The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

Product Review: Dryel In-Dryer Cleaning

Recently I received a free Dryel Starter Kit, a product that I had hoped would save me time and money by allowing me to clean "dry-clean only" garments at home. Keep reading to find out what I thought of the effectiveness of Dryel!

What they say: "Dryel is a convenient at-home Dry Cleaning system that safely steams and cleans soils, stains and odors, while removing wrinkles and saving considerable time and money. In fact, Dryel cleans 10 garments for the cost of one dry cleaned garment, and it works great on ALL YOUR CLOTHES everything from sweaters, blouses and blazers to dresses , slacks and vests.

It's as easy as Zip It, Steam It, Hang It. Just place up to four garments in the Dryel Bag and add the pre-moistened Dryel Cloth and Zip It. Place it in your dryer on medium to high heat for 30 minutes. Then remove your garments from the Dryel Bag and hang them promptly to help wrinkles fall out. You can throw away the Dryel Cloth after use, but the Dryel Bag is designed to last up to 50 loads."

What I thought: I really wanted Dryel to work - after all, it is super convenient and I already avoid the dry cleaners like the plague - but it just didn't work for me. I would not recommend this product to a friend nor would I purchase it again.

With the first sample I received, I decided to try cleaning my Old Navy army jacket which had been with me on a camping trip and smelled like campfire smoke and insect repellent. Dryel says you can add up to four garments - I added just one, just the jacket, and followed the directions. When I removed the jacket, the odors were still very much present, only marginally masked by the Dryel fragrance, which is not to my liking anyways.

Fine, I thought, maybe that was too drastic of a test for Dryel. Let's see if it can refresh a few gauze scarves, which get musty hanging in one's closet, but aren't really soiled. I typically hand wash these since they're delicate. So once again, I followed the Dryel instructions to the letter. And once again, I was disappointed. The scarves simply didn't look, smell or feel significantly different. Disappointing.

Mind you, I get quite a few products to sample that never make it onto the blog because I'm on the fence but don't want to malign a company - after all, it's just my personal opinion, and someone else might like what I do not care for. You may like Dryel, but I wanted to share my personal experience.

Moving on, I received a second sample. This time I decided to test Dryel on two cashmere sweaters because I saw a tweet by @Bergdorf 's extolling the virtues of Dryel, so I figured I'd give it another go. I carefully smelled and examined my garments before tossing them into the Dryel bag with the Dryel towelette and into the dryer. I set my timer to 30 minutes to ensure that I'd be ready to pull my garments out the moment the dryer finished, thereby preventing the formation of any wrinkles. But once again, the results were mediocre at best. My sweaters didn't look or appear cleaner. Soiled areas (ahem, arm pit area) were still marked by deodorant. Overall, the sweaters just smelled like bad perfume. And one of the sweaters was still wrinkled (it's very thin cashmere, so it gets those creases easily). I had my fiance smell them too, and he sorta cringed at the scent.

In conclusion, Dryel is a great concept but in my opinion it does not get clothes clean or fresh, so it's a no-go for me.

Are you a Dryel fan? How do you care for "dry clean" only garments at home?

I got the same results you did on a variety of clothes. Dryel is a waste of time and money.
#1 Mindy on 2011-02-08 12:19 (Reply)
I have used the Dryel kit on several occasions, but I wouldn't use it to completely eliminate going to the dry cleaner. Like you, I question how "clean" it really gets my clothes so I tend not to use it on things that require a bit more attention (i.e. armpit stains or heavy coats/sweaters). But I do think they're good to use in between dry cleaner visits since going to the dry cleaner can add up (or if you're dying to wear a certain shirt but don't have time/haven't had a chance to take it to the dry cleaner!)
#2 Angela (Homepage) on 2011-02-08 12:44 (Reply)
I use Dryel frequently, and I really like it. My clothes never really get "soiled," so I use the Dryel mainly to give 'em a little steam to disinfect and freshen up (the fragrance goes away pretty fast). Their spot treatment is a fave of mine and has saved numerous garments from the donating pile.
#3 Rae on 2011-02-08 14:09 (Reply)
i agree with you that the dryel itself is not amazing and does not compare to a dry cleaner BUT that pen thingy for the stains is AMAZING. about two weeks before my wedding, i was bringing my dress in from being altered and swiped it against my car, leaving a huge grease staing across the front of it! i FREAKED. my mom used that little bitty dryel pen (the whole thing, actually) and it was gone the next day. seriously, amazing.
#4 lauren on 2011-02-08 21:44 (Reply)
I've used dryel for years and it has really helped cut down my dry cleaning bills. It's not a total replacement for dry cleaning, but it helps me remove minor odors so I can stretch time in between dry cleanings.

Oh, and the stain remover solution is fantastic. The only thing I haven't got it to work on are those icky yellow armpit stains. But food, dirt, etc., all come off really easily.
#5 Alicia on 2011-02-09 09:42 (Reply)
I had a bunch of clothes that were left in a storage unit for a little too long which needed some definite TLC, all of which were also dry clean only (of course). I tried the Dryel system but because I felt it needed a little extra hand I threw in a dryer sheet as well as the dryel products for a little added scent. The system seemed to work but these were mostly small, thinner sweaters rather than say a bulky coat.
#6 K on 2011-02-09 14:55 (Reply)
I've been using Dryel for a little bit and haven't had too many issues with it. Like what the author found, I put a dress with a less than pleasnt smell in, and when it came out, it still smelled. But once I let it dry, the smell was gone. Like others have said, I don't think it's for heavy stains, but if something needs a quick refresh, it has worked well for me.
#7 Kristin on 2011-02-10 14:57 (Reply)
I think Budget Babe and the others who expressed dissatisfaction with Dryel are being unrealistic. If there was an OTC replacement for going to a professional dry cleaners, they'd all go out of business. Dryel and its competitor, Dry Cleaner's Secret, are merely alternatives to the fabric care mandate for "dry clean only" garments. It is not meant for heavy or bulky garments that are seriously soiled or disorderd. Why would professional dry cleaners remain an industry if these small portions of dry cleaning solution were a universal solution to the expense ands care required for all garments requiring a non-water form of cleaning?
I find these products are excellent for reducing the frequency of taking items like blouses, trousers or other garments that I want to freshen up because they have not been seriously soiled or spotted to a costly professional cleaner. Even a professional dry cleaner might not be able to remove perspiration stains that have set or moldy smells from articles that have languished in less that well-aired conditions.
I think people should place products like Dryel and its competitor in a more rational context before considering them unsatisfactory. This is NOT a replacement for professional care of specialty items, just an alternative to costly professional care when its expense and level of care is not warranted.
#8 emma brinnum on 2011-06-28 11:59 (Reply)
I have only used Dryel a few times, because I have a Zips Dry Cleaners so close to my house. But occasionally I wait too long to drop items off that I really need, so I resort to the at-home method. My clothing never really gets soiled...they don't really ever have an odor, so perhaps this is why I am pleased with the product! I just like the idea of freshening up some of my dresses after wearing once or twice...and the results seem to be identical to my dry-cleaning experience at about the same price. I don't think I'd try it for a heavily soiled item though, that should be left to the professionals!
#9 Shannon on 2011-12-13 14:40 (Reply)
My girlfriend used Dryel on her favorite dress and the dress was completely ruined. We would not recommend it for anything valuable.131
#10 GP on 2012-08-27 18:09 (Reply)
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