to remove dirt and stains and leaves your items clean and fresh.
The average time for dry cleaning is between 24 and 48 hours for regular items, while more delicate and intricate items will take longer.
The cleaning process is gentle and thorough, and most people agree that dry cleaning enhances the longevity of your prized possessions.
When in doubt, read the care instructions on the items you want to dry clean.
It also helps you chat with your local dry cleaner and build a good working relationship.
This will help when you're in a pinch and need something dry-cleaned urgently.