Dry cleaning is almost a necessary evil. We need it to keep our business, formal, and delicate clothes looking nice and sharp. The average household spends about $500 per year on dry cleaning. So it’s expensive. And dry cleaning usually involves potentially harmful chemicals. Those are both good reasons to reduce how much you dry clean or even eliminate it if possible. Can you do it? Keep reading!
Check Your Labels
When purchasing new clothes, check the labels. See if the items can be washed by hand or machine. I realize it’s not always possible to skip dry clean only clothes entirely, especially if you require professional attire for work. But the less clothes you own that must be dry cleaned, the more you’ll save.
Dry Cleaning Less Often
The more you dry clean an item, the faster it wears out. It would need to be replaced sooner, costing you more. Sometimes you can save just by reducing how often you dry clean. Wool suits may only need to be cleaned 1-2 times per year. Wool sweaters and skirts can be worn up to six times in between cleaning. Keeping your clothes hung or folded neatly between wearing will help keep them looking fresh and neat, too.
Dry cleaning causes exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. If your dry cleaner doesn’t handle those chemicals properly, they can also be leaked into the ground water. Dry cleaning less often will reduce these issues.
My husband wears a suit at least a couple of times a week. I also have a few things that are dry clean only. Trying to be natural and frugal, we wanted to cut down on our dry cleaning. I purchased a garment steamer like this Shark steamer. (As a side note, I’ve owned several Shark products and loved them all!) I use it to steam clean all of our dry clean only clothes. It definitely extends the time between cleanings. We still have them cleaned once or twice a year, but it’s better than once a month or more. I also spot clean whatever I can. As a bonus, I can steam instead of iron our other clothes and it’s much faster and easier.
A note: You can purchase an at-home dry cleaning system, but you’re still using chemicals. I prefer the steam cleaner for that reason. Make sure, though, to always use distilled water in your steamer. I actually destroyed a nice steamer by using tap water in it.
How do you handle dry cleaning naturally and cost effectively? Let me know in the comments below!