Saving Money at the Dry Cleaners

More people wash clothes at home or wear same clothes twice

At the Dry Clean Super Center in Hurst, business is slipping, but the owner doesn't believe he has lost any customers.

"We noticed the number of customers is still the same, or just about the same,” owner Rob McKenzie said. “But we've noticed they're not bringing in as many pieces."

The change started a few months ago, at about the time of the economic downturn, McKenzie said.

It’s a sign that people are doing more laundry at home -- or wearing some clothes more than once, he said.

Dallas designer Abi Ferrin said people can often avoid a trip to the dry cleaners.

"I think dry cleaning is a really good place you can save money, if you do it prudently," she said.

Knits are fine to hand wash and hang dry, she said.

“Just make sure it's not wool or cashmere," Ferrin said.

Wool, cashmere and silk should never be hand-washed, she said.

And with silk, there's a secret.

"Just rub it off, and it's amazing,” Ferrin said. “People don't realize (it). That's the best way to get stains out of silk."

Many men's dress shirts, especially cotton shirts with stretch fabric, are also okay to wash at home, she said.

"The thing is, you need to get them out of the dryer right when the buzzer beeps," Ferrin said.

McKenzie said people should balance the cost savings with the risk of ruining their clothes.

"You have the issue of color loss, shrinkage," he said. "So you can do it at home, but there are certain risks."

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