Money Wise--Doing Your Own Dry Cleaning - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

10/11/04

Money Wise--Doing Your Own Dry Cleaning

If you have to get something dry cleaned every now and then, financially it's probably not that big of a deal. But if you have to do it on a regular basis, it can cost a fortune. We found an alternative that could end up saving you hundreds of dollars.

Nancy Cox owns the Acme Costume Shop on Highway 80 in Garden City. She rents and sells costumes, and the ones that are rented have to be cleaned thoroughly so they can be put back out on display. The problem though is that the most of the costumes require dry cleaning, which means Cox's dry cleaning bill should be through the roof.

But  actually it isn't. "I try to hand wash as much as possible," she told us.

And what she doesn't hand wash, gets tossed into the washer, and yes, that includes the items that read "dry clean only."

"By trial and error I have found what does and doesn't work as far as hand washing or machine washing, which is generally what I use," Cox said.

But, don't get it wrong: there is a specific technique. "Cold or lukewarm water, a gentle cycle."

And liquid detergent is a must. Once the wash is done, the dryer is a no-no. "A dryer seems to be the enemy of every fabric," Cox told us.

Instead, she hangs the clothes up to dry. And once they're about halfway there, still a little damp, that's when she irons, with the clothes inside out. Plus, she uses a special spray starch sold just about everywhere that gives clothes a little bit of extra length.

This technique doesn't work on everything though. There are a few items Nancy would never wash herself, and only a good dry cleaning will do. "I always send wool to the dry cleaner. That's one I don't play with."

And the same goes for suits. 

We did speak with a few dry cleaner owners in town and they don't recommend washing anything yourself that has a dry clean only tag on it, but Cox stands by her techniques.

If you have money questions you'd like answered in Money Wise, email moneywise@wtoc.com.

Reported by: Dmitra Denmark, ddenmark@wtoc.com

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