Make a CHOICE – do you trust the dryclean label in your clothes?

I always joke about the fact that I can’t have nice things because I have a tendency to spill red wine/spaghetti sauce/olive oil on expensive clothes, while the bargain finds are the ones that I wear for four seasons in a row. And while I joke, it’s totally the truth. My $150 silk singlet from Country Road has a lovely olive oil salad dressing on the chest during the first outing. Did I mention it was cream? And dry clean only.

Ahhh… dry clean only. The bane of any wardrobe.

Do you follow the care instructions inside your clothes? Does it have any influence over what you purchase?

Interestingly enough, a report by consumer watchdog CHOICE landed on my desk last week (you know I love my stats) and in most cases when things go wrong with your drycleaner, it’s actually the garment manufacturers fault, and not the drycleaner.

CHOICE tells us that the dry clean only label is where the problem starts (ironic, no?) Care labelling is mandatory in all clothing in Australia, but a dry clean only tag should only go in something when cleaning it with water will cause shrinkage, change in shape or colour change. Garments are also commonly incorrectly marked with the chemicals that can be used – so it may not be your drycleaners fault when your $500 Zimmerman dress comes back in a new size and colour (my dress wasn’t pink? And I’m not a size 4?)

While our designers are being overly cautious with their care labels, do you follow them? Personally, when I got salad dressing on my expensive singlet I used baby powder to get the oil out and then very cautiously hand washed it. It’s not that I don’t trust my drycleaner, but how can I as a regular person understand what the codes on the care tag mean and if it’s actually the right thing.

According to the CHOICE report, Sass & Bide have admitted they have labelled things incorrectly – how do we know who else does or doesn’t? Do you know the difference between the P and the F symbol? Didn’t think so.

I have a bag of winter clothes that need to go to the dry cleaners, but after reading this report I’m not so sure if I will now. Does someone want to come round and do my hand washing for me?

Thanks to CHOICE for sending me this report – fascinating reading! Check out for more details.

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