How to Save Money on the Laundry and Dry Cleaning

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Not all our monthly expenses are created equal. I feel better spending money on a few of them than on others. For example, I don’t mind having to spend on groceries. For starters, we love cooking, and heading to the supermarket is a great way to replenish our stockpile of food. And doing the groceries is one of the few instances where I indulge in a bit of retail therapy. I also don’t mind paying for my healthcare insurance plan. I feel super responsible and “grown-up” whenever I pay my monthly insurance bill.

But paying for dry cleaning and laundry? That’s the exact opposite – I hate spending money on the laundry. Don’t get me wrong. I know it’s extremely important (plus, wearing used clothing is totally disgusting – especially during the summer or humid months). But I don’t get any satisfaction from the money I spend on it. With my other monthly expenses, I do get a bit of satisfaction (see the previous paragraph) even if they do get a bit pricey. With the laundry… I guess I love the smell of fresh clothes and fabric conditioners? Apart from that, it’s just something I spend money on monthly since I have to. On top of that, the average cost of dry cleaning – and laundry as a whole – has been steadily increasing these last few years.

I used to think I was alone in this boat, but I found a few threads online, where a few commenters were also ranting about the rising costs of doing the laundry, as well as the average price for dry cleaning. This article on Reader’s Digest had a few more things to say about laundry and dry cleaning:

In 2006, the Better Business Bureau received 4,455 complaints against dry cleaners, most concerning lost or damaged items. Only half of those complaints are listed as “settled.” Occasionally, clothes get picked up by the wrong person, and sometimes dry cleaners get blamed for “missing” garments that were never even dropped off. To protect customers—and themselves—more and more cleaners are installing digital video cameras to record customer drop-offs and pickups.
…so yeah, having to cough up your hard-earned cash just to pay to have your clothes cleaned sucks. It’s totally necessary. But that doesn’t mean it sucks less. And because of that, I decided to add laundry to my frugal, money-saving habits. I did a bit of research, and since last year, I have been using the following tips to save on my average dry cleaning cost. How much does it cost to dry clean? It’ll all depend on your own habits and needs, of course. But follow the tips I’m about to share, and you should be able to save on your dry cleaning rates! Read on to find out how to save money on laundry and dry cleaning.

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Put Off Cleaning… Within Reason

Okay, this might be a bit controversial, but hear me out first. How many of us will wear something only to spend a few hours indoors? If the place you’re in is clean and you don’t sweat while wearing those clothes, chances are you won’t need to have it washed right away. Whenever I wear something that doesn’t need cleaning right after I wear it, I usually just hang it and air it out. That’s usually sufficient to make it fresh again for the next time I need to wear it. But I need to be clear about something here: you need to exercise good judgment. If your shirt or pants are filthy, please have it washed. That’s not being frugal, that’s just being filthy. And you should never wear underwear twice before washing!

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Avoid Items That Require Dry Cleaning

Fancy fabrics like silk, velvet, cashmere, and wool usually – if not always – require dry cleaning. They also happen to be high maintenance, so if you buy anything made of those fabrics, you will also have to pay for regular dry cleaning. And you’ll find that the costs of those quickly pile up. The easiest way to avoid having to spend on dry cleaning is to avoid buying clothes that require it in the first place! In addition to those fabrics, even affordable ones like polyester suggest dry cleaning. So avoid at all costs! (Plus, polyester is just gross.)

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Try DIY Laundry and Dry Cleaning

How much should dry cleaning cost? If you do it yourself, it doesn’t have to cost a whole lot. There are home dry cleaning kits available. My favorite is Dryel At-Home Dry Cleaning Starter Kit. As the name implies, it’s a starter kit, making it easy for even the most frazzled person to use. The same goes for regular laundry. Instead of paying a laundry service, you can do it yourself – I like to work or read while in between washing cycles.

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Augment Your Income

You can use a rewards site to earn some extra cash, which can be used to offset the cost of laundry and dry cleaning. The only thing better than using one rewards site is using two rewards sites! I suggest ZoomBucks and GrabPoints, since both sites are totally legit, and have pretty awesome payouts. Both sites are actually owned and operated by a single company, so that gives you an idea of a why they’re both great.

On GrabPoints and ZoomBucks, you earn points whenever you complete watching a video, answering a survey, or taking an offer. You can then trade these points for cash or gift cards when you’ve earned 2 dollars’ worth of points. It’s really easy to do, and the money you earn can help pay for your regular laundry and dry cleaning expenses.

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Break the “Dry Clean-Only” Rule

I’ve tried this a few times with no harmful effects on my clothes, but this is still something you should do at your own risk. Many clothing labels will suggest dry cleaning, but they’re just that – suggestions. You can usually get away with washing them the regular way.

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