How To Wash A Dry Clean Only Wool Coat

How To Wash A Dry Clean Only Wool Coat

When it comes to caring for your beloved dry clean only wool coat, you may be surprised to learn that there is a safe and effective way to wash it at home. No need to rush it to the dry cleaner every time it gets a little grimy. With the right technique, you can keep your coat looking fresh and clean without the hassle and expense of professional dry cleaning.

Historically, wool has been known for its durability and natural ability to repel dirt and stains. In fact, wool fibers have a protective outer layer that helps prevent spills from soaking into the fabric. However, as with any garment, over time wool coats can accumulate dirt, dust, and odors that require cleaning. The key to safely washing a dry clean only wool coat lies in using gentle products and taking the proper precautions to preserve its quality and shape. By following a few simple steps, you can extend the life of your coat and keep it looking its best for years to come.



How To Wash A Dry Clean Only Wool Coat

Understanding the Care Label: Dry Clean Only

Dry clean only wool coats can be a wardrobe staple for chilly weather, but what happens when it's time to clean them? The care label often suggests taking them to a professional dry cleaner, but did you know that you can actually wash a dry clean only wool coat at home?

This article will guide you through the process of correctly washing a dry clean only wool coat to ensure its longevity and to maintain its appearance. By following these instructions, you'll be able to clean your wool coat without the need for a trip to the dry cleaner and save both time and money.

Preparation and Spot Cleaning

Before proceeding with washing your dry clean only wool coat, it's important to prepare the garment and address any spots or stains. Here's what you should do:

  • Check the care label: Ensure that your wool coat is labeled as "dry clean only" and not "spot clean only." Spot cleaning instructions are different, and you should not attempt to wash the coat if it is specified as "spot clean only."
  • Spot clean the stains: If you notice any stains or spots on your coat, gently dab them with a damp cloth or sponge. Use a mild detergent or a stain remover specifically designed for wool. Avoid rubbing the stain, as it can damage the fibers.
  • Allow the coat to air dry: After spot cleaning, allow the coat to air dry completely before proceeding with the washing process. Hanging it in a well-ventilated area or outdoors will help eliminate any odors.

By taking the time to prepare your dry clean only wool coat and spot clean any stains, you'll ensure that the washing process is more effective and prevent any damage to the garment.

Hand Washing the Wool Coat

Hand washing your dry clean only wool coat is the most gentle way to clean it and preserve its quality. Follow these steps to hand wash your wool coat:

  • Fill a basin with lukewarm water: Avoid using hot water, as it can shrink or felt the wool. Lukewarm water is gentle on the fibers and helps maintain the coat's shape.
  • Add a gentle wool detergent: Use a detergent specifically formulated for wool or a mild, pH-neutral soap. Avoid using harsh chemicals or regular laundry detergents, as they can damage the fibers.
  • Gently agitate the coat: Immerse the coat in the water and gently swish it around. Do not scrub, as it can cause pilling or distortion of the fabric. Pay extra attention to areas prone to stains, such as the collar or cuffs.
  • Rinse in clean water: Drain the soapy water and refill the basin with clean, lukewarm water. Gently swish the coat around to remove any remaining detergent.

Hand washing your dry clean only wool coat ensures that you have control over the process and can minimize any potential damage. It's important to handle the coat gently and avoid any rough agitation or twisting.

Drying and Reshaping the Wool Coat

Once you have finished washing your dry clean only wool coat, it's time to dry and reshape it properly:

  • Gently squeeze out excess water: To remove excess water from the coat, press it gently against the sides of the basin. Avoid wringing or twisting, as it can distort the shape of the coat.
  • Roll in a towel: Lay a clean, dry towel flat and place the coat on top. Roll the towel tightly, starting from one end, to gently absorb moisture from the coat.
  • Reshape and lay flat to dry: After removing the coat from the towel, reshape it by smoothing any wrinkles or creases with your hands. Lay the coat flat on a clean, dry surface away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Turn the coat over occasionally to ensure even drying.

Avoid hanging the wet wool coat, as it can stretch or lose its shape. By properly drying and reshaping the coat, you'll ensure that it maintains its original fit and appearance.

Using the Delicate Cycle on your Washing Machine

If you prefer to use a washing machine to clean your dry clean only wool coat, you can utilize the delicate cycle to minimize the risk of damage. Here's how:

  • Check the care label: Ensure that the coat is labeled as "dry clean only," and the care label allows for machine washing on the delicate cycle. Some wool coats may not be suitable for machine washing.
  • Place the coat in a mesh laundry bag: To protect the wool coat from friction and potential damage, place it in a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase. This will help minimize the risk of pilling or snagging.
  • Add a small amount of gentle wool detergent: Use a detergent specifically formulated for wool or a mild, pH-neutral soap. Avoid using an excessive amount of detergent.
  • Select the delicate cycle and cold water: Set your washing machine to the delicate cycle and use cold water. Hot water can shrink or felt the wool. The delicate cycle ensures a gentler wash and spin cycle, minimizing the risk of damage.
  • Avoid using fabric softener: Fabric softener can leave a residue on wool fibers, affecting their natural properties. Skip the fabric softener and opt for vinegar as a natural fabric conditioner if desired.

Using the delicate cycle on your washing machine can be a convenient option for cleaning a dry clean only wool coat. However, always check the care label and follow the manufacturer's instructions to ensure proper care.

Removing Wrinkles and Refreshing the Wool Coat

After cleaning your dry clean only wool coat, you may notice some wrinkles or want to refresh its appearance. Here are a few tips to remove wrinkles and revitalize the coat:

  • Steam the coat: Hang the coat in a bathroom while taking a hot shower to allow the steam to naturally remove wrinkles. Alternatively, use a handheld steamer or a garment steamer to steam the coat, gently smoothing out any creases.
  • Use a fabric brush or garment steamer: For smaller wrinkles, gently brush the fabric with a fabric brush or use a garment steamer to remove them. Always follow the grain of the fabric to avoid causing damage.
  • Avoid using an iron: Ironing can be too harsh for wool fibers and may lead to irreversible damage. If necessary, use a pressing cloth and a low-temperature setting on your iron, but exercise caution.

Removing wrinkles and refreshing your dry clean only wool coat can help restore its sleek appearance and ensure you always look polished.

Additional Considerations for Washing a Dry Clean Only Wool Coat

When it comes to washing a dry clean only wool coat, there are a few additional considerations to keep in mind:

Storage and Maintenance

Proper storage and maintenance are key to extending the lifespan of your wool coat. Here are a few tips:

  • Clean the coat before storing: Always clean your wool coat before storing it for an extended period. Dirt and stains left untreated can attract moths and other pests.
  • Choose a breathable garment bag: Store your wool coat in a breathable garment bag to protect it from dust, moths, and other potential hazards. Avoid using plastic bags, as they can trap moisture and promote mildew growth.
  • Keep away from direct sunlight and heat: Prolonged exposure to sunlight and heat can fade and damage the wool fibers. Store your coat in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and any heat sources.

Professional Cleaning for Stubborn Stains or High-Quality Coats

If your dry clean only wool coat has stubborn stains or is of high-quality and delicate construction, it's advisable to seek professional cleaning. Professional cleaners have the expertise and specialized equipment to handle these situations safely.

Always communicate the specific stains or concerns to the professional cleaner to ensure they apply the appropriate treatment and cleaning methods.

Test for Colorfastness and Shrinkage

Before washing your dry clean only wool coat, it's essential to test for colorfastness and shrinkage:

  • Colorfastness test: Dampen a small, inconspicuous area of the coat with water and gently blot it with a white cloth. If the color transfers to the cloth, the coat is not colorfast, and it may bleed during washing. In such cases, it's best to take the coat to a professional cleaner.
  • Shrinkage test: To test for potential shrinkage, dampen a small hidden area of the coat and leave it to dry. Check for any significant changes in size or shape. If there is shrinkage, it's advisable to take the coat to a professional cleaner.

Testing for colorfastness and shrinkage helps prevent irreversible damage to your dry clean only wool coat. If you're unsure or concerned about the outcome, it's best to consult a professional cleaner.

Washing a dry clean only wool coat at home can be a cost-effective and convenient option if done correctly. By following these guidelines and considering additional factors, you can maintain the cleanliness and integrity of your wool coat without compromising its quality.


How To Wash A Dry Clean Only Wool Coat

Proper Care for Dry Clean Only Wool Coats

Wool coats are a staple in many wardrobes, but they often come with the dreaded "dry clean only" label. While it may seem challenging to clean these coats at home, with proper care, it is possible to maintain their appearance and longevity. Here are some professional tips on how to wash a dry clean only wool coat:

Spot Cleaning

If your wool coat has a small stain, you can try spot cleaning it. Gently blot the stained area with a clean cloth dampened with mild detergent and lukewarm water. Avoid rubbing the stain, as it can damage the fabric.

Professional Dry Cleaning

If your wool coat is heavily soiled or has a large stain, it is best to take it to a professional dry cleaner. They have the expertise and equipment to effectively clean and preserve your coat without causing damage.

Storage and Maintenance

When not in use, store your wool coat in a breathable garment bag to protect it from dust and moths. Additionally, avoid hanging it on a tight-fitting hanger to prevent distortion. If your coat gets wrinkled, hang it in a steamy bathroom to allow the moisture to release the wrinkles naturally.


Key Takeaways for "how to wash a dry clean only wool coat"

  • Read the care label on your wool coat to determine if it is dry clean only.
  • Spot clean any stains or spills on your wool coat before washing.
  • Use a gentle wool detergent and cold water to hand wash your dry clean only wool coat.
  • Do not wring or twist the coat while washing, instead gently squeeze out excess water.
  • After washing, reshape the coat and lay it flat to dry away from direct sunlight.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some commonly asked questions about washing a dry clean only wool coat:

1. Can I wash a dry clean only wool coat at home?

It is generally not recommended to wash a dry clean only wool coat at home. The label instructs you to dry clean it to avoid any potential damage that may occur during the washing process. Dry cleaning ensures that the delicate fibers of the wool are properly cared for and maintained.

However, if you are confident in your ability to properly hand wash the wool coat without causing any damage, you can try using a gentle wool detergent and carefully following the instructions for hand washing wool garments.

2. How can I spot clean a stain on my dry clean only wool coat?

If you have a small stain on your dry clean only wool coat, you can try spot cleaning it using a mild detergent and water. Dampen a clean cloth with the detergent solution and gently blot the stained area. Avoid rubbing the stain, as this can cause damage to the wool fibers.

After blotting the stain, use a clean cloth dampened with plain water to rinse the area. Blot again to remove any excess moisture. Allow the coat to air dry completely before wearing or storing it.

3. Can I use a regular washing machine for my dry clean only wool coat?

Using a regular washing machine for a dry clean only wool coat is not recommended. The agitation and harsh spinning of a washing machine can cause the wool fibers to become misshapen and possibly lead to shrinkage.

If you absolutely need to clean your wool coat at home, consider using a specialized wool cycle on a front-loading or top-loading washing machine. Be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions and use a gentle wool detergent to minimize any potential damage.

4. How should I store my dry clean only wool coat?

When storing your dry clean only wool coat, it is important to protect it from moths, moisture, and damage. Before storing, make sure the coat is clean and dry to prevent any potential mold or mildew growth.

Use a breathable garment bag to store the coat, and consider adding moth repellent sachets or cedar balls to deter pests. Avoid hanging the coat on a wire hanger, as it can cause the shoulders to stretch out of shape. Instead, use a padded hanger or fold the coat neatly.

5. Can I iron a dry clean only wool coat?

Ironing a dry clean only wool coat is not recommended. Heat from an iron can damage the delicate wool fibers and lead to irreversible damage, such as melting or scorching the fabric.

If your coat has wrinkles, you can try steaming it with a handheld garment steamer or hanging it in a steamy bathroom to help release the wrinkles. If the wrinkles persist, consider taking the coat to a professional dry cleaner who can safely remove them.



To recap, washing a dry clean only wool coat requires extra care to ensure its longevity and preserve its quality. Start by spot treating any stains before proceeding with hand washing. Use a gentle wool detergent in cold water, making sure to submerge the coat fully and gently agitate the water. Rinse thoroughly and avoid wringing or twisting the coat to prevent any damage.

After washing, carefully reshape the coat to its original form and lay it flat to dry. Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources that could potentially shrink or distort the wool fabric. Once dry, give the coat a light steam or press on low heat to remove any remaining wrinkles. Finally, store the coat in a cool, dry place to protect it from moths and other pests. With these steps, you can successfully wash and care for your dry clean only wool coat, keeping it in excellent condition for many seasons to come.


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