Can I Use Wire Hangers for My Everyday Needs?

Wire hangers are a popular choice amongst dry cleaners – we all recognize those distinctive thin forms on which our suits and gowns are returned. But are these same hangers appropriate for extended use in your home closet? Let’s examine some of their advantages and disadvantages.

Why do dry cleaners love wire hangers?

Wire hangers are inexpensive and quite thin, making them great for businesses that handle large quantities of clothing in limited space. In fact, they’re so cheap that just about every dry cleaner has no issue with giving them away when you pick up your garments (imagine doing so with fancy walnut hangers!).

If it works for them, will it work for me?

It turns out that your choice of hanger is quite important in maintaining the health of your garments. It’s no accident that hangers come in so many forms – from wire, to molded and tubular plastics, to hardwood; they each have distinct advantages as well as drawbacks.

We generally recommend that you don’t use wire hangers at home for your everyday needs. Width and cost are essentially the only advantages of a wire hanger, which otherwise have the downside of being susceptible to rusting and/or causing unsightly creases in clothing over time. This is not much of an issue for dry cleaners (who are so often replacing hangers and are only hanging garments on them for very limited periods of time), but for extended uses, you’ll be better served with plastic or wood.

What should I be using, then?

Aside from wire, there are three main choices in hanger frame material: wood, molded plastic, and tubular plastic – none of which can rust. Here’s a quick rundown of each:

Wood – sturdy and ideal for heavy garments, like jackets. A curved, sloping design offers excellent airflow, but beware of natural oils present in the wood, which may discolor clothing. You may wish to cover the hanger with tissue or other soft materials to create a barrier.

Molded plastic – cheaper than wood, sturdy, and free of oils, but quality may vary. Test these first with a gentle bend to make sure they won’t snap.

Tubular plastic – another cheap and effective pick for most purposes, though not ideal for heavy woolen garments: a straight, unbending shape may lead to shoulder bumps over time.

Questions about taking care of your important garments? Contact the clothing experts at Classic Touch Cleaners today.