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To dry clean or not to dry clean? You’re loading up the washing machine and you diligently double check the washing instructions on a newly purchased dress. To your complete disbelief, the label on the 100% cotton frock says, “Dry Clean Only”! Now you must dish out R150 for a R300 dress?

Is this just an insurance policy slapped on by clothing manufactures to prevent customers from carelessly destroying their clothes in a 90 degree wash? Or could tossing the garment into the wash result in the demise of this beloved purchase?

If you’ve ever boldly (or stupidly) attempted to ignore the garment-care instructions on the tag you’ll know that sometimes it can go terribly wrong, but more often than not (especially if you select a cold water wash and a gentle cycle) your DRY CLEAN clothes usually come out perfectly fine.

If you’re still feeling a little nervous to dodge the dry cleaner, here are a few helpful tips:

Dry-clean only vs dry clean
Clothing manufactures are only legally required to list ONE way to clean a garment. So if the instructions state DRY-CLEAN ONLY, follow it. If it says DRY-CLEAN, that means you are more than likely safe to use other cleaning options such as hand washing in cool water or the gentle cycle on your machine.

Fabric matters
Generally speaking, garments that are simply constructed, unlined, not embellished and made of natural fibres like cotton, silk, linen, cashmere or durable synthetic fabrics such as polyester can safely be washed by hand or in the machine on a gentle cool wash.

However, play it safe when it comes to suits, dresses and skirts with intricate pleats and ruching, clothes made from delicate synthetics such as rayon, or fabric blends including silk and wool; as these can lose their shape in water. Garments that include beading or sequenced embellishments should also be left to the pros!

Ditch the dryer
If you’re a little unsure of the durability of the garment, be conservative and avoid using the clothes dryer. Too much heat can damage the fibres. Instead, gently remove excess water (don’t twist) and lay the garment flat to dry.

The right appliances
So you’ve successfully washed and dried your cotton dress but can you achieve a perfectly finished, fresh from the ‘dry cleaners’ look using your home iron? The answer is yes and no. Some irons are simply not equipped to handle delicate fabrics, while other irons have an ineffective steam output.

However, several new irons on the market, including the Philips PerfectCare Azur Steam Iron are actually designed to iron any ironable garment from jeans to silk, from linen to cashmere, safely with no risk of burn or shine marks.

This iron is tested and approved by independent textile expert institutes for its excellent ironing performance. Philips with its exclusive OptimalTEMP technology has so far been the only brand able to be certified with the Gold standard from Woolmark. You can be confident that the Woolmark-approved apparel care products are ideally suited for any wool garments.

Philips PerfectCare Azur Steam Iron requires no temperature adjustments so it is now much easier to love your clothes by giving them the care they require.

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