Can You Iron Something That's 'Dry Clean Only'? The Answer.

April 19, 2016 by Justine Schwartz
shefinds | Style

We’ve all been there. You have a favorite top or dress that is “dry clean only,” but when you pull it out of the closet to wear it, you see wrinkles or creases that warrant an iron job. Maybe your closet is packed together too tightly (like mine), so clothes get wrinkled when you hang them–or maybe you’ve worn something once or twice since dry cleaning it last. Hey–no shame in the game.

So, anyways–back to the question: can you iron something that says “dry clean only”? Yes! Mon cheri, the answer is yes! Here’s how:

1) First step is to make sure that the steam function on your iron is turned OFF. If a garment is dry clean only, it usually means that it cannot get wet (hence the word “dry”). Don’t apply water to the item in any capacity–including through your iron’s steam setting.

2) Second step is to turn the iron on a low setting–ie. silk or synthetic. If the lowest setting does not harm the garment but also doesn’t help the wrinkle situation at all, you can increase the heat setting and test it on a small patch.

3) Place a sheet, dish towel, towel–any cloth really–between your dry-clean-only item and the iron face. Covering the iron with a cloth might be overkill for some garments (and might make the de-wrinkling process slightly less effective), but it’s better to be safe than sorry, at least to start.

This is the most cautious approach: the lowest setting and a cloth cover. If the technique doesn’t work, raise the temp of the iron or use a thinner layer of cloth (or none at all) to get the desired result. Remember, it’s not worth ruining the clothing because you’re impatient about the wrinkles going away fast enough. If you can’t get the garment to look quite right–just send it back out to be dry cleaned or try the blow dryer trick.


Editorial Director

Justine Schwartz is a veteran women's lifestyle editor; she's written extensively about style & beauty tips, health advice and wedding planning for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in New York Magazine, Huffington Post and New York Weddings. Justine has been with SheFinds since 2010; you can reach her via email at [email protected]

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