The average American spends about $500 a year on dry cleaning, according to industry reports. While it may seem a necessary expense, many consumers are simply throwing money down the drain. But you don't have to give up clean clothes to save money -- these 10 tips can keep you from being taken to the cleaners by your dry cleaner.
10 Ways to Shrink Your Dry Cleaning Bill and Still Look Great
Certain items, such as wool coats, should be dry cleaned only once a year. In the meantime, a garment brush can go a long way toward giving the impression of freshly cleaned clothing. A fabric steamer (even a small, inexpensive one, such as a PurSteam portable steamer available for $30 on Amazon) can also banish wrinkles and minor odors on dry cleaned items, prolonging wear.
Building a wardrobe around washable items is the simplest way to save money on dry cleaning bills. Also, buying dry-clean-only items that are typically cheaper to clean, such as sweaters without embellishments, or wool garments rather than leather or suede items, will cost less in the long run.
Cotton shirts can be washed and ironed at home, but it's admittedly a bit of a hassle to DIY. One cost-cutting suggestion is to ask the dry cleaner to launder and press shirts instead of actually using the dry cleaning process -- it should be a cheaper alternative.
Scour local mailers for deals at nearby dry cleaners. Some places may even offer reduced rates on different days of the week; it never hurts to ask.
Simple changes such as not throwing clothes on the floor in a wrinkled heap and being careful when applying deodorant help extend time between dry cleaning sessions.
Certain items risk being destroyed without proper care and should be left to the pros. Suits, silk, leather, and suede are just too easy to damage with hand washing. Acetate fibers should also be cleaned professionally.
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