I recently had someone email me asking whether it was possible to make your own Dryel. For those of you who are clueless about this stuff, like I was, Dryel is a home dry cleaning product. Clothing is placed in a bag along with a dryer-activated cloth and then put in the dryer. Vapors, activated from dryer heat penetrate the clothes and “lift” the odors and dirt.
Since I had never tried this product before….I was at a loss. But the more I thought about it and researched it…the more intrigued I was. First of all…..NO ONE seems to know how they work or what is in them! So we were talking NEW TERRITORY…and I love a challenge! :-)
Even better? I think I lived up to the challenge!
But let me explain a little more about Dryel first. I think a lot of people are under the impression that this is the equivalent of taking your clothing to the dry cleaner. That is just not the case. Your clothes are tumbling in a bag with a pad filled with freshening agents. This is not dry-cleaning. It’s freshening. It says on their website: “Dryel is designed to be used as a complement, not a replacement, to commercial dry cleaning.”
If you are looking to spiff up and freshen clothing that you don’t want to send through the washing machine….like that nice pair of dark jeans that you don’t want fading in the washer…these are perfect!
Now I just had to figure out how to duplicate that!
Believe me, I don’t claim to have figured it out completely….but what I DID figure out…seemed to work quite well…so I decided it was worth sharing. :-)
On a side note: Let me just tell you…not everything I test or try works out! There are plenty of things that don’t ever make it to the website because they just didn’t perform like I would expect a homemade solution to. So if you see me post about it…you can be assured I am reasonably sure it’s going to be effective. (Or at least it was for me. As always, “your mileage may vary”.)
After LOTS of research…the ONLY clue I could come up with with regards to what’s IN the Dryel cloths was the Material Data Safety Sheet for the product that basically listed the ingredients as stain remover, emulsifier, water and fragrance. Not super helpful.
So I decided to try a combination of borax, oxygen bleach, water and essential oil. For the “cleaning booster spray” component of the Dryel kit, I used plain hydrogen peroxide. (For more on the wonders of Hydrogen Peroxide click here.)
I also decided that instead of using my OWN clothes as a “guinea pig” in this experiment, I would visit our local thrift store and find a suitable test subject. I found this suit jacket for $4.99 that had a few stains on it and in general could definitely use a little “freshening up”.
I pre-treated the stains by spraying them directly with hydrogen peroxide (3%) and rubbing with a clean, white cloth.
Then I took that same white cloth and soaked it in a solution of 1 cup warm water, 1 teaspoon borax, 1 teaspoon oxygen bleach and 3 drops lavender essential oil. After I squeezed out the excess liquid, I tossed it into the Dryel “steam bag” with the suit coat and put it in the dryer for the recommended 30 minutes.
NOTE: I haven’t figured out a homemade version of the special steam bag that comes with the Dryel kit. Still ruminating on that one. If anyone has any suggestions…please share!
When I took it out of the bag it was still just SLIGHTLY damp from the steaming action (which is normal) so I hung it up to dry completely.
I noticed 3 things immediately:
It was NOTICEABLY less wrinkled, the stains were GONE, and it smelled FRESH!
Did it look like I had just spent $15 to send it to a dry cleaner? Not quite. But I’d say it was a marked improvement, and that with only a slight bit of ironing it could easily be worn with confidence. :-)
So concludes this latest installment of “laundry experiments with Jillee”. :-)
What do you think? As always…I appreciate your input!