Pick up tips for saving on dry cleaning, never losing buttons and more. By Tracy Saelinger
1. COME ON A WEDNESDAY FOR DEALS
Many dry cleaners offer specials on Wednesdays, which is typically the slowest drop-off day (Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays are the busiest), says Rick Armstrong, executive director of the Midwest Dry Cleaning and Laundry Association. Some stores also offer customer loyalty cards for discounts or free cleanings for first-time customers. Photo by Getty.
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2. DON'T WAIT
It's easy to let weeks go by before taking your clothes to the cleaners. But don't put it off, says Anne Nash, president of Highland Cleaners in Louisville, KY. "Even if no stains are visible, oils and impurities will break down and yellow fabrics." And if insects get to them, they'll loosen fibers, causing holes.
3. RESIST THE URGE TO PRETREAT
"Home stain removers can fade the color, which we can't restore," says Armstrong. So hand your item over to the pros for them to work their magic. "Whether it's butter or hot sauce, just tell us what the stain is." That's your best shot at getting it out.
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4. THOSE HOME KITS WILL DO THE TRICK-FOR LIGHT JOBS
Though it may pain them to admit it, professional dry cleaners say that home-dryer kits can extend the time between cleanings. That is, if the garment isn't truly dirty, Armstrong says. "Home kits won't get spots out, but if you just want your clothing freshened up, they work fine."
5. MEN'S SHIRTS ARE A BARGAIN
Cleaners price them low (an average of $2 a pop) hoping you'll also bring in your suits, for which they charge more, says Tom Chido, owner of Chido Cleaners in Erie, PA. Prioritize the rest of your dry-cleaning dollars on silk, wool and lined clothing.
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6. WE WANT YOUR OLD HANGERS
Cleaners love when you return wire hangers, which they reuse or recycle. And Nash says many cleaners are going greener and phasing out PERC, a common cleaning chemical and likely carcinogen.
7. TELL US IF YOU HAVE A LOOSE BUTTON
Otherwise it might get lost in the machines. It's better to have buttons reinforced beforehand for 50¢ to $1 each. Some cleaners will take ornate or oversize ones off the garment and reattach them after cleaning for free, Chido says.
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