Make it Yourself: How to Refresh Dry-Clean-Only Clothing

Believe it or not, I still have a few  clothes — mostly sweaters and a few dresses — from before I had kids that need to be dry-cleaned.  Unfortunately, there are many reasons why you might not want to hurry to the dry-cleaner’s every week. Obviously, the cost every week can make a dent in the budget, but the most distressing reason you might want to avoid the dry-cleaner’s is that some of the chemicals used are harmful to your health — even carcinogenic.

While my at-home solution will not get out serious stains, it works great for when the item just needs a refresher.  And you can do it with items you probably already have on hand!

Dry-Clean-Only Clothing Refresher


  • An old, but clean pillowcase
  • piece of string or twine
  • cotton cloth (like the "unpaper" towels I use here)
  • vinegar
  • scented essential oils -- lavender or orange work well


  1. Mix 2 tbsp vinegar with about 5 drops of your essential oil
  2. Saturate the cotton cloth with this mixture
  3. Place the wet cloth into the pillowcase with the item to be cleaned
  4. Tie it closed with your string
  5. Throw the whole thing in the dryer on medium heat for 20-30 minutes, OR, weather permitting, hang the bag outside on a warm, sunny day

*Note: Do not use this on extremely delicate fabrics like silk. I do this primarily for sweaters and pants.

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