How to Make Your Own Dry Cleaning Solvent for Clothing

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.

Shop Assistant Giving a Ticket to a Customer in a Dry Cleaners
credit: Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images
Avoid trips to the dry cleaner's by making your own dry cleaning solution at home.

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 4

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 5

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 6

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