Life Without Dry Cleaning – Debt Detox Weeks 5 & 6

In my very first debt detox post, I created a ‘wants vs. needs’ list. Dry cleaning was in the ‘wants’ column. Since then I have had several inquiries about how I’m handling life without dry cleaning. I have reduced my dry cleaning expenses dramatically by experimenting with several different dry cleaning alternatives.

Dry cleaning alternatives: What works

Before we dive into dry cleaning alternatives, you should know that if you own anything chiffon you will still need to dry clean it. The fabric is just too delicate for anything else.

Swash 10 Minute Clothing Care System: Swash 10 Minute Clothing Care System is a machine that you plug into any outlet in your house. My neighbor put it in his walk-in closet. We put it in our bathroom, as we don’t have a laundry room or a walk-in closet. Swash retails for $399.99 (it’s on sale at Amazon right now for $329.99), so it is definitely an investment. However, I spend an average of $150 per month on dry cleaning so Swash should pay for itself in around 4 months time. You need to keep in mind that you do need to use a Swash Pod with every item you put in. They retail at $14.99 per for a 12 pack. You’ll still need to send your clothes to the dry cleaner if the item has a stain on it because Swash does not have any system to remove stains. You’ll also need to send your maxi dresses to the dry cleaner, as they are too long to fit in the Swash.

Machine wash: Use the mesh laundry bags that protect your delicates and wash on the delicate cycle with cold water. Remove immediately once the wash finishes and hang dry or lay flat to dry, depending on the material. If you’re looking to avoid ironing (which I am) then you’ll need to experiment with this, as some items will dry fairly wrinkle free and others will look like you balled them up and shoved them in the bottom of a duffle bag for 3 months. If you’re worried that washing dry clean only clothes will reduce the life expectancy of the garment, then just consider the durability of the fabric. The lighter weight the fabric is, the more likely you are to reduce the life of the clothing. Chiffon clothes will likely be ruined after just a few washes, but I have a dry clean only polyester dress that I’ve been washing on gentle for 3 years and it still looks great.

Dry cleaning alternatives: What doesn’t work

Dryel: Dryel works by putting up to 5 items and a Dryel sheet in a protective garment bag that comes with the Dryel Starter Kit. Then you put the bag in the dryer on medium heat and it kind of steams the clothes for you. If you are one of those people who doesn’t sweat then Dryel could be a great option for you. However, if you were sweating in your clothes then your items will just come out smelling like Dryal and body odor. My clothes dirty clothes didn’t really smell before I used Dryel, but they sure did afterward!

Debt Detox Wins: Weeks 5 & 6

  • Returned $365 of items still within the return window

Debt Detox Losses: Weeks 5 & 6

  • I just went through my expenses for the last 2 weeks and had the stinging realization that I spent over $500 eating out (my husband has been out of town for the last couple of weeks and he normally takes care of the cooking)
  • Engaged in retail therapy and purchased 2 purses, a pair of earrings, a top, and 2 pairs of boots

The current debt situation

  • Total credit card debt: $47,781.64 (that’s $2,477.80 lower than the last report and $4,187.83 less than when I started the debt detox!)
  • Total personal debt: $4,000.00
  • Combined student loan debt: $87,186.89 (that’s $167.64 more than the last report because our minimum payment isn’t as high as the interest that we’re accruing)

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This post was inspired by today’s daily prompt: Sting

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