How to Make Your Own Dry Cleaning Solvent for Clothing

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Unscented laundry detergent

  • Water

  • Paper towel

  • Pillowcase

  • Safety pin

  • Dryer

  • Wheat bran

  • White vinegar

Avoid trips to the dry cleaner's by making your own dry cleaning solution at home.
Image Credit: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

Many people shy away from garments marked "dry clean only" because of the costs and chemicals associated with commercial dry cleaning. While you can occasionally hand-wash many dry clean-only items, sometimes a dry cleaning method is necessary if you want to keep your clothes looking fresh and clean. While homemade dry cleaning solvents may not be as thorough as commercial solutions, there are cost effective and safe ways to perk up special clothing items and keep them looking sharp.


Video of the Day

Detergent-Based Solvent

Step 1

Dilute regular unscented laundry detergent in water at a 1-to-20 ratio. If your goal is to avoid the chemicals in regular dry cleaning solution, choose a detergent that is marked as being green or environmentally friendly.

Step 2

Dab the detergent solution with a paper towel all over the garment you wish to clean. Pay special attention to areas that are stained or discolored. Place the garment in a slightly damp pillowcase. Fold over the top of the pillowcase and secure with a safety pin.


Step 3

Place the pillowcase in the dryer and set the heat to low. Let the pillowcase tumble for 20 minutes. Remove the garment from the pillowcase and hang it in an open area so it can air out.

Wheat Bran-Based Solvent

Step 1

Make a completely chemical-free solution by mixing a cup of wheat bran with white vinegar. Add the vinegar one drop at a time until the wheat bran binds together in a large clump.

Step 2

Place the garment you need to clean in a dry pillowcase. Add the wheat bran clump and fold over the opening of the pillowcase. Shake the pillowcase vigorously for a minute or two so the wheat bran makes contact with the entire garment.

Step 3

Remove the garment from the pillowcase and shake off any excess wheat bran.


Maintain the condition of your garment by inspecting it for any damage such as missing buttons, broken zippers or small rips each time you clean it.


Use these cleaning methods on only cloth items. Do not attempt to use with woolen or leather items.



Lisbeth Booth

As a professional journalist since 1998, Lisbeth Booth has worked as a writer and an editor at several magazines. Her career has focused on music and film criticism but she has also written about lifestyle topics such as parenting and home design. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Calgary.