Save money on dry cleaning by going 'bulk'

Save money on dry cleaning by going 'bulk' »Play Video
Most of us are prepared for the expense of dry cleaning when we're only dealing with a few items of clothing at a time. But when you have a large quantity of clothing there's a little-known option that might help. Unbeknownst to most consumers, some cleaners offer bulk pricing- where you pay by the pound, instead of by the piece.

Most cleaners that offer the "by the pound" option charge a flat rate per pound with a minimum amount of clothing you can bring. I found Helena's in Seattle during a search online. Will Waterstraat says most people who use bulk at his shop are commercial customers, like local theatre production companies that have large dry cleaning loads. But he also sees everyday consumers who come in a couple times a year- when storing coats, sweaters and other garments between seasons.

"We charge $3.80 per pound with a 6 pound minimum. If you don't meet the 6 pound minimum, we will charge you for the 6 pounds," explained Waterstraat.

When you pay by bulk the first thing that happens is the weigh in- everything goes on the scale. Then everything gets sorted by weight, color and delicates. For the most part, bulk orders are treated just like itemized dry clean orders- with a few key exceptions.

"The difference between bulk cleaning and itemized cleaning- is we're not going to work on individual stains," said Waterstraat.

That means no pre-treating the stains. No ironing out the wrinkles. No individual hangers with clear plastic clothes bags. Your clothes simply go into the cleaning machine- and when they're clean, they're done.

"We then fold it, and then put it in a bag and it's ready to go," Waterstraat added.

Any special attention after that is up to you. If you want your clothes on hangers, Waterstraat said there's a small additional charge.

Keep in mind- not all cleaners offer pricing by the pound and many don't have websites, so you have to call around- and be sure to ask about the minimum pounds you can take.

As for how much clothes typically weigh, for a 6 pound minimum you're talking roughly the equivalent to three 2-piece suits. A $3.80 a pound that's around 23 plus tax versus more than 50 plus tax by the piece.

Bulk pricing is a great solution for "Dry Clean Only" items that need cleaning before you donate them to charitable organizations. Just be sure you have enough hangers on hand, because many charities want the clothes on hangers when you drop them off.

If you know of a good, reliable dry cleaning business that offers by-the-pound pricing, share the information in the comment section of this story so people in your community can check them out.

When considering any dry cleaners, pay attention to the condition of the operation, the sense of order, the level of professionalism, employee interaction, and interaction with customers. And make sure you understand the price by pound process completely before you hand over your clothing.

Bulk pricing is a great solution for "Dry Clean Only" items that need cleaning before you donate them to charitable organizations. Just be sure you have enough hangers on hand, because many charities want the clothes on hangers when you drop them off.