According to First Research, the average business person spends about $500 to $1,500 annually on dry cleaning. That’s essentially the price of a MacBook, or a three-day vacation. But here’s the good news: You can cut dry cleaning costs in half with just a few simple tips and tricks. It’s so easy, you’ll wonder why you waited so long.
Check the Tags
Every company is required to list a cleaning method on its garments, but many tend to play it safe. If the label says “dry clean,” not “dry clean only,” you have a little wiggle room. Fabrics like silk, taffeta and velvet should be left to the professionals, but cotton, polyester, cashmere, nylon and linen can be laundered or dry cleaned at home. Spot test first to be safe, then hand wash your delicates in cold water with a gentle detergent. Hang to dry or lay flat if it’s cashmere. Never throw your delicates in the dryer!
Use Underarm Shields
One of the best ways to keep clothes fresh and stain free is with disposable Garment Guard shields that adhere to the inside of your clothes, right at the underarm. They’ll keep yellow sweat stains off white shirts and deodorant away from blazers. At the end of the day, peel them off and discard.
Dry cleaners often offer discounts in the spring and fall. Check your local newspaper for special offers, which usually range from 10 to 30 percent off. And don’t forget to peruse apps like Groupon, too.
Dry Clean in Bulk
Just like your shoe repair shop, many dry cleaners will give discounts if you bring clothing in bulk. Companies typically won’t advertise this, but if you ask the owner, they’ll often negotiate a price with you, especially if you’re a regular customer.
Invest in a Steamer
A third of the clothes you take to the dry cleaner don’t really need to be laundered, they just need a pick-me-up. Smooth out the wrinkles with a portable clothing steamer and use a heat-activated dryer sheet to freshen them up.
Dry cleaning your clothes too often may shorten their life span. The more you dry clean, the more likely the clothes are to fade and fray. On the other hand, you don’t want to forsake hygiene. Most industry experts will tell you that you can usually get two wears out of shirts and dresses, three to four wears out of pants and skirts and up to six wears for blazers and jackets. For winter coats, every two months is generous, but every season is more common.
Change up Your Beauty Routine
Apply your beauty products, makeup, perfume and haircare before you get dressed. That way you’ll avoid last-minute mistakes right before you’re flying out the door.
Dry Clean at Home
We’ve all seen the Dryel kits at the grocery store and avoided them like the plague. But guess what? They actually work and they’re incredibly simple to use. To make your life even easier, carry a spot remover, like a Tide to Go Pen, in your purse for emergencies. For tougher stains, leave it to the professionals, but for everything else, go to town.