Got a leather coat, down comforter, suit, or other item made of quality material? Chances are, it says ‘Dry clean only.’ So then how much does dry cleaning cost?
Dry cleaning is the path to take if you have a garment with a ‘Dry clean only’ label, and certainly a smart choice if you’re worried about throwing a delicate or expensive item into the washing machine. Dry cleaning can keep your favorite clothes, comforters, and other items in great shape so they’ll serve you well for years to come. In the long run, it’s cheaper than cleaning them yourself. But how much will you have to pay to dry clean your goods? Keep reading to see the average dry cleaning prices.
In This Article
What Is Dry Cleaning Exactly?
Unlike wet cleaning that involves using soap, chemicals, and water to remove stains and freshen up clothing, dry cleaning is a cleaning process that only uses a chemical solvent without water to clean garments and even household items. The dry cleaning process still involves fluids and these can be highly flammable. Some chemical solvents are also very toxic, but many dry cleaners are moving away from using toxic solvents in an effort to maintain eco-friendly practices.
Solvents such as benzene, camphene, gasoline, and kerosene may be used in a dry cleaning machine to circulate the solvent into the machine as the garments are rotated on a cylinder or large wheel. The solvent is extracted from the garments, and the garments are transferred to a separate dryer or dried in the dry cleaning machine. The warm air during the drying process vaporizes any solvent left in the material, and the solvent is then purified through a heating process before being pumped back into a holding tank. Learn more about the dry cleaning process on the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute International website.
What Factors Influence the Cost of Dry Cleaning?
Dry cleaning businesses take a number of operating costs into consideration when determining their prices. The type of solvents and chemicals used, the overhead costs of operating the dry cleaning space, employee costs, the costs associated with purchasing and maintaining the dry cleaning equipment, and local taxes and fees required to dispose of solvents are all considered. Local taxes and fees vary by municipality, city, and state. Some states have local laws that require dry cleaners to use only eco-friendly solvents and adopt ‘green’ practices, which can also increase operating costs.
Some dry cleaners offer express services that guarantee service within a few hours or the same day. You can expect to pay two to three times as much as the standard rate for express dry cleaning services. Some dry cleaners also offer premium-level services, which include a multi-stage cleaning process with hand finishing of the garment, minor repairs, and additional insurance coverage. You might select this option when you are taking in more expensive items, such as a tuxedo, wedding dress, or designer home goods for dry cleaning.
Average Dry Cleaning Prices, by Garment
Since every dry cleaner charges different prices, it can be difficult to budget for dry cleaning services when you decide to start having clothes professionally laundered or are moving to a new area. We’ve compiled average dry cleaning prices from dry cleaners across the country, including New York City, NY; San Francisco, CA; West St. Paul, MN; and Miami, FL. These were calculated using the largest garment or item — for example, a king-size comforter and a three-piece suit. Keep in mind the numbers used to determine the average were starting prices. Your final price may vary significantly depending on the type of garment and any premium services or upgrades you choose, such as hand finishing or repair. Some dry cleaners set prices with a flat fee per pound, regardless of the type of garment.
Here’s what you can expect to pay for different types of garments and items based on our findings:
Average Cost to Dry Clean a Shirt
The cost to dry clean a shirt can increase by a few dollars if you choose to have the shirt hand-pressed after cleaning. If you need minor repairs, such as sewing on a button or stitching up a small hole, the dry cleaner will charge an extra fee.
The average cost to dry clean a shirt without hand-pressing is $3.75.
Average Cost to Dry Clean a Pair of Pants
The type of material can affect the cost of dry cleaning a pair of paints. For example, leather pants will cost more to clean than linen pants.
The average cost to dry clean a pair of pants is $7.45.
Average Cost to Dry Clean a Suit
The type of material can affect the cost of dry cleaning a suit. For example, a wool suit will cost more to dry clean than a polyester suit.
The average cost to dry clean a suit is $15.15
Average Cost to Dry Clean a Coat
The cost to dry clean a coat will largely depend on the type of coat. For example, a leather coat will cost more to dry clean than a wool coat.
The average cost to dry clean a coat is $18.
Average Cost to Dry Clean a Wedding Dress
Many dry cleaners do not offer wedding dress cleaning services in-house because the fabric is so delicate. They may refer you to another vendor that specializes in cleaning and preserving wedding dresses. These companies usually offer complete package services that include cleaning, preservation, home delivery of your dress, and minor alterations or repairs. Still, most dry cleaners will accept orders to dry clean a gown or other special occasion dress.
The average cost to dry clean a wedding dress can range from $250 to $500+, depending on location and preservation services.
Average Cost to Dry Clean a Comforter
The cost to dry clean a comforter can vary by material. For example, a cotton comforter will cost less to clean than a down comforter.
The average cost to dry clean a comforter is $30.
Average Cost to Dry Clean Draperies
Dry cleaning prices for draperies are often calculated by the foot. However, the material may also play a part in the overall price. For example, silk draperies will cost more to dry clean than linen ones.
The average cost to dry clean draperies is $17 per panel.
The cost of dry cleaning is dependant upon a variety of factors, including state and local fees and taxes, overhead costs, and employee compensation. Many dry cleaners have also switched to environmentally friendly practices, including organic dry cleaning solutions, which inevitably increase prices. Also, expect to pay more for services such as hand-pressing, repairs, and express service.