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Many people who choose to send their clothing out for dry cleaning often make this choice because they do not have time to worry about removing tough stains or doing simple laundry. They believe the dry cleaning shop they choose will help make their clothing clean and crisp and look almost new. Most have allotted a line item in their budgets for dry cleaning in general, and have not given a second thought to how to save money on dry cleaning. Money-saving ideas are helpful, even to those who do not have a frugal mindset. Here are some tips for maximizing dry cleaning dollars.
You Can Save Money on Dry Cleaning If You…
Below you can find some easy ways to save money on dry cleaning. Some of them just take reading the cleaning instructions on your clothes labels, while others small changes in your habits. Read on to find money-saving ideas that suit your lifestyle and goals.
Read Clothing Labels Carefully
Sometimes, if a label has the words dry cleaning anywhere on the label, people believe this is an instruction to take a garment to be dry cleaned. This is not always the case. Dry cleaning is not always the only option you have for cleaning your clothes, and companies that make and sell clothes do not always give you all of your options. If you have clothing with tags that read “dry-clean only,” the manufacturer is warning you that any choice other than dry cleaning may damage or diminish the quality of your clothing. However, if your tag says “dry-clean,” the clothing maker is only giving you a recommendation for cleaning.
If you care about how to save money on dry cleaning and want to know which clothes you can safely wash, consider special care precautions like hand-washing, air drying, using gentle detergents or choosing a low-impact wash cycle to preserve the integrity of your clothing. As a rule, cotton, cashmere, polyester or linen can be gently washed in a machine.
Coats, pants or dresses with linings give you two sets of materials to consider. Even if you have a wool jacket that can be washed on an easy machine cycle, a fragile lining may require dry cleaning. Take special care of materials that shrink when wet, including silk, velvet, satin, acetate, taffeta and some wools. A key to making a good choice lies in paying special attention to the care instructions on the label.
Develop Good Habits Between Cleanings
Another hint for how to save money on dry cleaning rests in how well you take care of your clothing between dry cleaning runs. When you get home in your business suit, be sure to take it off and choose more comfortable clothing to lounge at home. Some people not only keep their special clothing on, but cook, clean, and curl up in front of the television wearing these garments.
Practice hanging everything up as soon as you get home to avoid wrinkling and preventable staining. It is also important to practice good hygiene to stretch the time between cleanings. In other words, the choice to put on your best suit after you have just finished playing ball or gardening without showering is not a wise move.
Look for Local Deals
If you cruise your neighborhood and notice the windows at local dry cleaning shops, you will see plenty of deals these businesses offer to their customers. Some focus on giving deep discounts on a single pre-selected day of the week or giving a reduced price for bulk dry cleaning. You should also try online merchants, like Groupon and Living Social, that specialize in shopping deals.
You will have to pay for your dry cleaning up front by purchasing a voucher if you choose this kind of service, but your dry cleaning bill will be predictable and already spent out of your budget. Local shopping mailers also offer some options. Rather than tossing these thick coupon envelopes in the trash, scan them for the deals that apply to you first. You may not have to search for insight on how to save money on dry cleaning. It could be showing up in your mailbox every week.
Bonus read: How to Save Money at the Laundromat?
Try a Home Dry Cleaning System
Believe it or not, there is an option to do your own dry cleaning at home. You will not have access to the high-powered machines that are available at local dry cleaning shops, but it is ample to clean a few garments at a time. Some of these kits allow you to place your garments in a special bag with a moist cloth and toss the bad in the dryer for at least half an hour.
Other kits do not use a bag at all. If you have been dry cleaning your clothes just to remove wrinkles, there are also many other cost-effective choices for you. You can try using a fabric softener with a wrinkle releaser or purchasing a mini-steamer that you can use in your home. It is important to read the reviews on each product and find the one that works for you. Typically, a kit costs about 80 percent less than dry cleaning.
Choose the Right Hangers
Although dry cleaning shops are known to give customers wire hangers with their cleaned clothing, this is not an ideal choice for preserving the integrity of your clothing. Wire hangers place dents in the shoulders and sleeves of your clothes and are not often sturdy enough to help your clothes keep their original shapes. The best choice is a wooden hanger that your clothes hang well on.
If you place your garment on a hanger and have to keep pulling it so that it will not fall off, the hanger is probably not a good fit. How well you keep your clothing items when you are not wearing this is a big hint for how to save money on dry cleaning. If you do not take the time to care for your favorite wearables, your dry cleaning bill will show this.
One other cost-saving hint is to save all those wire hangers you will not use and return them to your favorite dry cleaning shop for a discount. As many customers have discovered, the rates for dry cleaning are always negotiable. If your are helping your favorite shop owner save overhead costs, he or she can certainly pass on the savings to you.
Deal With Stains Right Away
If you are at a function or event and manage to spill food or drink on your clothing, it may be tough to get to the right detergent or cleaner to start removing the stain. Some people have found club soda applied right away an effective way to treat the stain immediately and remove it when they get home.
You should always treat the stain as soon as you can. This means coming home and working on the stain right away rather than merely hanging the garment in your closet. Putting it off will guarantee a dry cleaning bill, and may not guarantee removal. Being proactive is your best protection against ruining something you love.
There are some truths about dry cleaning shops that people have not faced. For example, your dry cleaner is not always successful at removing ground-in dirt, and dry cleaning itself is not as effective as wet-washing to get rid of body odor smells in your clothes. Washing your clothes at home may be the best strategy, in some cases, to teach you how to save money on dry cleaning. You will have more dollars in your budget for other priorities, and you will not likely be disappointed with the final result.