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How to Read Clothing Labels: The Basics

Reading Clothing Labels

When you’re in a hurry to clean your clothes, you may not always read the labels on the items you’re tossing into the washing machine. Unfortunately, if you fail to read and follow labels on clothing, you can ruin your favorite items beyond repair. Taking the time to read the cleaning instructions on clothing labels is worth the extra moments as it avoids the hassle of damaged, shrunken, or rumpled items. Reading through and following label instructions helps you know exactly what to do on laundry day.

Machine Wash

This label is one of the most common for cleaning your clothing, but there are often further instructions about temperature and drying that you need to follow. Washing machines have various settings that allow you to adjust the water temperature in the different cycles. When a label doesn’t specify temperature, remember that hot water is tougher on fabrics than cold and can lead to shrinking. Hot water is sometimes necessary for tough stains, but it’s important to make sure the temperature won’t damage the fabric while removing the stain. If you’re unsure about proper stain removal, take the item to a professional cleaner. Following the machine wash, you can dry the item in the dryer (if the label says it’s okay) or hang it to dry naturally. Air-drying takes longer than machine drying but can be better for certain items of clothing.

Hand Wash

Delicates often have the hand wash label because the agitation and changing temperatures of the washing machine can cause damage. When you see the hand wash label, clean your clothing by filling a clean tub, sink, or washbasin with cold water and adding a few drops of your preferred mild detergent. Place the hand wash item in the water, knead gently for a few minutes, and then rinse until the soap is out of the garment. Lay the item flat to dry to ensure it retains its shape and fit. Remember that even though hand washing works for delicate items, it’s not the same as dry cleaning and shouldn’t be done on items with “dry clean only” labels.

Dry Clean Only

Dry cleaning clothing is one of the most gentle, effective, and efficient ways to clean your clothing items. While you can sometimes get away with tossing a hand wash item in the gentle cycle in your washing machine, there’s no setting on your appliance that can safely clean items with the dry clean only label. Dry clean only usually applies to items made of wool, silk, velvet, taffeta and other unique/exotic fabrics that can’t withstand the assault of water and agitation in a washing machine. When you don’t follow this label, you risk damaging your favorite, high-quality pieces of your wardrobe.

The better care you take of your clothing, the longer your clothing will last. Ensure that you always clean your clothing correctly by bringing your items to Embassy Cleaners for professional, experienced, gentle, and effective clothes cleaning services.

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Embassy is so far above other places I’ve used that I regret not discovering them sooner. Not only is the quality of their service exceptional (right down to the hangers they use), but they’re also environmentally conscious, and so friendly. The service is efficient and they communicate well when your items are ready for pickup. I can’t say enough good things about them.
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I’ve used Embassy Cleaners for the last eight years. They do a wonderful job. Expert cleaners of fine clothes and home furnishings and great tailors. Their service is excellent. They listen to all of my instructions and are extremely diligent.
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Excellent experience in all respects, e.g. friendly and honest staff, quality cleaning services for my oriental rugs, reasonable pricing, helpful customer service and punctual pickup/delivery service. I will continue to use Embassy Cleaners.
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I get my dry cleaning picked up and dropped off, I love this service. Life is so busy and it’s good to be able to take my mind off certain things, like my laundry. Thanks to the whole team.
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Been using them for the 3 years I’ve been here. Never, EVER, had a single issue. In fact, they are the best laundry/dry cleaner my shirts and other items have ever seen. Impeccable.
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I love this service. The clothes leave dirty and are returned clean and meticulously folded. My driver is always professional and picks up and drops off each week. I never have to do laundry again!
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