We used to view dry cleaning as a necessary evil: yes, it felt like a waste of money, but wearing stained or wrinkled clothing is not an option. But then the Bureau of Labor hit us with a statistic that was too painful to ignore: women spend an average of $2,155 a year on dry cleaning, and 65% of those clothes are machine washable. Suffice to say, the time had come to wise up on our laundering habits.
10 Easy Ways To Save Money On Dry Cleaning
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In the effort to save our readers (and ourselves!) some serious cash, here are our top 10 tips on how to skip the dry cleaner altogether and how to save money if you must go.
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1. Dry Clean vs. Dry Clean Only
You may be wasting money dry cleaning clothes when the tag says "dry clean." Unless it says "dry clean only," it’s not necessary to dry clean.
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2. Try A Home Cleaning Kit
For clothes that are only lightly stained or just need a refresh, try Dryel In-Dryer Cleaning Starter Kit ($8). It costs about 80% less than dry cleaning.
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4. Get Dressed Last
Avoid stains by getting dressed after putting on makeup, perfume, and eating breakfast. It seems like a no-brainer, but it will slash your stain opportunities.
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5. Wash With Woolite
You can hand wash most cashmere, wool, satin, silk, and cotton clothes with Woolite High Efficiency Complete Dual Formula ($13), which is gentler than regular detergent. Try a test patch first on an interior seam.
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6. Treat Stains Immediately
Stains that sit for a week will most likely not come out. Treat a stain immediately with Shout Stain Remover Wipes 12 Count ($5), and maybe you can skip the dry cleaner completely. We keep a few stashed in our purse and our desk at work.
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7. Strike A Bargain
Ask for a frequent customer discount or if you can bring back hangers for a small percentage off your total. Trust us, rates are negotiable.
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8. Keep Your Eyes Peeled
Be on the lookout for new-to-the-neighborhood dry cleaners, as they'll usually run promotions. It’s also worth checking if your local spot offers coupons on their website.
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9. Use Downy Wrinkle Releaser
If you find yourself taking clothes to the dry cleaner because they are wrinkled rather than stained, try Downy Wrinkle Releaser ($8), which is faster than hauling out the iron or steamer.
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10. Refresh With Febreze
Think Febreze Fabric Refresher ($5) is only for the furniture? Think again. It can refresh stale clothes and stretch the time between dry cleaning trips. Just spray from a distance to avoid staining the garment!