How to Slash Your Dry Cleaning Bill

We're tired of lining our dry cleaner's pockets. Experts spill how to get the most bang for our buck.
clean break

1. No Wire Hangers

Store items on proper hangers between cleanings: Suit jackets need support from bulkier fabric or wood hangers. Use plastic ones for blouses and dresses. Fold knits to prevent stretching.

2. Read The Label

Sounds like a no-brainer, but people often bring in items that dry cleaners just wash in water -- like polyester blends, which feel more delicate than they are. Silk-screened items, comforters and jeans can also be cold-water washed.

3. Know What To Avoid

Pieces that are always expensive to clean are those with ornamental detail or trim (it has to be protected or removed for cleaning), dresses (they count as two pieces), silks (they require multiple steps) and lined items.

4. Point Out Stains

Tell your cleaner the details of each one, visible or invisible, to save time and money. Oil stains need different care than water-soluble ones, like coffee or sweat; sugar stains will turn brown during cleaning if treated incorrectly.

5. Press Yourself

Don't let pleats and odd shapes (they're expensive to press) keep you from de-wrinkling at home. Hang garments and try to pull out wrinkles, or use a dry iron on low. Do one area at a time and keep the iron moving.

6. Extend Wear

Get a few wears out of items: Tuck a paper towel around the neckline to protect garments from lotion and cosmetics while you dress, and make sure deodorant is fully dry.

MORE: Try it yourself: How to remove any kind of stain


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