What does “Spot Clean Only” Mean?

Summer is a season packed full of weddings, parties, company banquets/trips and other special events.  Most likely if a function such as this is on your calendar, you’ve thought about buying something special for the occasion.  Before you purchase that unique and special item, consult our Q&A below to understand what it means if the label says “spot clean only”.

What items are “spot clean only”?

A “Spot clean only” care label is typically found on higher end designer items that could be hand-made, fragile, and/or contain elaborate details such as lace, beading, or a blend of fine fabrics and dyes.

What does “spot clean only” mean?

A “Spot clean only” label means that you can only clean the visible spot or stain by hand without subjecting the garment to any dry cleaning, wet cleaning, hand-washing and/or restoration process.

Can you “carefully” dry clean or launder a “spot clean only” item?

There is no safe way of cleaning the entire garment in a commercial cleaning machine.  Damage to the garment may result if put through the professional dry cleaning process. Therefore, it must be treated by hand using a local spotting agent in the area of the spot or stain.

How can you care for a “spot clean only” item?

It is important when wearing a “spot clean only” item that you are particularly careful not to get the item heavily soiled or spotted since it cannot be dry cleaned or laundered.

Are there any risks to spot cleaning a “spot clean only” item?

Because spot cleaning usually requires either wet cleaning (water-based cleaning technique) or dry cleaning (solvent-based cleaning technique) to remove the spotting agent, it might be possible to remove the spot but leave a visible and undesired “ring” of spotting agent on the garment.  There may be residual watermarks from the cleaning solvents, or the area that was cleaned will still stand out because it is in fact cleaner than the rest of the garment.  Many dry-cleaners will not “spot clean” an item that says “spot clean only” for fear of causing more damage to the item.

What do you do if you get a spot or stain on your “spot clean only” garment?

Prior to having your “Spot clean only” garment cleaned by your dry cleaner, discuss the garment with them.  They can advise you as to any risks associated and detail the results you can or cannot expect from the spot cleaning.  A dry cleaner that regularly handles high end garments should not have a problem servicing this garment for you.

Can Classic Cleaners clean my “spot clean only” garment?

Although many dry cleaners do not clean “spot clean only” garments, Classic Cleaners is happy to tackle your finer wear.  Our talented spotters have the experience needed to handle such challenges.  We’ll be sure to discuss the expectation with you prior to cleaning the item so that you are aware of the risks and results expected with spot cleaning.

– S.O.