Debt Reduction, Everyday Living, Good Reading, Money Saving Strategies

Slashing your dry cleaning bill and other laundry issues

I should first start this post off by saying that I don’t typically dry clean my clothes. And as I search my mental vault for an instance where I’ve utilized dry cleaning, I draw a blank because I’m a low-maintenance kind of girl, the kind of person who has been working in a business-casual environment for the last decade and not in need of special care for my khakis and T-shirts.

But for the rest of you, I’ll share these tips gleaned from an unlikely source – I subscribe to a newsletter written by Food Network goddess Rachael Ray and a recent post was tips on how to slash dry-cleaning bills.

But the culinary goddess tricked another train of thought from my noggin and this one does concern me and probably a lot of other people that I know … how do you get clothes to last longer and what can you do from a washing perspective to ensure that your favorite pair of jeans or sweater isn’t destined for the rag bag before its time?

Back in high school, I had the fortune of working at one of my hometown’s nursing homes. That particular job introduced me to a lot of interesting people and was a great base during my formative years. And one of the memories that stand out from my time at the nursing home was how some of the lil’ old ladies would throw an absolute fit if I took their blouses or slacks to the laundry after only one wear. “They have hardly been worn,” I remember one lady saying to me – the same one who taught me how to properly hang up slacks so they would maintain the seam down the front. And she was right – but until I got to college and realized how many times a person could wear a pair of jeans until they could walk themselves to the washing machine, I was one of those people who just threw their clothes into the wash after one wearing.

And yeah – there are some things that need to be washed after one wearing – ahem, undergarments come to mind. But many of these folks survived the Great Depression and here was one lesson they learned – frequent washings of clothing will break them down over time. Frequent washings of clothes also cost money when it comes to your utility bill and buying laundry detergent. So there’s tip number one – be judicious when it comes to what you wash and what gets worn another day.

Wash your clothes in cold water.
Keep in mind, I don’t have kids so I don’t have crazy stains that I need to troubleshoot so washing clothes in cold water helps them last longer and it also reduces our utility bill since we’re not sucking up hot water to wash our clothing.

Mending works and you don’t need to be a seamstress to reattach a missing button.

Those are the tips that I personally utilize – I also hang some clothes to dry rather than using our dryer. But that’s usually when I’ve tried to get a stain out of a piece of clothing. If I’m not sure that my powers of laundering have worked, I air dry these clothes so I don’t “bake” the stain into the fabric by throwing it into the dryer. If the stain is still in the piece of clothing, I simply re-launder (then cross my fingers and wish for the best.)

Here are a couple other articles that talk about making clothes last longer:

Make Your Clothes Last Longer (without spending big)

Green Clothes I – A Long Lasting Wardrobe

What are your tips?

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2 thoughts on “Slashing your dry cleaning bill and other laundry issues

  1. I have a family member who has been in the dry cleaning business for 25 years and I have been told repeatedly that when it comes down to it, it’s not the cleaning that’s the problem it’s the drying. Even things that say DRY CLEAN ONLY can be washed in a regular washing machine, they should NOT be put in the dryer. However, there is no gold standard to this rule so YOU have to use your own discretion and decide what is/isn’t worth potentially ruining.

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