Does Dry Cleaning Fade Clothes

Does Dry Cleaning Fade Clothes

Does Dry Cleaning Fade Clothes. Dry cleaning is a popular method for cleaning delicate and unique garments that cannot withstand regular washing. However, many people wonder whether dry cleaning can cause their clothes to fade over time. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the effects of dry cleaning on clothing, providing insights, tips, and answers to common questions regarding fading concerns.

Understanding Dry Cleaning

  • What Is Dry Cleaning? Dry cleaning uses a solvent (typically perchloroethylene or hydrocarbon) instead of water to remove stains and dirt from fabrics. It is often preferred for garments made of delicate materials or those with intricate details that may be damaged by traditional washing.
  • The Dry Cleaning Process: The dry cleaning process involves several steps: 
  • Pre-treatment: Stains and spots are treated before the garment is placed in the dry cleaning machine.
  • Cleaning: The garment is cleaned in a solvent-based machine.
  • Rinsing: Residues are rinsed off.
  • Drying: The garment is dried, and any remaining solvent evaporates.
  • Post-treatment: If necessary, the garment may undergo additional treatments such as steaming, pressing, or hand-finishing.

Factors That Can Cause Fading

Fading of clothing can occur due to various factors, and dry cleaning may contribute to it indirectly. Here are some common reasons for disappearing:

  • Sunlight Exposure: Exposure to sunlight over time can cause colors to fade, especially in clothing made of natural fibers like cotton and linen. Dry cleaning alone is not responsible for this fading, but it can weaken fabrics, making them more susceptible to damage from UV rays.
  • Use of Harsh Chemicals: While dry cleaning solvents are designed to be gentle on fabrics, some garments may be exposed to harsh chemicals if not correctly handled or if the dry cleaning establishment does not follow best practices.
  • Repeated Cleaning: Frequent dry cleaning can lead to cumulative damage over time, potentially causing colors to appear less vibrant. This is why it is advisable to dry clean only when necessary and follow care label instructions.

How to Minimize Fading During Dry Cleaning

To minimize the risk of fading during the dry cleaning process, consider these tips:

  • Choose a Reputable Dry Cleaner: Select a reputable dry cleaning establishment that uses high-quality solvents and follows proper handling and care procedures.
  • Inspect the Garment: Before sending your clothing for dry cleaning, inspect it for any existing damage, stains, or fading. Inform the dry cleaner of any issues so they can take extra care.
  • Follow Care Labels: Pay attention to the care labels on your garments. These labels provide valuable information on cleaning and adequately caring for your clothing.
  • Limit Dry Cleaning: Avoid unnecessary dry cleaning by spot-cleaning stains when possible and opting for less abrasive cleaning methods when appropriate.


Can dry cleaning make colors fade faster?

Dry cleaning itself does not inherently cause colors to fade. However, repeated or improper dry cleaning and exposure to other fading factors, like sunlight, can contribute to color fading over time.

Are there any alternative cleaning methods that do not fade clothes?

Hand washing with gentle detergents and cold water is one alternative to dry cleaning for delicate garments. Additionally, following care label instructions is essential for preserving colors.


While dry cleaning does not directly cause colors to fade, it is essential to be aware of the factors contributing to fading over time. Choosing a reputable dry cleaner, inspecting garments, following care label instructions, and limiting dry cleaning when possible can minimize the risk of color fading. Remember that proper care and maintenance are crucial to preserving the vibrant colors of your clothing, ensuring they look their best for years to come.