Dry Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Dry Cleaning Tips and Tricks

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Published by TOP4 Team

1) You Get Charged More as a Woman.

The automated machinery that most dry cleaners use is made to fit men's clothing only. Putting in a smaller woman's blouse with all of its ornamentation would make it look like it was run over by a steamroller. Also, women's clothing often requires additional work — such as removing all the buttons and embellishments by hand before the cleaning process. So that's why having your stuff cleaned tends to cost you more. But if you're bringing in a standard wool suit without pleats or fancy buttons, you shouldn't be charged more than your boyfriend would for his suit.

2) You Can Ask for a Deal Even if There's No Advertised Discount.

In today's economy, everybody is willing to negotiate better terms for good clients. So tell your dry cleaner you'd love to make them your one-stop shop for all of your dry-cleaning and tailoring if they give you a better rate, like a 10-20% discount.

3) Most Clothes Don't Need to Be Dry-Cleaned...

It’s better for you to wash your cotton, solid color sweaters at home if you have time. Use Johnson's baby shampoo or Woolite in cool water. Once you're done, roll them in a towel to remove excess water, and lay them out on a new towel to finish air drying. If you're unsure if you should wash a shirt yourself, wet a cotton swab and dab it on an unseen area of your clothing, like under the armpit. If color comes off on the cotton swab, bring it to the cleaners.

4) …Unless It's an Expensive Item.

If you put a large amount of investment on your wedding dress, expect to pay more to clean it. As soon as the wedding's over, bring your dress to be cleaned and preserved by a dry cleaner that specializes in high-quality gowns. Depending on the dress, expect to shell out at least $400 to dry clean it and store it in a special acid-free, pH-neutral chamber. It's probably pricey, but if you loved your dress and want your daughter to be able to wear it, it's well worth the money to store it away properly.

5) Organic Dry Cleaning Isn't Really Green.

There are no government standards for green dry cleaning yet. "Organic” is the biggest misnomer in terms of cleaning. Most cleaners who advertise "organic" services use hydrocarbon, an "organic" substance only because it comes from the earth, and hydrocarbon is still considered toxic (and only slightly less so than PERC, short for perchloroethylene, which is used by about 85% of dry cleaners). The only true organic clean is using water, but unfortunately not all garments can be cleaned using a water-based process.

6) Your Beauty Routine Can Cost You Hundreds of Dollars.

Lipstick, foundation, and deodorant stains can do a number on your clothes, and so can that spritz of perfume. Most fragrances are alcohol-based, and the alcohol will react with a silk or satin blouse and disrupt the color. The neck's natural body oils can also discolor the collars of suede and leather garments, so wear a scarf as a buffer.

7) Bring Clothes in the Off-Season for the Quickest Turnaround.

The busiest time of year for dry cleaners is April through June, so bring your summer and spring outfits in during January and February — traditionally the slowest months of business. Some dry cleaners may even offer a 20-30% discount to fill the gap for work that they're not getting in that time frame.

8) How You Store Your Clothes Is As Important As How You Wash Them.

Don't keep your clothes in the plastic bags where the dry cleaner puts them in. The polyethylene in the plastic begins to break down as soon as it's exposed to light, which causes discoloration on garments. Another way to avoid yellowing is to clean clothes before putting them in storage: stains that might not be apparent will oxidize and become potentially permanent while hidden away.

9) Treat Stains Right Away, Even if You're in a Pinch

The longer a stain goes untreated, the more likely it becomes oxidized and sets into the fabric. If you stain your new little black dress while out with your friends, put a stain remover on it as soon as you can and then hand wash. If you can't go to the cleaners or do laundry until next week, try pre-treating it with a stain remover.


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