We regularly clean our bathrooms, clothes, and dishes but dirt can still find its way into other areas of our home. Did you know mattresses and comforters can double in weight from dust, mold, bacteria, allergens, and dead skin that accumulate when we sleep on them? After reading this, you might be totally grossed out by what you’re not cleaning in your home. Don’t worry; we’ll also offer ways to clean them regularly.
Unfortunately, you can’t just take your mattress to the laundromat or dry-cleaners and expect it to fit (you’ve seen the Febreze commercials). But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t, or can’t, clean it regularly to remove germs and dust. Though it may not be appealing, it is possible to clean stains from the mattress with a little elbow grease.
First, vacuum your mattress. This removes a lot of dust and dirt that can keep you from getting sick and protects it from future stains should any liquid be spilled on the mattress.
Upholstery cleaner and a sponge or cloth work for spot cleaning. For most stains, you can try an enzyme cleaner or rubbing alcohol. Often times even a citrus spray or mild dish detergent will work. For odors, try disinfectant and odor sprays to start.
You can also use a mattress pad to serve as an additional layer of protection between you and the mattress. It will absorb moisture and other dirt and can be easily thrown in the washing machine with bedding. This doesn’t mean you won’t ever have to clean your mattress, but it will make it easier to clean.
Comforter or bedspread
Just as the case with mattresses, it’s easy to forget your comforter gets as dirty as your sheets. In some cases, you can throw a comforter or duvet in the washing machine, according to the directions on the tag. Treat stains and problem areas with a pre-wash before washing.
However, it may be worth taking your bedspread to the dry cleaners. Most washing machines aren’t large enough to accommodate a comforter and you don’t want it to overflow or vibrate loudly when the load becomes uneven. Drying at home is tricky, too, because you’d want to hang it on a clothesline and no one has the room for that.
If it’s made of wool or you have concerns about the color bleeding, do not attempt to clean at home. Dry clean it every time.
In between washings, you can vacuum or air out blankets on a clothesline to remove dust and keep them fresh.
Shower curtains can generally be taken care of with a little all-purpose cleaner, but don’t hesitate to throw it in the washing machine every once in a while. Just use the gentle cycle and wash in cold water. Hang it up to dry, but don’t return it to the shower until it’s fully dry or you’ll just get it moldy again.
Of course rugs and carpets can be vacuumed regularly but stains do happen occasionally. Instead of rearranging the furniture to cover them up (we know that’s tempting), tackle the stain with some shaving cream. With an old shaving brush or clean paintbrush, work the shaving cream into the stained area. Then, use a damp rag to wipe away the cream and stain. Blot dry with a fresh cloth, preferably a white one, so the color doesn’t transfer into a new stain.
Dry cleaning is also a great idea for small or area rugs that are hard to clean or have a lasting odor. It’s so much easier, too.
Fluffing a pillow isn’t just for looks; this removes most dirt and dust, keeping the pillow light and clean. Many times, pillows can be thrown into the wash for a gentle cycle. Foam or polyester pillows can be hand washed, but never put the foam pillows in the dryer. Hang these to dry, rotating regularly.
For decorative and throw pillows, spot clean with mild soap or read the directions for hand washing in cold water. No matter the type or use of pillow, be sure to check for stains, tears and holes before washing.
Sometimes it feels as if dry cleaners and clothing manufacturers are in cahoots. You’ve just bought a gorgeous new outfit, maybe even on sale! However, once you’re home and take a look at the tag, it says “Dry Clean Only”. What? That’s so much work! Does it really need to be dry cleaned?
Instead of relying on the washing instructions take a look at the fabric
Instead of relying solely on the washing instructions, take a look at the fabric the item is made from. The type of fabric matters a lot more than what the manufacturer may suggest. In some cases, the quality of your washing machine and your hand washing skills make a difference, too.
Fabrics that don’t need dry cleaning
More often than not, cotton does not need to be dry cleaned. However, you’ll want to machine wash cold or warm with similar colors. Most cotton clothing has been preshrunk, too, so drying in a machine is safe.
Synthetic fabrics. These include polyester, nylon, spandex, acrylic and acetate. These won’t shrink, so it’s safe to wash in warm water. However, go gentle or low on drying because they can permanently wrinkle in a hot dryer. They also produce a lot of static in the dryer so use a dryer sheet or hang dry.
Fabrics that should be dry cleaned
With linen, you have a few options. You can hand wash in cold and air dry but it often requires ironing. Linen is made from flax fibers and is known for being cool and fresh in hot weather. If washed incorrectly, it can lose its crispness and clean finishing. Dry cleaning is often best for linen clothing.
Rayon is a tricky fabric because it’s considered semisynthetic. It is made from purified cellulose fiber. Dyes may bleed when washed and rayon can shrink or lose its shape when washed in warm water. Hand washing in cold water with mild detergent is an option, but it is generally safer to dry clean this fabric.
Silk is a natural material and thus is durable. Known to be a more luxurious fabric, it takes proper care to keep it soft and, yes, silky. The dyes in silk tend to bleed and that is why it should be dry cleaned or hand washed in cold water. You should also use a mild-detergent. Dry cleaning silk tends to be easier at this point, especially if it’s an article of clothing you really care about.
Wool is a sturdy fabric and should be dry cleaned whenever possible. When it’s not possible, hand wash in cold because it will shrink in any warm or hot water. It’s a durable fabric and will last a long time when cared for properly.
When it depends
As mentioned above, many nature fabrics can be hand washed and then air dried. However, this takes time and talent and you still run the risk of harming your clothes. If you’re particularly attached to certain articles or use them for work or dressy occasions, go ahead and dry clean. In some cases, items may be for household only like linen napkins, bed sheets or an apron. You may still prefer to use a dry cleaner but you can likely get away with hand washing them yourself.
If you have a really old washing machine, or rely on a laundromat to wash your clothes, opt to dry clean more often. You wouldn’t want a nice shirt or dress ruined because the machine is faulty.
Dry cleaning doesn’t have to be a lot of work
Lastly, dry cleaning does not have to be a lot of work. Professional cleaning will certainly save you from having to replace quality items in your wardrobe. Plan a certain time of the week or month that you can send off all necessary items to be cleaned. This will save you time and money when you’re not rushing off last minute to get a shirt cleaned for the next day. Don’t have time to make it to the cleaners yourself? No problem. DriveCleaning.com offers free dry cleaning pick-up and delivery right to your home!