Start by following the care labels inside your clothes. Customers spend a lot of money dry-cleaning items that don’t require it. Unless the tag reads, “Dry clean only,” don’t bother. Take khakis: You would be amazed by how many people pay to have them dry-cleaned, at upwards of $6 a pair! Additionally, you’ll pay $30 to $60 to dry-clean a comforter, but many of them are machine washable. Most home washers aren’t large enough to hold them, but you can wash a comforter—and other bulky items, like winter coats and blankets—in an oversize machine at a Laundromat. That could save you as much as a few hundred dollars a year.
Also keep your eyes peeled for store openings, because new dry cleaners often run limited promotions, such as 10 to 20 percent off all items or up to 30 percent off shirts. It also pays to shop around; be sure to consider not just the closest stores but those in neighboring towns as well. Since many cleaners now offer free pickup and drop-off, you might not even have to go out of your way to get a better price.