Shopping: Buying Dry-Clean Only Items

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Back in the day, when I was in my late teens to early twenties, my shopping motto was, “cheap and chic” and “quantity over quality” because getting more items to fill my wardrobe meant more than how long they would last for. For this reason, my closet, in its entirety, was machine-washable. As I started branching out from the cheaper stores over the years, in an effort to instil more quality pieces into my wardrobe, it became necessary to use a dry cleaning service to clean and preserve the integrity of the fabrics.

When you are shopping the washing instructions tag should be one of the first things we look at to see if the piece we so desperately want will actually fit in with our lifestyle. Having a dry clean-only item of clothing can sometimes be a burden because as soon as it gets stained it’s going to need to go to the cleaners; which means you’ll have to drop it off, wait for it to be cleaned, pay for the cleaning and pick it up. Not quite the same as throwing something in the wash at home.

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Dry Cleaning is important 

You may have dryclean-only items in your closet that have been through the wash and because you let them air dry they turned out fine, well that’s lucky for you, but for some garments (especially the ones with details like beading, sequins, jewels or embroidery) dry-cleaning is a necessary part of the cleaning cycle for those items. This is not to say that drycleaning these items can’t have a damaging effect on those special details (many a times I’ve had to sign a waiver, releasing my dry cleaner of any liability for cleaning garments with beading, leather or suede details) but in general the risks are much lower than with traditional washing.

Dry Cleaning is so pricey

The major deterrent for most people when it comes to using a drycleaning service would probably be the cost. In Canada, the average dry cleaning costs are as follows; men’s button-down shirt – $2.95, men’s trousers – $7.00, men’s 2pc suit – $17.00, women’s blazer – $10.25, women’s blouse $7.00, women’s trousers – $7.00, skirt – $10.50, and dress – $12.50. (Source: While these costs vary from cleaner to cleaner it is an added expense and it is understandable that for some people this is not affordable on a weekly or even monthly basis which is why I usually tend to wear these items less frequently and wait until I have several dry-clean only items (with stains) before taking them to be cleaned.

FMA - Dry Cleaning Post

FMA – Dry Cleaning Post by fashion-mama-aquarius featuring Rebecca Taylor

Blue prom dress
80 CAD –

Rebecca Taylor top
275 CAD –

L K Bennett coat
640 CAD –

Givenchy shorts
1,745 CAD –

3.1 Phillip Lim cropped pants
435 CAD –

Carven short skirt
400 CAD –

Get a deal on your dry cleaning

There are many dry cleaners who now offer loyalty programs for repeat customers so check out their website or Facebook page to see if yours offers any ways to save. There may also be coupons available on discount finding sites like, and or you can sometimes buy a deal for reduced rate services from a daily deals website like, or

So there are ways of making dry cleaning a more affordable luxury in your life, if you take good care of the clothing that you spend your hard-earned money on, it will last you for many, many years and will end up being more valuable to you in the long run. For some clothing purchases, quality is the only way to go!

How many of you use dry cleaning? Do you look for deals or pay full prices? Let me know in the comments below!

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