How much do you spend on professional dry cleaning ? Those bills add up, and you’d be surprised at how they can accumulate over a year. Controlling your dry cleaning can free your budget for more important things. Here are some facts and tips that can help you decide which items can be safely washed at home, at a fraction of a price.
Many clothing manufacturers tend to take a conservative approach when they say an item is for dry cleaning. They know that many people will wash things rather carelessly, and they’re minimizing the risk of a garment being mishandled and then damaged—which will make people think that their items are ‘flimsy.’
But here’s the deal. It’s more important to know what the garment is made of. Anything that is made with natural fibers or polyester is generally safe to be hand-washed, or even washed in a gentle cycle using cold water. Just check to see if the colors ‘bleed.’ You can do this by wetting the fabric with a damp cotton swab. If there’s any sign of dye on the cotton swab, then you need to have it dry cleaned.
If you really need to have an item dry cleaned, then minimize unnecessary costs. It’s better to get a dry cleaner that is located near your office or home, so you don’t throw away even more money on transportation.
Inquire about special discounts and deals, which are often announced online. If the dry cleaner you go to doesn’t have one, then check what competitors are offering and then, before switching, ask if they can provide a similar package. Many shops will try to give some kind of a promo or discount to keep a loyal customer.
You can also try home dry cleaning kits that can be used with your dryer. It just means a little more work, like pressing and remove stains and odors. But if you have a very large stain or an oil-based stain then have it sent to a dry cleaner—that’s a bit tricky to remove and best left to professionals.
The best thing to do is to prevent stains. Keep wipes and stain removal pens in your bag and don’t spray any perfume or hair products while wearing delicate clothes. And if you use deodorant, let it ‘set’ for a few minutes before putting on your suits and jackets, or wear a washable t-shirt underneath.
Get more laundry tips from our article on washing kids’ toys and gear