Dry cleaning is one of those necessities that can be extremely expensive, especially if it’s done too often. It can also have a negative effect on apparel since the fabric that is typically dry cleaned is much more delicate. In order to keep your special garments looking brand new as long as possible and to make sure you don’t go broke in the process, here are a few important tips.
1) Take a Photo – One of the biggest challenges can be in simply remembering what was dropped at the dry cleaner. To keep yourself organized, take a photo from your cell phone and file it away. It will make it much easier to manage your budget if you can remember what you dropped off and what you expect to pay based on each piece.
2) Always ask for a discount – It doesn’t hurt to ask and most dry cleaners do offer discounts for multiple drop-offs or large loads. You might also ask about other discounts such as military, school, or corporate to see if they apply.
3) Not all fine clothing needs to be dry cleaned – Some clothes can be wash in cold water, but you do need to be careful. First, rub some cold water on the fabric to see if any of the color comes off before washing cotton or solid sweaters by hand. If it does, then DO DRY CLEAN. If not, you can gently wash in Woolite or or with baby shampoo, then roll them in a towel to dry.
4) Treat stains immediately – Remember that when a stain becomes oxidized, it’s extremely difficult to remove from fabric. Treat it with a portable stain remover, club soda or a small amount of water. Do not use laundry detergent.
5) Clip coupons – Dry cleaners usually participate in local direct mail campaigns or coupon books. Take some time to look through the coupons you get via snail mail. They often offer substantial cost savings.
6) Use a Home Dry Cleaning Kit – Home kits use special products for your home dryer and can be very effective in removing light wrinkles, smells and odors. You will have to remove stains prior to the dryer and press the garment yourself, but it may save some money. Be sure to read the directions thoroughly.
7) Cleaning maintenance – Keeping a garment as clean as possible is an obvious solution, but it requires some vigilance. Wear a washable shirt underneath a suit to minimize the need to clean suits after each wear. Hang up your clothes after each use to minimize wrinkles and use wooden or “flock hangers” so that the clothing keeps its natural shape. Never use wire hangers.
8) Put on your clothing after your beauty routine – Avoid getting makeup, perfume and even food on your clothes, put them on last. Be careful with clothes going over your head to avoid getting makeup on your collar.
As you can see, it is not impossible to save money and still enjoy all the benefits of dry cleaning. It takes a bit of forethought, some effort, and most of all a plan you can stick to. Once you get in the right habits though, your simple savings will allow you to either dry clean more clothes or spend it as you see fit!