dry clean

/draɪ klin/

Other forms: dry cleaning; dry cleaned

To dry clean something is to launder it using chemicals rather than water and soap. If the label on your your new cashmere sweater says "dry clean only," you'd better not throw it in the washing machine.

If a garment is delicate, or made of certain types of fabric, you'll have to dry clean it rather than tossing it in the laundry with your t-shirts and jeans. When professionals dry clean clothing, they use gentle solvents instead of soap. Despite the word dry, dry cleaning is (and always has been) a wet process. Originally known as "dry scouring," it was invented by Thomas L. Jennings, the first black American to receive a patent.

Definitions of dry clean
  1. verb
    clean with chemical agents
    see moresee less
    type of:
    clean, make clean
    make clean by removing dirt, filth, or unwanted substances from
Cite this entry
  • MLA
  • APA
  • Chicago

A paragraph of text

Copy citation
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘dry clean'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
Word Family

Look up dry clean for the last time

Close your vocabulary gaps with personalized learning that focuses on teaching the words you need to know.

VocabTrainer -'s Vocabulary Trainer