Nothing beats the feeling of collecting your clean and fresh smelling clothes back from the dry cleaning store. Everything is neatly pressed, crisp and spotless. They might even look like brand new clothes to outsiders.
Dry cleaning has evolved from an additional option to a necessity with almost every piece of fashionable clothing tagged with the ‘dry-clean only’ label.
Unfortunately, dry cleaning can be rather expensive most of the time. It is also harmful to the environment, even if the dry cleaners claim to be ‘green’.
How Much Does Dry Cleaning Cost?
The cost of dry cleaning differs from company to company. Generally, prices are charged based on the article of clothing brought in. For instance, a men’s two-piece suit can cost anywhere between $12 to $22 if brought in for dry cleaning.
On the other hand, a simpler item like a shirt generally costs somewhere around $5. For more delicate articles of clothing like a wedding gown, prices can increase to anywhere from $80 to $120.
Some dry cleaning services charge differently for men and women. Some may also have a minimum order applicable for free delivery and transport fees. Additional charges may also apply if the material of your clothes is more delicate, such as leather and suede.
As there are several factors at play, it is recommended that you visit the website of the dry cleaning service to have a better gauge of their costs.
Why is Dry Cleaning So Expensive?
Dry cleaning can be a costly affair, much to the confusion of many people who may think it is the same as laundry. Dry cleaning mainly includes a process called pressing/finishing. However, there are several reasons why dry cleaning would cost more, such as:
Use of expensive machinery
The machine used for dry cleaning is often on the more expensive side and goes beyond the functions of a typical washing machine. It is often equipped with various other added functions, such as a built-in dryer, to provide the best dry cleaning function. As the maintenance costs are higher than normal laundry washing machines, this contributes to the cost of dry cleaning.
As the clothing items taken for dry cleaning are usually high-quality or fairly expensive items, insurance is often needed to protect the dry cleaning service or company from any potential major losses. The cost of this insurance coverage may end up contributing to the price of the dry cleaning as well.
Training costs for staff members
Dry cleaning staffs who help with dry cleaning services usually need to undergo specialised training so that they are capable of using the complex equipment required for dry cleaning.
After all, dry cleaning is a delicate and somewhat complicated procedure that requires a certain skill set. As a result, the cost of training can be extremely high and may trickle down to the dry cleaning costs for clients.
Providing complimentary services
Most dry cleaning services offer complementary services besides dry cleaning. This includes pressing your clothes after they are clean or even replacing any loose or missing buttons. These additional services often add to the cost of dry cleaning as you are paying for them as well.
Helpful read: Home Cleaning Cost Guide In Singapore
Does Dry Clean Damage Clothes?
Most dry cleaning processes usually involve using toxic solvents to remove and treat stains. Not only do these toxic solvents harm the environment, but they are also dangerous for our skin when we wear these clothes after cleaning. It is often difficult to ensure that our clothes will be 100% toxic-free after sending them for dry cleaning.
The debate is still ongoing with regards to whether one should consider engaging other alternatives of dry cleaning. Dry cleaning has both benefits and disadvantages. Do consult a professional dry cleaning expert before you make a decision.
Is Dry Cleaning Better Than Washing?
While dry cleaning is more costly and not necessarily the most environmentally-friendly option, it does have several factors that make it better than washing in terms of cleanliness. Overall, using more environmentally friendly solvents is one consideration for improvement.
Preserving the colour of your clothes
Dry cleaning is a delicate process that can help to preserve the vibrant colours of your clothes better than normal washing can. While an article of clothing will usually lose its vibrancy and fade after two to three washes, dry cleaning will not lead to the same problem as the solvent used for cleaning is lighter and less harsh.
Removing stains and odour
As the process does not use water, soap or detergent to remove stains from your clothes, dry cleaning is more effective in removing grease and stubborn stains that normal washing cannot easily achieve.
Maintaining the shape of clothes
Dry cleaning services employ a special drying machine to dry the cleaned clothes. This ensures that the clothes do not shrink or stretch out during the drying process – which can often happen in normal washing when a dryer is used. This helps to better preserve the size and shape of your clothes so that they will fit perfectly.
Ensuring lasting durability
When it comes to high-quality and delicate fabrics like silk, leather or even cashmere, washing them the normal way can cause irreparable damage to these fabrics. In these cases, dry cleaning can help to better protect these high-end fabrics while ensuring that they remain thoroughly clean.
In general, due to the delicate procedure of dry cleaning, dry cleaning can help to lengthen the durability of your clothes so that they last longer and stay in a better condition.
How Often Should You Dry Clean?
As a general rule of thumb, how often you should dry clean depends on the article of clothing in question. For example, suits, jeans and dresses should be sent for dry cleaning after every two to three years, whereas blazers and jackets can be sent after every four to five years.
For smaller articles of clothing such as neckties and bowties, there is no fixed regularity and frequency can be as needed. Similarly, for those who own seasonal clothes such as winter coats, it is advisable to dry clean them once during the season and once more before storing them away.
Of course, the frequency of your dry cleaning is dependent on several factors, especially how often you wear a particular item. If an item is worn regularly, it tends to get dirty more easily and may require more frequent cleaning.
The same applies if you are someone who sweats easily, dry cleaning may be required on a more regular basis regularly to avoid generating a strong odour in your clothes. If clothing is stained or soiled, immediate dry cleaning or washing is recommended.
For those who struggle with the costly nature of dry cleaning, fortunately, we have figured out how you can avoid sending your clothes for dry cleaning almost entirely in the future. This will help you to save both your wallet and your clothes. Here are six ideas on how you can do so!
Check the Material before Buying
The reality is that only certain materials need to be dry cleaned by professionals. Most fabrics, even those that are stated to be delicate, can be washed at home using the right methods. You should avoid high maintenance fabrics, such as leather, velvet or suede, for clothes that you will wear frequently.
You can save money by not sending these items for dry cleaning, and also the cost of buying those fabrics which are usually more expensive. Checking the material of the item can help with your overall decision to buy it.
Put in Extra Effort When Washing at Home
There is a reason why most fabrics are recommended to be dry cleaned only; they require extra care and attention when washing them. Therefore, if you wish to avoid sending your clothes for dry cleaning, then you should show them the same level of care at home.
You can have fresh clothes without dry cleaning them if you ensure that your washing machine is kept clean. There is a small percentage of germs and bacteria that cannot be killed by regular detergent or bleach. Imagine the accumulated amount of germs and bacteria that did not die each time you used your washing machine.
If you want your clothes to feel as fresh as sending them for dry cleaning, you should put in the extra effort to get rid of those germs residing in your washing machine. You can use a home cleaning kit for your washing machine to kill off the remaining germs and bacteria. Additionally, you should run your washing machine through an empty cycle at least once every month.
Remove your cleaned laundry from the washing machine once it is finished. Try not to leave your damp laundry in the washing machine for too long as it might result in an odour. This will cause the smell to stick on your clothes the next time you use the washing machine.
Contrary to popular belief, fabrics like cotton, rayon, wool and linen can all be hand-washed and dried at home. But to do this at home requires extra care and effort.
Use mild soap to wash each cloth, and you should use the soap sparingly. Then, gently hand wash the fabric before flattening it to dry. Such delicate fabric fibres can tear easily when they are wet. Therefore, practice utmost caution not to overstretch the material when you are washing them.
Steaming Your Clothes Yourself
A cheaper way to give your clothes a crisp and fresh look without sending them to the dry cleaners is to use a hand steamer. Hand steamers can be commonly found in department stores in Singapore and are relatively cheap. Steaming your clothes will get rid of any unwanted wrinkles, making them look much smarter and neater.
However, if you prefer not to spend on a steamer, you can always hang your clothes in the shower. To do this, turn your shower on to the hottest setting and leave the water running. Hang your clothes on the shower rod away from the water direction and close the bathroom door. You can even use pails or buckets to collect the hot water used at the end so that it does not go to waste.
Therefore, this is the most cost-effective way to steam your clothes. The only trade-off is that it will take up a lot of time, especially if you have a massive pile of laundry to steam.
Make Use of Your Iron
Ironing can be a tiring chore, especially when you have to stand at the ironing board for an extended time, depending on how big your pile of laundry is. To make things worse, the heat from the iron does not make life any easier for you.
Before you know it, you will be sweating profusely, especially in a humid environment like Singapore. In the worst-case scenario, your beads of perspiration might even drip onto your newly washed clothes. Therefore, ironing is something that we all dread.
However, it is one of the single best things that you can do to make your clothes look fresh and new. The heat from the iron can get rid of any wrinkles and odours on your clothes, leaving your clothes with a fresh look and smell.
You should try to iron your clothes on the lowest heat setting to avoid burning them. Ironing helps you to get creases out of your clothes without sending them for dry cleaning. This helps you to save money and prevent your clothes from coming into contact with any harmful chemicals used during the dry cleaning process.
Care for Your Clothes
The best way to maintain the fresh appearance and cleanliness of your clothes without going through dry cleaning is to take proper care of them. Hang your clothes up whenever you are not wearing them to prevent them from sustaining wrinkles.
Use ‘huggable hangers’ or fabric-covered hangers to hang your clothes for the best results. Using thin or wire hangers might overstretch or damage the fabric of your shirts by leaving marks on the shoulders.
You should also make an effort to trim any loose threads on your clothes as soon as possible. It will help to reduce any chances for the loose threads to get caught in the washing machine, which might damage the fabric.
Try to use mesh laundry bags for your delicate fabrics to prevent them from getting holes and tears. A mesh laundry bag works as a physical barrier for your delicate fabrics against any outside materials. It reduces the friction on your delicate pieces and guards against snagging from other items in the washing machine.
Investing a few extra minutes in your daily laundry routine can go a long way in terms of cost savings by extending the life of your clothes.
Tips to save money on Dry Cleaning
- Use all offered services
Professional dry-cleaning services offer various discounted services such as sewing clothes or fixing buttons and zippers. You can utilise these benefits instead of engaging a tailor.
- Engage a reliable dry cleaning company
Engage a service provider in the vicinity of your house and do not keep switching. This will help you save costs on travelling and be a loyal customer at the same time.
- Save on detergent
If you are intending to engage a dry cleaning service, it is best to follow the specific amounts of detergents as recommended. Excessive usage of detergent might damage your clothes.
Do it Yourself
Alternatively, you can always bring the dry cleaning to your home.
What you will need:
- 1 small bowl
- ¾ cup of water
- ¼ cup of vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of borax
- 1 teaspoon of dry oxygen bleach
- 5 to 10 drops of essential oil (optional)
- 1 zip-top pillowcase cover
- 1 washcloth
How to do it:
Combine the water, borax, vinegar, and detergent together in a small bowl. Then, toss in a few drops of your favourite essential oils. The essential oil gives your clothes a wonderful aroma.
You can also skip this step and still be dressed in clean clothes. While the microfiber towel grazes against your clothes during tumbling, the two solutions buff them, and the citric acid helps lift any persisting odours. This mixture creates a dry-cleaning solution that can be used at home.
It’s best to use the bags that come with at-home dry cleaning kits, but if you don’t have any, a zip-top pillowcase cover will suffice. Although you won’t be able to fit larger items into the case, it’s still a convenient way to refresh dry-clean-only garments. Soak the wet cloth in the cleaning solution, squeeze out the excess liquid, and toss the damp
Dry on high for 30 minutes, then hang to dry. It’s fine if your clothes are slightly damp. Iron as necessary, then wear your freshly cleaned clothes without having to go to the dry cleaners! If any liquid remains in the bowl, store it in a sealed container or plastic bag for later use.
Helpful read: Home Cleaning Cost Guide In Singapore
With a little extra care and effort, it is possible to skip the dry cleaning process entirely. By not exposing your clothes to the harmful chemicals used during the dry cleaning process, you will be able to prolong the life of your clothes.
More importantly, you can save a substantial amount of money by avoiding dry cleaning services.
You can use the money saved to buy better quality clothes too! Remember, proper care and maintenance can result in a huge payoff in exchange for just a little bit of effort.
Let us know if you felt that this article was useful to you!
Find Reliable Home Cleaners in Singapore
Homees provides a list of home cleaning professionals in Singapore. If your project is customised and would like to speak to a few reliable cleaners to compare their service, Homees can also match you to the best-rated home cleaning services with your personalised requirements quickly and fuss-free.
There are many aspects to a home, and no doubt, many different kinds of cleaning available.
- Mould Removal
- Odour Removal
- Curtains Cleaning
- Window Cleaning
- Upholstery Cleaning
- Home Dry Cleaning & Laundry
- Appliance Cleaning
- Floor Cleaning
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