Home > Cutting Spending > I still don’t understand dry cleaning?

I still don’t understand dry cleaning?

Have you ever felt our of place among a group of your peers who all seem to have an incredibly bizarre habit that you don’t share?  I see people walking around with dry-cleaned clothes all the time, but I’m still a little confused on the concept.  I’ve honestly never paid to have my business casual style clothes dry-cleaned and I don’t plan on it (exception: Suits and Tuxes).

My Experience

I remember visiting the dry cleaner as a child, and watching the clothes rush past as they make their way from the back room to the front of the building.  I never quite understood that these were all other people’s clothes.  I remember thinking that this was just a new way to sell shirts… press a button and whichever design you want speeds to you.  Wouldn’t that be great!

Since my 10th birthday, I can’t say that I ever remember setting foot in a dry cleaner’s.  Once I graduated college, I figured I would eventually need to visit one, but I wasn’t exactly sure when that might be.  I’ve been working full time for two years now and it hasn’t happened yet.  I just iron my clothes/use non-iron shirts and it hasn’t really come up.

I tend to look very presentable.  I may not be wearing Armani suits all the time, but my business casual attire certainly gets some compliments every now and again.  So there must be something I’m missing.

At What Cost?

It has come to my attention that a number of my coworkers (who’s clothes look just as good as mine) use dry cleaners every week, for all of their work clothes.  At first I didn’t believe this was true.  I thought, there’s no way they are spending their hard-earned money on something that is easily replicated in the washing machine at their home/apartment complex.

From what I hear, dry cleaning costs about $1.50/item cleaned.  The washing machine certainly uses electricity and detergent, but let’s make the conservative assumption that these don’t cost more than $.25/load and we are talking $1.50/item!  That’s nuts.

($1.50/item) * (10 items/week) * (48 weeks) = $720/year!

It would cost me a couple percent of my take home pay to start doing this!  It would be like not getting a raise!

The Solution

It seems I have stumbled onto a powerful cash-saving secret.  There are plenty of ways to look business casual presentable without paying a dry cleaner.  I tend to pay a little more upfront to purchase “no-wrinkle” Brooks Brothers pants and shirts.  This upfront cost pays dividends since I never have to dry clean.

Heck, I almost never have to iron as long as I get the load out of the laundry as soon as it’s done.  This one secret gives me $720 more cash/year when some of my friends willingly throw it away.  What would you do with that $720?  I think I might buy some more “no-wrinkle” pants to round out the wardrobe!

Categories: Cutting Spending Tags: ,
  1. Canadian Performer's Money
    November 14, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    I always look at labels when I shop and won’t buy anything that says “dry clean only”. I figure if it does, I might as well double the cost, because that is what the real cost of that item will end up being, not to mention my time going to the cleaners!

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