I Tried This At-Home Dry Cleaning Kit—Here's What Happened

Spoiler alert: I wasn’t expecting a do-it-yourself dry clean bag to work out so well.

Woman doing laundry -- Dryel Home Dry Cleaning Kit Review
Photo: Hero Images/Getty Images

Dry cleaning is the one expense that I've always considered unavoidable. I'm not typically willing to put my clothes at risk by trying to figure something out at home. If there is any question about whether or not a garment should be dry cleaned, I usually take the conservative route.

That said, it's expensive and inconvenient. I've spent at least $30 a month, and don't even get me started about what a time-waster it is to drop it off and pick it up. So, when I discovered that there was an at-home dry cleaning kit, my curiosity was piqued, and I wanted nothing more than to review the product and have it work out. Here's how it went.

At Home Dry Cleaning

The kit I purchased was the Dryel Dry Cleaner Starter Kit ($10.99, target.com). While cutting corners when it comes to clothing (especially expensive clothing) still makes me nervous, I figured it was worth the potential money saved if the kit worked. To be safe, I started with some blouses and t-shirts that I was fairly confident couldn't be messed up. Then, I did the unthinkable (for me, at least): I used the kit with a silk blouse and a dress that has a silk liner with a delicate overlay. Here's how it works:

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Remove any stubborn stains with a detergent pen.

You start with the included stain-removing pen. Much like a Tide pen, it's a squeeze dispenser that disperses a small amount of cleaning liquid. The packaging instructs you to use the pen's rubber tip like an eraser on a stain. (I tried it on a cotton t-shirt that had a ketchup stain, as well as a polyester blouse that had a grease stain—and both came out of the dryer completely clean.)

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Tackle tough odors with a special spray.

The next step in the kit is an odor and wrinkle release spray, which should be used to target areas where odors arise. The spray is in a smaller bottle, but I would estimate that there's enough liquid for 10 to 15 washes. It smells light and fresh, but it's not overwhelming.

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Fill the at-home dry clean bag, then put that in the dryer.

After using the pen and the spray, you drop up to five pieces of clothing in a reusable dry cleaning bag, which is included in the kit. In addition to the clothes, the kit comes with four dryer sheets that look and feel like larger wet wipes. These sheets are meant to create steam inside the bag once it's zipped shut and placed in the dryer. The instructions state to run the dryer on medium heat for up to 30 minutes.

The Results

Even when washing different fabrics, this home dry cleaning kit worked like a charm. By just looking at my clothes, you wouldn't know that they weren't professionally cleaned. I left the first batch of clothes in the dryer for about 15 minutes and the next batch, which contained the dress and the silk blouse, for about 20 minutes.

While the clothes were a little wrinkled, they smelled fresh and clean, and the stains were completely removed. I was still a little worried about shrinkage, especially in the cotton t-shirt, but the process didn't impact any of the items' sizes at all. Also, I like that the kit is very small because it would be perfect for cleaning clothing while traveling (so long as you have dryer access).


My only critique is that the refill kits ($11.29, target.com) come with the spray, pen, and dryer sheets, but I think you'd really only need more sheets. The pen and the spray bottle come with much more product than I could imagine using on just four loads of laundry. But if that's the (much smaller!) price I have to pay to dodge the dry cleaners, so be it.

While I still wouldn't trust super delicate pieces or vintage clothing—more because of the roughness of the dryer than the quality of the kit—I will definitely be implementing this into my laundry routine.

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