52 Weeks: Laundry – Dry cleaning

A top-down strategy for spending less to have clean clothes is to consider what you buy.

Sometime in the 1980s it occurred to me that dry clean only clothes kept costing me money and trouble over and over again. Not only did I have to pay someone else to clean them, but I had to make a special trip to take them to their little clothing spa vacation.

I stopped buying dry clean only clothes. I put the ones I had through a wash and dry cycle. Most of them survived, and I saved some money and effort.

Nowadays we have Dryel home dry cleaning product for the clothes you must have or don’t want to risk in the washer. Of course some jobs or special occasions require clothes that really must be professionally cleaned. If they don’t have an actual spot, consider hanging them to air out at home and wearing again. Or, maybe they could just be pressed. The dry cleaning chemicals take a lot out of clothes, so just pressing can make them look sharp with less damage.

For me, I just don’t even consider buying dry cleanable clothes, no matter how great they look in the store.

I’ve also stopped having clothes that must be hand washed. It’s too easy to end up with a basket of them nagging me to take care of them, and finding I just don’t get around to it. For my clothes, it’s sink or swim in the washing machine.

The “top-down” strategy is one in which we make a decision at the moment of purchase that saves money going forward. Perhaps buying a car that costs less on insurance and takes a cheaper size of tire. Maybe no dry-cleanables. Energy-efficient appliances. Could refrain from buying something that’s going to need to be fed batteries all its life. There are many examples.


Marie Brack is the author of Frugal Living for the 21st Century: Adventures in Using Your Money Wisely. It’s available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback versions.




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