Do you really need to dry clean your clothes?

Do Your Clothes Really Need To Be Dry Cleaned?
Do Your Clothes Really Need To Be Dry Cleaned?

Americans spend about $8 billion on dry cleaning every year, but do we really need to be dropping all that dough? Turns out, some of those tag instructions that say "Dry Clean Only" aren't necessarily true. ABC reports, "The manufacturer only has to list what they consider the preferred method to be."

"It's called low labeling. The FTC only requires manufacturers to list one method of safe care, so they often go with the most conservative one."

So what kinds of clothing really should be taken to a dry cleaner? And what can you just wash at home? A writer for Real Simple breaks it down for us.

Clothing made out of fabric such as wool, velvet, taffeta or acetate should always be brought to the professionals, as well as anything with embellishments.

But clothes made from cashmere, cotton or polyester can either be hand washed or thrown in the washer on a gentle cycle at home.

The Huffington Post says most light-colored clothes can be washed at home, but some dark-colored fabrics such as silks should usually be taken to the dry cleaners because the colors could bleed or become discolored. Nobody wants their white pants turned pink, right?

Homemaking guru Martha Stewart's website lists some tips to avoid having to take your clothes to the dry cleaners on a regular basis.

Apply deodorant, hair spray, and perfume before putting your clothes on so the chemicals won't rub off onto your clothes. If you get a stain, remove it immediately. And make sure you clothes have plenty of room to breathe in your closet.