Dry Cleaning Vs. Steam Cleaning Clothes

by Abby Slutsky ; Updated September 28, 2017

Do some research before you dry-clean your clothes.

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You may own some clothes that can't be washed in a washing machine. You might decide to take them to a dry cleaner or steam clean them, but you should be aware of the differences before deciding on your cleaning method.


A machine is used to dry-clean clothes, usually with a chemical called perchlorethylene. In contrast, steam cleaning involves manually holding a steamer near the clothes to remove odors and wrinkles.


Over time, an at-home steam cleaner, which uses water as opposed to expensive chemical cleaners and can be self-operated, will be less expensive than taking your clothes to a dry cleaner.


Steam cleaning your clothes avoids the need to deliver and retrieve them from a dry cleaner. Steam cleaning also allows clothes to be ready faster, as you have complete control over how quickly they are cleaned.


Because steam cleaners use water to clean clothes, there are no dangerous chemicals like in dry cleaning.

Clothing Condition

Home steam cleaning allows you to control the condition of your clothes. The cleaned clothing won't accidentally be smashed against other dry-cleaned garments in a shop, and you will not have to worry about damaged cloth or missing buttons.

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