My husband wears a suit six days a week: 5 days to work and 1 day to church. His suits are the most expensive pieces of clothing we own, both because of the original price tag as well as the ongoing price of keeping them clean.
Around here the average price for dry cleaning a men’s suit with two pair of pants is $21. To put that into perspective, that is more than I spend buying clothes for the rest of the family each month.
Here are five ways we save money on dry cleaning:
1-Avoid buying “dry clean only” items
When I’m shopping for clothes and see a tag that says “dry clean only,” I immediately consider the cost of dry cleaning into the price. Am I willing to essentially pay a fee each time I wear this (because let’s be honest– I have kids, so it will likely need to be washed every time I wear it)? Of course for outerwear items like wool coats, I can get away with once a season or so by spot cleaning.
2- Don’t dry clean it, even if the tag says to
I do a lot of my family’s clothes shopping at garage sales and thrift stores. When a tag says dry clean only for an item I spent very little money on, and it’s the sort of item that I think seems like it could be washed at home, I ignore it. I figure if the item is ruined by washing it at home, I am not out very much money. It is a risk I am willing to take when I buy the item.
In my experience, most things that say dry clean only can actually be washed with cold water on the gentle cycle then either hung or laid flat to dry. I have never actually done this with my husband’s suits since there is a lot more at stake with a $200+ suit than with a $2 blouse.
3- Go as long as possible between cleanings
My husband handles any spot cleaning at home and hangs his suit nicely each night. He makes every effort to take his suit off right when he gets home, before the kids start climbing all over him. He keeps a spare set of regular clothes in the car in case he has errands or emergencies that require it. He changed a flat tire in his suit once because that was all he had at the time, but now he has instructions to change his clothes before changing any tires!
4- Try home dry cleaning
When I was in high school I had a few things that were “dry clean only” that I was afraid to ruin by washing at home (maybe I wasn’t as brave back then). My mom brought a Dryel at-home dry cleaning kit that I had great success with. The kit includes a special bag that you put your “dry clean only” clothes in along with a moist cloth. You put the bag in your dryer for about half an hour and voila! your clothes are clean.
Looking at the reviews on Amazon, it looks like the latest version of Dryel’s in-dryer bag is not as sturdy as the one they used to make. There is a Woolite version of the home dry cleaning system has great reviews and doesn’t use a bag at all.
5- Get an awesome deal on dry cleaning
When my husband was in law school, we often found great deals for local dry cleaners in the school newspaper or ads that come free in the mail. Now we find great dry cleaning deals on sites like Groupon and Living Social. Daily deal sites often save 50% on dry cleaning.
For example, we recently found a Groupon priced at $15 that was good for $30 worth of dry cleaning. Be sure to read the fine print and note the expiration date. The entire amount may need to be used all in one visit or there may be other specifications to be aware of. If you’re new to Groupon you can sign up here and choose your nearest city.
It’s still painful to have to pay for dry cleaning, but by always being on the lookout for deals from daily deal sites, we often save 50% off the regular dry cleaning price.
How about you?
- How much do you spend each month (or year) on dry cleaning?
- How do you save money on dry cleaning or do you avoid doing it at all?
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