Dry cleaner in a can that may save you a tidy sum

Dry cleaner in a can that may save you a tidy sum: MANDY FRANCIS gives her verdict on the latest products for cleaning clothes without washing, ironing or dry-cleaning

  • Mandy Francis gave her verdict on products and methods for cleaning clothes
  • Lidl Garment Steamer proved to be a speedy choice for removing creases
  • Cherry wood natural bristle clothes brush achieved a just dry cleaned finish 
  • Storing jeans in the freezer proved to be the least impressive cleaning method 

A host of new products and professional tips promise to help you clean and refresh your clothes in a flash — without washing, ironing or dry-cleaning.

From Lidl’s clever new garment steamer to a high-tech ‘dry wash’ spray, we put them all to the test.

Steam machine

Lidl Garment Steamer, £49.99

What is it? A new upright clothes steamer (below) with an extendable stand to hang clothes while you ‘steam and freshen. Ready to use in 60 seconds, running the steamer head over the surface of fabric will kill 99.9 per cent of germs, bacteria and dust mites, says Lidl, and leave clothes looking dry cleaned.

Any good? The machine was easy to set up. I pegged my daughter’s crumpled PE skirt on the stand and slowly ran the steamer down the fabric. Unwanted creases dropped out immediately and an attachment can help create neat pleats. Drawbacks? Clothes still need spot cleaning — and it takes up quite a bit of storage space. 4/5

Mandy Francis gave her views on the latest methods and products for cleaning clothes without washing or dry cleaning. She was impressed with Lidl’s Garment Steamer (pictured) for easily removing unwanted creases

Dry Wash Spray

Day 2 dry wash spray, from £4/75ml from day2.com

What is it? A spray-on freshener that gives clothes a ‘just-washed fragrance’ and uses ‘stiffening molecules’ and fabric softeners to smooth creases and wrinkles. Lay the item on a soft surface or bed. Spray the garment then smooth the damp fabric with your hand. Place on a hanger and 15 minutes later it should look and smell freshly laundered.

Any good? Yes! Spritzed over my son’s discarded white cotton T-shirt, the results were impressive with creases disappearing before my eyes. The spray worked equally well on jeans, school uniform and an evening dress. One the downside, it’s pricey and won’t remove stains or leave clothes hygienically clean. Great in an emergency, though. 4/5

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The Tumble Dry

Dry Cleaner’s Secret at Home Dry Cleaner, £10.99/6 cloths from lakeland.co.uk

What is it? A cloth impregnated with cleaning fluid that can spot clean, deodorise and de-wrinkle dry clean-only clothes. Use the moist cloth to rub away small marks and spillages then place the cloth and garment in your tumble dryer on a medium heat for 20 minutes. Clothes should emerge ready to wear.

Any good? My lightweight wool coat smelled musty after months in my wardrobe, with marks on the collar and arms too. The 20-minute tumble dry infused the coat with a clean fragrance that smelled much better than dry-cleaning fluid, and lasted a week. Pricy, but handy. 4/5

Mandy says Day 2 dry wash spray (pictured) is impressive for quickly removing creases on jeans, school uniforms and dresses

Vodka Spritz 

Spritz with cheap vodka

What is it? An old theatre managers’ trick. Turn clothes inside out and arrange on a hanger. Fill a spray bottle with cheap, neat vodka and spritz the inside of your clothing liberally (patch test first for colour fastness and staining). Allow to dry. The alcohol should kill any odorous bacteria and then evaporate rapidly to leave behind a freshly-fragranced garment.

Any good? When I tried this on my chunky-knit cardigan which smelled of smoke from a log fire, the pungent odour of alcohol was so overpowering that I had to hang it in the garden. After an hour of fresh air and autumn sunshine, the vodka had evaporated and so had the boozy smell — although a faint hint of woodsmoke lingered. I’d be loath to try this on delicate fabrics. 2/5

Butler’s Brush

Cherry wood natural bristle clothes brush, £44, kentbrushes.com

What is it? Carefully brushing suits, jackets, trousers and skirts with a natural boar bristle brush — not synthetic — before you hang them back in your wardrobe leaves garments well-cared for and can slash dry-cleaning bills say the experts at thebutlerscloset.com.

Lay the item out on a firm surface, then brush the fabric upwards, from the bottom to the top, to remove ingrained dust, dirt and hair. Finally, brush the fabric downwards to smooth it.

Any good? Long brush strokes definitely give the neatest result — removing dust and hair and leaving my partner’s jacket looking as if it’s just been dry-cleaned.

Dipping the tip in water turned it into a handy tool for scrubbing away marks. A good clothes brush should last a lifetime. 3/5

Mandy says Gleener Fuzz Remover (pictured) is ideal for quickly and neatly removing fabric ‘pills’ to give clothes a revitalised look 

Woolly wonder

The Laundress Wool and Cashmere Spray, £7.95/120ml from selfridges.com

What is it? Cedar-fragranced wool and cashmere spray with antibacterial properties from U.S. brand The Laundress. Spritz woollen garments from 6in away and allow them to dry before folding and storing. The natural cedar fragrance should help to keep moths away.

Any good? The spray left everything with a delicious, long-lasting, woody scent. That said, it can’t remove marks and it’s pricey. 3/5

Sheer Jeanius?

Store jeans in the freezer

What is it? Denim brands like Levi Strauss & Co and Welsh jeans brand Hiut warn against washing jeans too often. Frequent washing can fade colour and spoil texture and fit. Instead, pop your denim in the freezer overnight, where sub-zero temperatures kill off bacteria, presenting you with a pair of fresh jeans in the morning.

Any good? I placed my daughter’s grubby-smelling denim in a plastic bag on top of the frozen peas and left them to chill overnight. After allowing them to defrost for 30 minutes she put them on. They smelt quite fresh for an hour or so but after that, the ‘wash me now’ whiff was back. Why? According to scientists, freezing may kill some bacteria, but not all — and the survivors tend to come back with a vengeance. 0/5

Close shave 

Gleener Fuzz Remover, £14.99 from lakeland.co.uk

What is it? A double-ended fabric shaver and lint brush (above) designed to remove bobbles, pet hair, dandruff and fluff from most fabrics.

Any good? There is a fabric shaver at one end — which can be fitted with one of three interchangeable, clip-on heads — and a flat, velvety lint brush at the other. The three shaver heads — all with safe, non-sharp edges — allow you to neatly remove fabric ‘pills’ quickly. Just hold the fabric taut and run the flat edge of the shaver over rough areas to remove unsightly bobbles. Finally, use the lint brush to whisk away loose fibres, hair, dust and dandruff. Clothes really do look revitalised — but odours and stains remain. 4/5 

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