If you buy an article of clothing that is marked "dry clean only," you want to pay attention to those instructions. Trying to launder those items yourself, even if you hand wash them, can result in stretched, shrunken, or otherwise ruined garments. Note some questions you might have about taking your clothes to the dry cleaners and the process overall, so you know your garments are always safe and in good condition.
Can altered garments be dry cleaned?
If the alternation was of poor quality, a seam might come loose simply because of the alteration itself. You might find this to be true no matter how you launder the garment, as even hand washing can mean some tugging and pulling at that seam. If the alteration was of good quality, however, and strong threads were used along with the right type of stitch, the garment should hold up fine when dry cleaned.
Should garments be stored in the plastic bag used by the dry cleaner?
The plastic bag used by the dry cleaner is just meant to protect your garments on the way home. They are not meant as a long-term storage solution; one reason for this is that your garments might have a distinct odor when they come back from the cleaners. This is due to the chemicals used in the dry cleaning process. If you store your garments in that bag, this odor may never dissipate. Letting your garments air out a bit after cleaning can reduce that smell. The bag used by the dry cleaner is also very thin and lightweight and may not protect your garments from damage when in your closet. An actual garment bag is often a better choice. The dry cleaner's bag is often recyclable so you can add it to your home's recycling or use it as a trash liner if you prefer.
Can a dry cleaner fix a garment that has shrunk or stretched?
Very often when the fabric of a garment has shrunk or stretched, there is little anyone can do to actually fix it. A garment that has stretched may be taken in by a tailor if the material is still salvageable, and a tailor may be able to add panels in certain areas to make a shrunken garment larger. However, this is usually the only way to address a piece that has become shrunken or stretched and not typically a service offered by most dry cleaners.