Professional dry cleaning bills can take a chunk out any budget. Learn some tips to save money on your dry cleaning costs.
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Study Garment Labels
Clothing is required by law to have a care label that recommends at least one cleaning method. Manufacturers know that some consumer mishandle laundry at home and, therefore, tend to take a conservative approach and list "Dry Clean Only". Reading the care label for fabric content is key in determining whether an item can actually be washed at home.
Simple, unlined garments made of natural fibers or polyester can be washed by hand or on the gentle cycle in a washer in cold water. If you are concerned about colorfastness, wet an interior seam with a few drops of water and then rub with a cotton swab. If the color transfer to the swab, take the garment to a professional dry cleaner.
Avoid Hidden Costs
Factor in the amount of gasoline and time it takes to take clothes to a dry cleaner and pick them up. It may be time to look for a new cleaner who is closer to your office or home and has easy access.
Clip Coupons and Watch for Specials
Many dry cleaners provide coupons in local mailers and online. You may also find special deals offered throughout the week. Quite often, you'll find free shirt laundering with the cleaning of a suit.
Use Home Dry Cleaning Kits
Home dry cleaning kits can be found in most supermarkets and drugstores. Used in your home dryer, they are much less expensive than professional cleaning. However, you will have to do the pressing and stain removal steps yourself.
While very effective for removing odors, wrinkles and light stains, if you have oil-based or heavy stains leave the work to professionals.
Keep Your Clothes Clean
This sounds very simple but it is the best way to avoid dry cleaning costs. Keep a stain removal pen or wipes handy. Wear a washable t-shirt under jackets to prevent perspiration stains. Apply deodorant, hair products, scented sprays and perfumes several minutes before getting dressed to reduce stains. After every wearing, hang clothing up and allow it to air for several hours before hanging in a cramped closet.
Select Clothing with Simple Construction and Washable Fabrics
Again, this seems like a no-brainer. A straight or a-line shirt costs less to have professionally cleaned than a pleated skirt. A sweater with no sequins or elaborate beading can be hand-washed. A wool coat is less expensive to clean than a suede coat.
Think about where and how often your will be wearing each garment when purchasing decisions are made. Cleaning expenses can add up significantly over the life of a garment.