Is dry cleaning worth it?

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Caduceus
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Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by Caduceus » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:29 am

I have some curtains and a few (very) expensive dress shirts. Is dry cleaning really better than laundering? The cost isn't prohibitive. I think I will be charged $20 for dry cleaning the curtains, and $5 per shirt.

What kind of items do you use dry cleaning for?

I suspect the curtains will be worth it because it's such a pain to get them back into shape and I saw how they look when my friends get them back - they look perfect! I guess maybe the cost is for the ironing.

Before putting items into long-term storage, is dry cleaning preferable to machine laundering?

blw87
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by blw87 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:00 am

For the two items you posted, yes, dry cleaning is the way to go. I wear dress shirts and suits very often and I only take my suits and my expensive dress shirts to the cleaners while laundering the less expensive shirts at home. I know you said cost is not a problem, but see if your cleaner will give you a deal if you bring in multiple shirts at a time. We recently relocated, and after moving all my dress clothes several hundred miles they got pretty wrinkled. The cleaner knocked off $2 per shirt since I brought in several at once. I formerly used dry-cleaning on an almost weekly basis due to living in a small town and having very low prices. Now living in a larger city, the cost is much higher so I use only sparingly.

I don't know if you use a comforter on your bed(s) but don't dry-clean those unless specified to do so. Most cleaners I'm aware of simply throw them into a washing machine without an agitator - something I can do at home for free.

Rupert
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by Rupert » Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:06 am

I don't dry clean items unless the tag says they have to (or at least may) be dry cleaned. Dry cleaning some fabrics will harm them. Your curtains probably do require dry cleaning, but what does the tag say? It's a good idea to dry clean wool items at the end of the winter season before storing them to prevent insect damage. The cleaning kills the moth eggs and larvae.

clutchied
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by clutchied » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:15 am

Caduceus wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:29 am
I have some curtains and a few (very) expensive dress shirts. Is dry cleaning really better than laundering? The cost isn't prohibitive. I think I will be charged $20 for dry cleaning the curtains, and $5 per shirt.

What kind of items do you use dry cleaning for?

I suspect the curtains will be worth it because it's such a pain to get them back into shape and I saw how they look when my friends get them back - they look perfect! I guess maybe the cost is for the ironing.

Before putting items into long-term storage, is dry cleaning preferable to machine laundering?
I don't, but now I'm eyeing that LG Styler steam closet.

tev9876
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by tev9876 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:26 am

Dry cleaning involves the use of chemical solvents instead of water. Washing a "dry clean only" item with water and regular detergent will likely destroy it.

Shirts don't normally get dry cleaned. You can take them there, but they will wash them just like you could at home - but they are probably better at it, at least better than me. Back when I had to wear dress shirts I took them to the dry cleaner who sent them to another laundry. It was worth the cost since I hated ironing, but was also a pain to realize you forgot to pick them up and have no clean shirts for work.

Drapes may or may not require it depending on what they are made of. Even if they can be machine washed, you may need to go to a laundromat if they are too large to fit in a household washer.

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Pajamas
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by Pajamas » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:34 am

Depends on the exact curtains, check the label, but for normal men's shirts, laundering is better. Laundering is less expensive and gets stains out better and is usually better for the environment and should never result in that chemical smell that dry cleaning can leave. If you are not sure about the curtains, ask at the cleaners what they recommend.

Any shirts that are wool or similar (probably not dress shirts) may be better dry cleaned than laundered, check the label.

You can ask that your laundered and pressed shirts be folded or on hangers. You may even think shirts you see have been dry cleaned when they have actually been laundered and put on hangers and in plastic bags.
Last edited by Pajamas on Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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lthenderson
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by lthenderson » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:21 am

If it is expensive and hard to replace, i.e. tailored suits, I dry clean. For dress shirts, mine aren't expensive enough for me to add the cost of dry cleaning. They go in the wash.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by adamthesmythe » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:22 am

It's worth the cost of dry cleaning if conventional washing will damage the item.

I will be getting some curtains dry cleaned. I don't own any very expensive shirts so i can't give you advice. Except maybe to not buy more.

sid hartha
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by sid hartha » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:42 am

My experience is the exact opposite of most. After less than a year my shirts were trashed when I used to take them to the cleaners. I do them at home myself now and they last much longer. I think they use harsh detergents, too high heat etc. I still take some pants that are dry clean only to the cleaners but everything else I do myself at home. For dress shirts I put then in the wash usually on a gentle cycle. Take them out and promptly iron (avoid the dryer). And then hang them up to dry.

THY4373
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by THY4373 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:28 pm

Rupert wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:06 am
It's a good idea to dry clean wool items at the end of the winter season before storing them to prevent insect damage. The cleaning kills the moth eggs and larvae.
While cleaning them will kill moth eggs and larvae that isn't the real reason to clean them since if these things are on your clothes they are undoubtedly elsewhere in your house. Basically moths and carpet beetles (which are a greater/more common risk) prefer soiled fabrics to clean fabrics. Sweat, food remains, other bodily fluids on your fabrics will attract them. Cleaning of course removes those substances which will make your fabrics less desirable as lunch. I spent two years fighting the carpet beetle infestation from heck due to my ex taking in a "free" old piano that was absolutely infested with carpet beetles. I won that war but it took a while and I learned way more than I ever wanted to know about why insects eat your fabrics.

Hogan773
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by Hogan773 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:32 pm

You realize that they don't really "dry clean" cotton dress shirts at a cleaner.

They launder them and iron/starch them.

Certainly much easier than ironing your own shirts. I used to use a cleaner for convenience, but I found that they were really hard on the shirts, buttons were more often cracked, etc. I have now gone to doing my own, and I often wear the non-iron shirts a few times before washing them.

Rupert
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by Rupert » Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:37 pm

THY4373 wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 12:28 pm
Rupert wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:06 am
It's a good idea to dry clean wool items at the end of the winter season before storing them to prevent insect damage. The cleaning kills the moth eggs and larvae.
While cleaning them will kill moth eggs and larvae that isn't the real reason to clean them since if these things are on your clothes they are undoubtedly elsewhere in your house. Basically moths and carpet beetles (which are a greater/more common risk) prefer soiled fabrics to clean fabrics. Sweat, food remains, other bodily fluids on your fabrics will attract them. Cleaning of course removes those substances which will make your fabrics less desirable as lunch. I spent two years fighting the carpet beetle infestation from heck due to my ex taking in a "free" old piano that was absolutely infested with carpet beetles. I won that war but it took a while and I learned way more than I ever wanted to know about why insects eat your fabrics.
I have them dry cleaned and then store them in insect-proof plastic boxes until the next winter season. It has worked for me so far. The one item I left out of the box last year -- my favorite Burberry scarf -- was chewed to bits last year. :annoyed

THY4373
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by THY4373 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:06 pm


I have them dry cleaned and then store them in insect-proof plastic boxes until the next winter season. It has worked for me so far. The one item I left out of the box last year -- my favorite Burberry scarf -- was chewed to bits last year. :annoyed
The problem was the carpet beetles were eating the wool oriental carpets among some other stuff I could not easily box up. I won what was in essence a two year war but it was a long slog. I would not wish a carpet beetle infestation on my worst enemy lol.

mega317
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by mega317 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:13 pm

blw87 wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:00 am
The cleaner knocked off $2 per shirt since I brought in several at once.
Wow mine costs about $2.50 per shirt at regular price.
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212

blw87
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by blw87 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:00 pm

mega317 wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 2:13 pm
blw87 wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 8:00 am
The cleaner knocked off $2 per shirt since I brought in several at once.
Wow mine costs about $2.50 per shirt at regular price.
His price was indeed high - never went back to him again. Funny thing, he's now out of business...

Topic Author
Caduceus
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by Caduceus » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:33 am

I took the plunge and tried it with curtains. Even splurged on the express option. Yes, it was worth it. I think I will switch to dry cleaning curtains from now, maybe once every 6 months?

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Toons
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by Toons » Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:29 am

I don't use drycleaning.
I use the lightest setting on the washing machine.
Or the "quick refresh" cycle.










:idea:
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee

JBTX
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by JBTX » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:52 am

sid hartha wrote:
Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:42 am
My experience is the exact opposite of most. After less than a year my shirts were trashed when I used to take them to the cleaners. I do them at home myself now and they last much longer. I think they use harsh detergents, too high heat etc. I still take some pants that are dry clean only to the cleaners but everything else I do myself at home. For dress shirts I put then in the wash usually on a gentle cycle. Take them out and promptly iron (avoid the dryer). And then hang them up to dry.
I agree frequent trips to the laundromat tend to wear shirts out. However I am entirely to lazy to iron them and can’t do nearly as good a job. I do actually wear the shirts a couple of times before taking them back.

TOJ
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by TOJ » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:03 am

Dress shirts go to the dry cleaners because I have no interest in spending time ironing. My slacks are wrinkle free and look good just going through the washer and dryer. My shirts that say "wrinkle free" are not truly wrinkle free. They always look much better ironed and lightly starched. We use a dry cleaners that picks up and drops off at our house, saving even more time. This costs me at most $40/mo.

caffeperfavore
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by caffeperfavore » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:07 am

I throw my Brooks Brothers dress shirts in the wash, then tumble dry on low, and hang them up. They always look good and it's easier than taking them to a dry cleaner. I don't see the point for shirts.

Ruger
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by Ruger » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:58 am

I don't have a lot of stuff that needs dry cleaning, but when I do I use one of these kits. They work well.

https://www.amazon.com/Dryel-At-Home-Dr ... eaning+kit

However, I wouldn't mess with the curtains, those I would take in.
Last edited by Ruger on Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

Whatyear?
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by Whatyear? » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:58 am

I rarely get anything dry cleaned, but for some things they are unbeatable. For example my daughter walked through a puddle in her fairly new Uggs and I thought they were unsalvageable (and that they would be the last pair I ever bought her :)). BUT, not to be defeated I brought them to the dry cleaner (a really good one that I knew because I'd used them for tailoring before) and they were able to make them almost like new, for short money. Well worth it in that case.

I would also not mess with curtains - ring them to the dry cleaner.

nickjoy
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by nickjoy » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:18 am

I don't use anything but ZIPS which is @2.29 per item. Curtains might be a little bit more, but other cleaners clean out my wallet as well as my clothes.

Also, I only get my suit dry cleaned once a year ( i only wear it once or twice). Everything else goes in the wash. If you fold it right when it comes out of the dryer, you won't get wrinkles.

If you're worried about wrinkles, wear a light jacket to work, it covers up most of the shirt and therefore most of the wrinkles.

I hate ironing.

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Mrs.Feeley
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Re: Is dry cleaning worth it?

Post by Mrs.Feeley » Fri Jan 26, 2018 8:37 pm

When we moved into our house there were white pleated lined drapes hanging on several living room windows. I put one set through the washing machine. I took the larger set to a dry cleaner. The set I put through the washing machine came out white and beautiful. The set I took to the dry cleaner came back yellowed and so shrunken I had to take down the hem to get them to reach the floor.

I avoid dry cleaners as much as possible. The only thing I take a cleaners these days are lined wool coats and blazers. Everything else goes in the washing machine.

By the way in years past clothing makers supposedly got kickbacks from the dry-cleaning industry for including Dry Clean Only tags in garments. Read this in a consumer mag. I remember seeing Dry Clean Only tags in garments one wouldn't expect to be dry-clean-only, like poly blouses and rayon/nylon sweaters. I cautiously took all these garments to dry cleaners before growing older and wiser.

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