How Long Does Dry Cleaning Take

woman holding pile clean clothes

How Long Does Dry Cleaning Take

Dry cleaning is one of those services that most people only ever use once in a while. So, you might be wondering, how long does dry cleaning take? It really depends on what needs to be done. Typically, though, it shouldn’t take more than a few days. In this article, we’ll break down the process so you have a better idea of what to expect from the dry cleaning industry.

Dry Cleaning Time Estimates

Because of the method and the stages required, it makes sense that dry cleaning various items of clothing would take a while. Some goods may have a rapid turnaround, while others require longer. Here’s some information on possible turnaround times for dry cleaning specific articles of apparel.

Feel free to use this information as a reference as you plan ahead and prepare to take your favourite piece of clothing to the dry cleaners. However, if a dry cleaner’s store sees larger volumes of clothing and more client activity than normal, these projected wait times may be prolonged. Plus, if you need anything special done to garments, such as repairs or stain removal, that would likely add on additional time.

It may surprise you to hear that many dry cleaning services don’t actually have all the dry-cleaning machines on site. They typically transport the garments to a larger facility with adequate space to hold all that massive, costly equipment. The clothing items must be transported to this central spot and then returned to the business after the cleaning procedure is completed, which requires extra transportation time. This is one reason that your garments may take a bit longer to be ready for pickup or delivery.


Shirts are a highly popular element of professional attire. The majority of dry cleaners are prepared to handle these common items on-site, or if they are not, they often have a faster response time from the central dry cleaning facility. Standard work attire such as collared shirts and formal pants should be available later that day or within a couple of days.

Suit & Tuxedo

A complete suit may require more time to clean than a pair of slacks or a dress shirt. Nonetheless, you may anticipate receiving it within 1-2 days on average, and perhaps sooner.

Prom Dress & Formal Gowns

Formal gowns and prom dresses require special care and treatment, which is why they take a little longer. Expect a waiting time of about a week, although your piece may be returned sooner.

Wedding Dress

With their delicate fabrics, layers, beading, and lacework, wedding gowns demand extra attention. Your dry cleaner will advise you on how long this will take.

Fur, Suede, or Leather

As with bridal gowns, leather, fur, or suede clothing requires a separate process and solvent to clean without destroying the garment. Typically, turnaround time is between 1-2 weeks.

Jacket, Coat, Hat, or Gloves 

A complete dry cleaning of outerwear typically takes up to a week. Coats and jackets typically take 1-2 days to release, but smaller goods with a specific composition, such as hats, gloves, or other things, may take up to a week.

Does Dry Cleaning Bed Linens or Drapery Take a Long Time?

Did you know that you can dry clean your bedding, linens, and drapery? If your home washer and dryer cannot handle those large items, the dry cleaner’s company would gladly accept them and clean them for you. Drapery cleaning typically takes four to seven days, although some locations may provide same-day service. Household items such as linens and bedding will also take three to four days.

How the Dry Cleaning Process Works

For starters, dry cleaning is not actually “dry.” The dirt is not miraculously evaporated by the air. In its simplest form, dry cleaning refers to the absence of water in the procedure. Rather than using water, the dry cleaning procedure uses a particular type of chemical solvent. The solvent does not penetrate the fibres of the clothing material in the same way that water does.

As a result, there is no additional danger of shrinking or stretching. It helps the clothes maintain their shape, which is especially crucial for tailored or fitted pieces. While the chemical solvent cleans the garment’s surface, it is precisely prepared to avoid interfering with the gloss or texture of certain fabrics. Below is the typical dry cleaning process:


When you drop off your garments at the dry cleaning shop, each item is labelled with a unique number to indicate its origin and owner. Certain cleaners use a safety pin or staple to secure a paper tag to the garment’s inner tag.

Make sure you don’t keep going to a cleaner’s shop that staples the tags to the fabric, creating holes. A reputable dry cleaner will not do this.

Damage Review

Each item of clothing that arrives at the dry cleaners is also inspected for issues such as missing buttons, items in pockets, and damage such as unravelling seams or tears. Any concerns are meticulously documented. Certain establishments will correct those concerns for a cost, while others will just alert owners of issues detected before cleaning.

Stain Treatment

The expert cleaners will handle any stains discovered during the inspection before the clothing items enter the solvent stage of the procedure. When you drop off the garments, make sure to point out any visible stains and inform the dry cleaning personnel of the source of the stain. This additional information helps personnel apply the proper type of stain removal solution to the textile fibres.

Cleaning Phase

The garments are placed in a machine that gently moves the clothes through the chemical solution. The gentle movement dislodges dirt and other debris. Following this meticulous, slow “wash cycle,” the dry cleaning solvent is drained, along with all the dirt. A new supply of chemical solvent is injected into the machine, and the garments are gently agitated once again as part of a “rinse” cycle.

More Spot Treatment

Once the goods have been cleaned, they are inspected once again. If any stubborn stains remain, the specialists will attempt to clean the affected areas once more using specialised chemicals, steam, or vacuum equipment.

Final Touches

After hanging the garments to dry, they are steamed, ironed, and sometimes even finished to perfection. The finishing procedure is dependent on the type of material.

Clothes are properly folded or hung and placed in protective bags to maintain their perfect condition during the collection phase and the return trip.

Things to Take Note Of

The majority of dry cleaners will make an exception if you have a tight deadline or an emergency. However, it is always prudent to plan ahead and schedule dry cleaning appointments long enough in advance to account for unexpected delays.

For instance, if you want dry cleaning for a wedding gown, you should schedule an appointment several weeks in advance rather than a few days before the big day. Or, if you’re dropping off some outerwear to be dry-cleaned, don’t expect to pick them up the same day.