Dry Cleaner's Secret: "Does It Work?"

When Proctor & Gamble introduced the product, Dryel a few years ago, they seemed to be telling us we could do the impossible. Dry Cleaning can only be done at a dry cleaners, right? Well, we found out when we tested Dryel that there indeed was a way to clean your "dry clean only fabrics" in your home dryer. It wasn't perfect for everything, but for spot removal and freshening your clothes, it did a pretty good job. We gave it a "yes." Well, you may have noticed, Dryel has a competitor. It's called the Dry Cleaner's Secret and its makers claim it's not only better, but easier to use. This week, we put those claims to the "Does It Work?" test.

The package says it's the "secret the pros use" and claims it's the "easiest to use." We put Dry Cleaner's Secret to the test using four garments, each with their own challenge.

We had a ladies blouse with a fresh coffee stain, wrinkled suit paints made of wool... also with a stain, a rayon dress and a very nice wool suit coat, dusty and dirty. Unlike Dryel, Dry Cleaner's Secret doesn't use a bag. And spot removal doesn't require any special solution. The first thing we noticed when we opened the package is the specially treated dryer sheet is very wet and the scent is pretty powerful.

For stains you use the sheet itself. Place a paper towel on the backside of the spot and press the wet dryer cloth against the stain. The stain is supposed to pass through to the paper towel. We worked on the stain for about 3 or 4 minutes with no luck. Maybe it will come out in the dryer. The stain on the suit pants came out just fine.

Clean out your dryer's lint tray and put the clothing, up to four items, inside with the Dry Cleaner's Secret cloth. Dry for 30 minutes at low heat.

When you take the clothes out, put them on hangers immediately. We inspected our work. Sure enough, the coffee stain on the blouse is still there. The stain on the wool suit pants is gone, but they're unwearable because they're still so wrinkled. The suit coat came out great as did the rayon dress. Both smelled clean and fresh... and looked good too.

It's mixed results at best.

We give the Dry Cleaner's Secret a "maybe."

How does it compare to Dryel? On cleaning, both did a good job. As far as providing that "finished" look, neither was outstanding. Where Dryel really outperformed Dry Cleaner's Secret was in spot removal. As far as price, Dryel requires you to purchase a starter kit at $10. Dry Cleaner's Secret does not require a starter kit. The sheets are sold individually for about $2.50. Dryel's refills come in a six-pack for $10.

In the long run, Dryel is a better bet. But neither is as good as a professional dry cleaner.

Joe Terrell, Reporting jterrell@kltv.com