Laundry vs Dry Cleaning differences (Which is better)

AspectDry CleaningWashing
Fabrics SuitableSilk, Rayon, acrylic, leather, suede, expensive, unfamiliar materialsCotton, polyester, linen, nylon, wool, cashmere, familiar materials
RisksLow risk of damage, color bleeding, or shrinkageRisk of damaging sensitive fabrics and color bleeding
Convenience and CostConvenient but can be more expensiveCost-effective, do-it-yourself option
Environmental ConsiderationsTraditional methods may use harmful chemicals, but eco-friendly options are availableMore environmentally friendly, especially with eco-friendly products
Special Care for Expensive and Unfamiliar FabricsRecommended for expensive and unfamiliar fabricsAdvised to have them dry cleaned until safety with water is confirmed

In General, laundering helps to remove grease, oil, sweat, and deep stains more effectively than Dry Cleaning. However, dry cleaning is considered to be safe as it is gentler on clothes.

So, if you’re wondering whether you should wash your clothes in the washing machine or dry clean them, this article will help you to decide on the approach.

Here, you will learn what exactly is dry cleaning, how it differs from washing, and when you should go the dry cleaning OR Machine washing route.

What Is Dry Cleaning?

You’ve probably heard of dry cleaning before, but what exactly is it?

While dry cleaning is most often associated with clothing, the process works on many fabric items, including napkins, tablecloths, and bed linens.

If your clothes need a thorough cleaning, dry cleaning is a great option.

Dry cleaners use a chemical solvent to clean clothes that can’t withstand washing. The solvent cleans the surface of materials, without penetrating the fibers.

This helps prevent the clothes from stretching or shrinking, two common causes of stains. The process also saves you time, as dry cleaning requires less than half the time of traditional washing.

Advantages Of Dry Cleaning

Here are some of the advantages of dry cleaning.


You can drop off your soiled garments and pick them up once they are dry-cleaned.

Also, dry cleaners have the necessary equipment and knowledge to clean your clothes thoroughly, which you simply don’t have time for at home.

Saves Time

Dry cleaning is fast and saves a lot of manual effort if you are getting it done through a professional. In fact, it can be affordable too if you do it yourself at home.

Limits the Damage

In addition to being more cost-effective than regular laundry, dry cleaning protects your most expensive clothing.

Compared to washing clothes in a machine, dry cleaning uses a solvent that’s much gentler on fabrics and fibers.

Moreover, your garments will look crisp and wrinkle-free.

Environment Friendly

One of the most obvious benefits of dry cleaning is its environmental friendliness.

Dry cleaning done with organic solvents OR by using fewer chemicals and minimal water consumption is considered to be greener than washing clothes in a machine OR using chemical-based dry cleaning solvents.

Expert Cleaning

Dry cleaners know exactly which kinds of cloths to clean by dry cleaning and apply the right amount of solvent to use.

Disadvantages of Dry Cleaning

With all the advantages in place, it won’t be fair to not talk about disadvantages.

Although Dry Cleaning is the most efficient way of cleaning your clothes, it may be expensive.

In fact, dry cleaning your clothes can cost twice as much as washing them in a regular washing machine.

Dry Cleaning may also damage your newly-purchased items.

Furthermore, the chemicals used for dry cleaning are expensive and their effect may last longer than those used for washing with water.

So, if the solvent used is not properly removed, it may have a negative effect on your clothes and health.

Having said that, the pros of dry cleaning tend to overpower the cons, therefore making it a better option for washing delicate items.

Difference between Dry Cleaning and Washing

The Fundamental Difference between Washing and Dry Cleaning is that Dry Cleaning makes use of solvents like perchloroethylene also known as PERC to get the clothes clean without making use of water.

It is certainly an option when washing or pressing cannot get rid of stains.

Dry cleaning should be used on expensive and delicate pieces as professional dry cleaning services also specialize in delicate fabrics.

There are several important differences between washing and dry cleaning.

Washing is done in a washing machine where the clothes are submerged in water, which washes away the dirt and stains.

Dry cleaning on the other hand uses a solvent instead of water, which is much gentler on your clothes.

Once the dry cleaning is done, the clothes are further taken out of the machine and left to air dry.

With that being said, Dry cleaning can leave a strange smell sometimes post wash

When You Should Dry Clean?

Dry cleaning can help your clothes last longer, preserve their color, and protect delicate items.

However, before deciding on any approach i.e. to Dry Clean OR Machine Wash you should always be sure about the materials your clothes are made of.

Some fabrics that are expensive and delicate should only be dry-cleaned by a professional.

Others can be dry-cleaned by you if you have the necessary cleaning solvents and equipment.

So, if you want to save money or avoid the chemicals used by commercial cleaners, you can dry clean at home.

In order to dry clean at home, you can get a dry cleaning kit that comes in the form of a bag.

You simply need to put your dry cleaning compatible garments into the bag along with dry cleaning fluid OR dryer-activated cleaning cloth.

Next, put the bag in the dryer and set it to tumble dry for 15 to 30 minutes.

Once the dry cleaning is done, remove the fabrics from the bag and let it air dry.

Does dry cleaning outperform washing in terms of effectiveness?

The effectiveness of dry cleaning versus washing depends on the garment at hand.

While dry cleaning is more effective for oil-based stains, washing is the superior choice when it comes to tackling odors, especially those caused by body perspiration.

When You Should Wash in a washing Machine?

Not all fabrics are labeled as “Dry Clean” and not all fabrics are made the same.

So, fabrics that are clearly tagged as Machine Wash can be washed in a washing machine without any doubt.

With that said, it will be completely a judgemental call to wash a hand-washable fabric in a washing machine.

As long as you are able to control the spin speed and the wash cycle you may wash hand-washable fabric in the washer.

And always use a cold water whenever in doubt as it helps to prevent shrinkage.

When You Should Hand Wash Your Clothes?

If you’re worried that machine washing will ruin your favorite shirt, you can try to hand wash it instead.

Some people swear by the hand washing method, and it’s an excellent choice for delicate and smaller items.

But what exactly should you use?

First, you’ll need a mild detergent and try to avoid those with fragrances and bleaches, Instead, go for eco-friendly options.

If you’re unsure of what detergent to use, baby shampoo or Mild detergent liquids will do the trick.

Before you begin hand washing your clothes, be sure that you have a large container, Tub, OR Sink to use.

Once you have the detergent, tub, and brush in place follow the below steps to safely wash your clothes.

Step 1: Pre-soak the Fabric

The very first step is to pre-soak the clothes so that the dirt gets loosened from the fabric.

Pre-soaking is easy and you don’t need any special preparation.

Just pour the water into a tub OR sink and mix and add some mild detergent. Next, mix the water thoroughly so that the detergent is diluted properly.

Then, add the soiled clothes into the tub OR sink and gently swish the clothes so that it absorbs the water and loosens the dirt.

Step 2: Wash the Clothes

The Next step is to wash the clothes using your hands or a brush depending on the fabric type.

If the fabric is prone to fraying or disintegrating easily, it’s best to avoid brushing.

However, fabrics that can handle the brush can certainly be washed with the help of a soft brush.

Step 3: Rinse Clothes in Cold Water

Once you are done washing, rinse the clothes in cold water for a couple of minutes so that the detergent residues are washed away.

Step 4: Dry the Clothes

You can choose to either air dry OR dry them in a dryer.

So, depending on the fabric type, you can choose the right approach.

If you are confused about the drying process, it’s best to stick with air drying.

Final Thoughts

Dry cleaning, Machine Washing, and hand washing are all good ways to clean your clothes.

It’s not like one size fits all stuff, the method of washing will vary depending on the fabric type.

Dry cleaning is considered to be the safest but that does not mean it’s the best.

If the clothes are made of delicate fabrics, then it makes a lot of sense to go for dry cleaning.

However, if the clothes are made of durable fabrics then machine wash OR hand wash is highly recommended as it gives a lot of control over the washing process.

Hand washing is likely to give you the best results as you get to work on the stains and heavily soiled areas of your clothes manually.

Hemant Sarkar is a seasoned techie with a diploma in computer science and an impressive track record of over 15 years in dealing with speakers, kitchen appliances, and various home appliance-related issues. He is widely recognized for his exceptional expertise in repairing dryers and washing machines from all major brands. In addition to his appliance repair prowess, Hemant maintains engaging blogs on topics related to music and speakers. For any inquiries or assistance regarding appliances or tech-related matters, you can reach out to him at: hemant (at)