Dry Cleaning: Hazard to Your Wallet (and Maybe Your Health)
Of course we all like to look good. For some of us, professional attire is a job requirement. We spend a lot of money to look good but we are also doing a lot more homework about how to look good for less money. Dry cleaning seems to be one of those areas where people still spend money without giving it much thought. If you have your clothing and other goods dry-cleaned regularly, have you ever sat down to find out how much it costs you in a year? You might be surprised. Because it is considered by some to be a necessary evil, few fail to really figure out how much dry cleaning is really costing them. Here are 7 things you should know about dry cleaning services.
Dry Cleaning Is an Expensive Skill
As with any professional business skill, it costs a lot to employ the skillful. In turn, you will be expected to pay top-dollar for the use of the one's skills. The employees who press shirts and pants get paid well because of the talent they have for doing the job correctly. Plus, the machines and technology of the dry cleaning industry are not cheap.
Women's Clothes Cost More
It's not an unfair gender discrimination thing. Simply put, women's clothing traditionally have more bells and whistles than men's clothes. It takes extra time to work around buttons, other ornaments, and fancy trimmings than it does to press a man's work shirt. Silk shirts of either gender also take more time and therefore cost more money.
Potential Health Hazard
The cleaning agent special to the dry cleaning business is called perchloroethylene. Perc, for short, has long been considered to be a possible carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) that can cause illness or injury from exposure. Some dry cleaning services are working with inexperienced staff who are not properly cleaning clothing. If you distinctly smell of chemical, your clothing is not being cleaned correctly and your health may be in danger.
There are some businesses that are capitalizing on the health concerns of dry cleaning solvents. These companies promote the use of "green cleaners" that are safe for the consumer and the environment. The downside is they don't work well and you can end up paying for services that didn't provide any results, especially on tough stains and perspiration.
While dry cleaning services are getting more expensive, there is another popular reason why people are losing money having items dry cleaned — forgetfulness. All too often people will bring items in for service and then completely forget to pick them back up again. As we are a busy society, it can be easy to forget to pick up linens, bedspreads, and outerwear that you don't need for the office each day.
Liability of the Lost
Another common dilemma for dry cleaning customers is that from time to time, items brought in for service leave with someone else. Some dry cleaners will do the best job they can stalling you in hopes the items will be returned. As with many business owners, they are not in a hurry to write you a check for items they have misplaced. If you have to use a dry cleaner, find a reliable one you can afford.
While dry cleaning your clothing is a necessary evil, there is something else to consider. When you buy new pieces for your wardrobe, try sticking with wash and wear items only. Check all labels for care instructions and limit what "dry-clean only" clothing you buy. There are a lot of manufacturers that have worked to revolutionize clothing to avoid dry cleaning altogether. There are also DIY dry cleaning kits you can use at home. Product reviews are mixed based on consumer reviews but you might want to give such a product a test-run to see how you feel about them before nixing the idea completely. If you still must use the services of a dry cleaning, do some comparison shopping for best price and customer service if necessary in your area. You can also ask a quality clothing store for referrals.