Frugal Living 

5 Ways to Save When Cleaning Your Professional Clothes

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Dry CleaningIf you have a professional job, chances are you have some, or the majority, of your work clothes marked “dry clean only.” Dry cleaning can be very expensive; Proctor and Gamble estimates that “women spend $1,500 a year on dry cleaning” (Savvy Sugar).  That is more than $100 a month on dry cleaning!

Think of all the other ways people could use that money! If you spend more than you would like at the dry cleaners, a few simply changes in your buying and cleaning habits can put that money back where it belongs—in your pocket.

  1. Avoid buying dry clean only clothing. Obviously, if you must wear a suit to work every day, this is difficult to do. However, many women could swap out their silk blouses for something that is easier to take care of and can be cleaned at home such as cotton or polyester. When buying dresses, look for those with machine washable labels.
  2. Use home dry cleaning products. I used to have some dresses that were marked dry clean only, and I cleaned them at home by using a home dry cleaning kit from Dryel. Simply put one to four garments in the bag that comes in the kit and put in the dryer for 30 minutes. Many of my dresses did not require ironing when they came out of the bag. Look online for Dryel coupons to save even more when buying the kit.
  3. Don’t take clothes that are machine washable to the dry cleaner. Proctor and Gamble further reports that “65 percent of” clothes brought to the dry cleaner “are machine washable” (Savvy Sugar). If you wash and iron your own clothes, you will save quite a bit of money. Ironing can be tedious, so set up the ironing board in front of the television and watch your favorite show guilt free while ironing.
  4. Compare costs among dry cleaners. If you must still dry clean some of your clothing, call several dry cleaners to get price estimates for different garments such as pants, blouses and dresses. After you have the price comparison, check a review site such as to see if the dry cleaner is recommended by others. If one dry cleaners offers the lowest prices but is ranked low by previous customers, you may be better off going to a bit more expensive, but trustworthy dry cleaners.
  5. Look for coupons. Many dry cleaners offer coupons or discounts, so try to take advantage of these to get the best price on the garments you own that must be dry cleaned. You probably won’t be able to be loyal to one dry cleaners using this strategy, but you will be saving money.

With some simple changes and modifications to your habits, you can save money on your dry cleaning bill.  Sure, you may have to iron some of your clothes yourself, but in return, you can “earn” the money you don’t spend unnecessarily at the dry cleaners.

(Photo: daquellamanera)

{ 4 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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4 Responses to “5 Ways to Save When Cleaning Your Professional Clothes”

  1. As much as possible, I avoid buying silk tops. Aside from the extra care it needs, I don’t feel comfortable with them. I prefer cotton or polyester and I do have a good collection of them for office wear.

  2. Carl Lassegue says:

    Dryel is an awesome product. I would recommend it to anyone who uses the dry cleaner’s regularly. Another similar product you might want to look into is called “Dry Cleaner’s Secret”.

  3. Kenny says:

    USA has a craze of using Dry Cleaners for EVERYTHING. I have friends who own dry cleaners and they tell me what people bring in, and the frequency with which they use dry cleaners.

    Wonderful ‘wrinkle resistant pants’ were invented decades ago with the polyester content in it. And, these pants show up at their door step again, and again and again. They laugh at it, but enjoy the ‘superb margins’ associated with it (and huge profits).

    Shirts are hard to iron at home, and are worth giving, esp. since professionals need a certain look. But, they are $1 per shirt (with coupons) and 5 shirts per week x 4 weeks is $20 per month. So, instead of this article estimate of $100, you can cut it down to $20, unless Friday is WAH (work at home) day, or CWC (casual work clothes) day.

    Bottom line, to save the environment, we have to reduce the number of dry cleaning trips, and avoid bringing those chemicals home with our dry cleaning clothes. Healthcare sites have been talking about this phenomena and if not for money, we have to do it for reducing the number of chemicals we and our kids breathe in.

    My wife and I both work professional jobs, and we dry clean 50 items per year between the both of us.

    Hope this helps.


    • Melissa says:

      Great point, Kenny. I used to work at a dry cleaners too, and I do wonder how healthy it is to be repeatedly exposed to those chemicals. Thanks for the tips.

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