Things Your Dry Cleaner Won’t Tell You (From Cosmopolitan)

Here’s a fun read with some great tips on how you can save money at the cleaners!

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,” says Wayne Edelman, President of Meurice Garment Care in New York City. Also, women’s clothing often requires additional work — such as removing all the buttons and embellishments by hand before the cleaning process, according to John Mahdessian, President of Madame Paulette, another renowned dry cleaner in New York City. 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.

Most Clothes Don’t Need to Be Dry-Cleaned…
“We advise our clients to wash their cotton, solid color sweaters at home if they have time,” says Edelman. He suggests using 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, Mahdessian says to wet a q-tip and dab it on an unseen area of your clothing, like under the armpit. If color comes off on the q-tip, bring it to the cleaners.

…Unless It’s a Big-Ticket Item.
You splurge on your wedding dress, so expect to pay more to clean it. As soon as the wedding’s over, bring your dress to be cleaned and preserved by a drycleaner that specializes in high-quality gowns. “I see 200 botched wedding dresses a year,” says Mahdessian. “It’s twice as hard to restore that back to its original condition after someone has set in stains and done the damage.” 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 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.

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.

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.

How You Store Your Clothes Is As Important As How You Wash Them.
Don’t keep your clothes in the plastic bags 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, says Edelman. Another way to avoid yellowing is to always clean clothes before putting them in storage: stains that might not be apparent will oxidize and become potentially permanent while hidden away.

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