How to Clean Embellished Clothing


The 2014 Academy Awards are just four days away! But if this Awards Season has taken its toll on your sequin-adorned, rhinestone-studded, bejewelled and bedazzling party dresses, you’ll need a quick fix if you’re going to have them ready in time your Oscars party.

With a lot of embellished clothing, professional dry cleaning is the first port of call – just send it to LaundryRepublic, and our experienced team will take care of it for you!

But you could always try handwashing at home. Washing embellished clothing at home can seem daunting, particularly if your custom or designer clothing doesn’t come with detailed care labels.

Luckily, we at LaundryRepublic can walk you through how to wash your embellished dresses without losing all the beautiful detailing.

Firstly: make sure you know what you’re dealing with! Identify the material – some fabrics need to be dealt with a little differently. For example, if you’re dealing with a knit rather than woven fabric, make sure you don’t wring, stretch or hang-dry it – you’ll risk losing the shape. If you’re not sure about the material, check the label!


You’ll also want to check how the embellishments have been attached. Methods can include glue, sewing, rivets or pronged ring settings – often you can tell just by turning the garment inside out to see the stitching, settings or small glue dots that may not be visible on the outside of the garment. If the garment is lined, you can feel the reverse side through the lining with your fingers to determine what application method was used.

If glue has been used, be very careful not to use hot water for washing, as many adhesives can melt. With sewn embellishments, take particular care not to twist or wring the garment, as the tiny threads used to sew beads on could break, which could ruin the design!

The safest way to wash embellished dresses at home, even if they say they’re safe to machine wash, is by hand.

Wash the dress inside out in your kitchen sink, using warm water (remember, not too warm for knits!) and a small amount of mild liquid detergent. Another reason to avoid using hot water is that it can shrink your fabric or soften adhesives, and can ruin the finish on beads.

Rooting for a Brit flick win for 2014!

Rooting for a Brit flick win for 2014!

Don’t soak for more than a few minutes – again, you don’t want to damage the finish on your beads. Gently knead and swirl the garment in the soapy sink water to remove light soiling. For larger garments, you may want to use a bathtub to make rinsing easier!

When your dress is clean, drain the water and press down on the garment with your hands to press most of the water out. There will still be a lot of water in it, but you can cut down the drying time by popping the washed garment into an empty washing machine and use the gentle spin cycle to remove excess water. Don’t do this with velvet, though – it can cause permanent creases in the pile.

Woven fabrics that won’t stretch can then by dried by hanging, somewhere dry or outdoors, away from direct sunlight. For knits and other stretchy materials, lay them out on a flat clean surface, out of direct sun.

If your dress feels a bit stiff after air drying, just put it in a pillowcase and fluff it quickly in the dryer – but make sure you use a low heat, and no more than 5 minutes!

Be very careful when ironing your embellished clothing, and make sure the iron never comes into direct contact with any of your sequins or beads. Professionals use a press cloth to iron embellished clothing, but at home you can just cut a square out of an old t-shirt, and put this between the iron and the clothing. Make sure to select an appropriate heat setting – not too hot for fine silk and polyester. Don’t let the fabric get too hot, or embellishments could soften or crack, and adhesives could melt. If your embellishments are attached with glue, give the garment a couple of minutes to cool after ironing before you move it.

"Thanks to LR's top tips, our pearls have never been pearlier!"

“Thanks to LR’s top tips, our pearls have never been pearlier!”

Now you’re ready to party!

Flickr Photo credits:

nikoretroLiz WestKent CaptureEbbAndFlow

Time to pull your coats and wellies out of the closet!

Summer is already behind us (but was it really summer?) and we are storing our seasonal clothes away. Here are some top tips to help you protect your garments and leave them ready for next year!

1. Think for a moment: which items do you want to keep for next summer? If you have a garment you don’t wear any more, donate it! We’ll collect your unwanted clothes for the disability charity Scope to sell in their shops – over £7,000 so far this year!

2. Dry clean or wash your clothes, to preserve them and stop any stains setting in over the winter

3. Sort and pack items by type, in separate storage containers labelled to make it easier to find them next year. Make sure they’re airtight!

4. Place cedar chips in a old sock and put it in the container to keep the bugs away. Scent savers, such as rosemary or lavender, also repel them.

5. Finally, heap the containers under the bed or the higher shelves of the closet, to keep your clothes clean and fresh, ready for the  next summer season!

Inside a dry cleaning machine

A dry cleaning machine is best described as a mixture of a large domestic washing machine and a tumble dryer. The core of the machine is a perforated drum, commonly known as the ‘basket’, which has a capacity of 20-80lb and rotates within a shell. The clothes are loaded in the basket, while the shell holds the solvent.

During the wash cycle, the chamber is filled one third with solvent whilst rotating the clothing inside. The temperature used is slightly cooler than a common washing machine and a typical cycle lasts between 8-15 minutes, depending on fabric type and level of cleaning required.

When the cycle finishes, the solvent is drained out and sent to a distillation unit to separate any water from the solvent and remove impurities that may have been transferred by the garments. The garments are then rinsed with the distilled solvent to prevent discolouration.

After the rinse cycle,  the machine starts the drying cycle, where the garments are tumbled in warm air and the last traces of solvent are removed. Finally, the garments pass through a deodorising cycle which allows the circulation of cool outside air to leave them fresh and ready for pressing and finishing.

Decoding Laundry symbols

No one likes doing their laundry – it’s a chore, but it needs to be done (although it’s one that we can make much easier for you!). Knowing what the care symbols mean is a good start – cleaning something in the wrong way or at the wrong temperature can result in disaster.

Here’s a basic guide – we hope it’s useful!

Washing Instructions –


Bleaching Instructions –


 Ironing Instructions –


Tumble Drying instructions


Dry Cleaning Instructions –


If the garment is delicate or you are not sure which procedure is best for your clothes, hand it over to our experienced cleaning team for specialist treatment. LR is always happy to help!

Source:  Home Laundering Consultative Council

Working hard to be environmentally friendly!

Inevitably, dry cleaning and laundry consumes some energy and involves the use of some chemicals. However, we make every possible effort to minimise our impact on our environment. To provide an environmentally friendly dry cleaning service, LaundryRepublic has developed a environmental policy alongside the Ecovate Team at the University of Middlesex. Our key objectives are:

– Minimising waste by encouraging reuse and recycling – within our business activities and amongst our suppliers and clients: we provide all customers with a re-usable laundry bag which helps us to reduce plastic packaging. We also aim to recycle all of our hangers.

– Minimising CO2 emmissions: we use dual-fuel LPG vans, reducing our carbon footprint and producing zero particulate emissions to keep London’s air clean

– Modern machinery and super-efficient filters mean we minimize the energy, water and chemicals

At LaundryRepublic we are committed to continually improving our environmental performance, periodically reviewing our environmental policy and setting targets for ongoing improvements. In the near future, we aim to be a carbon neutral dry cleaner, using an accredited program to offset the greenhouse gas emissions generated by our activities.

LaundryRepublic behind the scenes

Since I started working at LaundryRepublic I’ve spoken to a lot of people who aren’t sure what the process behind dry cleaning actually involves. So here’s a little information on what goes on behind the scenes here at LaundryRepublic:

Our drivers collect all the orders from lockers or concierges and bring them back to LaundryRepublic HQ . Our team is then ready to get to work! Each garment of clothing goes through these steps whilst it’s with us :

Clothes processing – our team go through every order and count the items, and log them in the system (e.g. blouse, shirts) and examine the garments for stains or anything that may need repair. Each item is then tagged with an order number. All the clothes processing is video recorded.

Stain pre-treatment –  we pre-treat tough stains with special cleaning agents before washing/dry cleaning to try our best to make sure they are removed

Laundry and dry cleaning –Next step is to wash and dry clean the clothes according to the manufacturer’s care label or customer’s instruction. For wash laundry loads, our laundry team take great care to wash colours and whites separately to avoid colours running. Some delicate fabrics need dry cleaning, which means that the cleaning process is made using a liquid chemical solvent instead of water.  The clothes are loaded into a machine which looks a lot like a normal domestic machine but usually washes at a temperature slightly cooler

than a wash at home.

Post Spotting – Our dry cleaning team will examine the clothes, if any stains remain our team tries to remove them with special equipment and chemicals using steam, water, vacuum and air. This process will clean the majority of soil and spots, however some stains may sometimes prove to be very persistent.

Finishing – The final phase of the process includes finishing, pressing, steaming, ironing, and making any necessary repairs.

Quality check and orders assembly – After the clothing has been washed or dry cleaned, every garment goes through quality control to ensure a high quality finish for our customers every time. The orders are then re-assembled and packaged with our personalised LaundryRepublic bags.

The orders are now ready to be delivered by our drivers back to our customers. And that’s it, simple really!

Our clothes recycling scheme collects over 1,000kg so far in 2012 for Scope!

Dry cleaning in the UK has a bad reputation when it comes to environmental and social responsibility, with some justification. At LR, we’ve been working with the Ecovate Team at the University of Middlesex to change this, and a core part of our programme is the clothes recycling service we offer on behalf of Scope, the UK’s leading disability charity for children and adults. We provide all of our customers with Scope’s clothes recycling bags, and collect any clothes they want to donate with their next order.

In 2012 alone we’ve already collected over 1,000 kg of donated clothing, keeping a huge volume of clothing out of landfill and raising thousands of pounds for Scope. Thanks to everyone for their generosity!

Scope supports disabled people and their families, providing residential care, supported independent living schemes, short breaks, and employment and training. And Scope’s award-winning venture philanthropy projects set them apart from other charities – instead of spending all funds raised directly on charitable projects, they invest some donations and donor loans in new Scope shops, which can then generate even greater sums for their good work with disabled people. The donations from our customers help to stock these shops!

You can find out more about Scope’s brilliant work here:, and about their venture philanthropy project here:

24 Hour Laundry People

What most annoys you about ordinary dry cleaners? If you said “opening hours” you are not alone. We ran an extensive survey and the results were clear: restrictive opening hours and distance from home won the Golden Bugbear awards. Luckily, LaundryRepublic solves both these problems, because our secure drop-off lockers sit in residential buildings throughout London and mean you can drop off your laundry at any time of day and don’t have to walk further than the lobby! Find out more about how LaundryRepublic works.

Are rainy days good for dry cleaners?

Rainy days are good for dry cleaners. Water leaves marks when it dries; rainwater is often dirty with particulates; wool reveals its pungent odour when wet; and trouser hems drag in muddy puddles. Today is miserable. Tomorrow won’t be much better. We’re looking forward to collecting mucky trousers and watermarked dresses next week! Intrigued by how anyone can write 100 words analysing rain and dry cleaning? Visit our website to find out more.