How To Save On Your Dry Cleaning

When you purchase a new item of clothing, you may find yourself cringing because the label says, "dry clean only."  This isn't always necessarily true, and it doesn't mean that you'll be spending a fortune on dry cleaning every time you wear it.  There are actually some garments that can be freshened in your own laundry room.  Here are some easy ways to figure out where you can save a trip to your dry cleaners

Look at the Tag     

The label inside the garment will tell you how to care for it, but it will also tell you the content of the fabric.  This is how you'll determine whether or not you actually need to go to the dry cleaners.  Some items can actually be easily laundered at home.

  • WASH:  Any clothing that is made of natural fibers such as linen, cotton and silk, or of synthetic polyester can be washed on a cold setting or by hand.  A mesh bag can be used in the washing machine to help save the garment from excessive agitation. 
  • DON'T WASH:  Any delicate fabric that is synthetic, such as rayon, needs to be dry cleaned.  Fabric blends don't do well washed at home either.  If you have a silk blend or wool blend, you'll be better off going to the dry cleaners.  Items with tight pleats should be professionally cleaned.  Leather and suede should be handled by the pros, too.  Anything with beads, rhinestones, pearls or sequins should not be washed at home either.  If the garment has an oil-based stain, or one that is deep in the fabric, you should never try to wash it at home. 

Dry Cleaning Kits    

There are several dry cleaning kits available in your grocery store or drug store.  These are best suited for spot cleaning the garment, and for deodorizing it as well.  These can save you money on your dry cleaning bill, but they won't come in handy with heavy duty stains or clothes that have extreme odors.

There will be a pretreatment included in the kit.  This is good for spot treating any stains on the garment.  You then put the garment in the dryer with a pad that is dampened with the dry cleaning solution.  This works as a steaming process in order to clean the clothing.  The clothes should be removed immediately from the dryer and hung to reduce wrinkles.

These kits are effective in refreshing the garments, and will remove most stains that are water based.  However, they are not as effective in removing oil-based stains.  While the clothes are wrinkle-free, they are not pressed.

Tips for Basic Garment Care     

You can reduce your dry cleaning bill by simply following some simply tips to keeping your clothes clean and fresh every day. 

  • When you remove your clothes, be sure to hang them up immediately.  This will help with wrinkles and any odors from the day.  Smoke, sweat and body odor is easily absorbed into the clothing and will need adequate time to air out. 
  • Take care of stains immediately.  Water based stains can usually be removed if dealt with quickly.  If they are not eliminated rapidly, they may be impossible to remove.  There are stain remover sticks that can be carried with you in your car or in your purse.  All oil-based stains should be dealt with quickly as well, by rushing over to your professional dry cleaners.
  • Let your personal hygiene products dry before putting your clothes on.  Any time you apply deodorant, it will get into your clothing if it hasn't had time to dry.  Perfumes and body sprays need time to dry on your skin before you get dressed.  Try to use all hair products before putting your shirt on as well.  These chemicals can stain your clothing.  Be careful when brushing your teeth as to not get spots of hard-to-remove toothpaste on your top.
  • Be careful when cooking.  Anytime you can keep from getting grease or oil spatters on your clothes, the longer they will last and look nice.  Dark and red sauces are usually difficult to remove as well.  Be sure to change clothes before cooking or wear an apron or another piece of clothing to protect your garments. 

Taking care of your clothing will save you money on your dry cleaning bill, but so will trying the dry cleaning process at home.  Remember to always go to the professionals if you are ever in doubt.  It's better to pay to have it cleaned than to replace the garment.