Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 148: Dry-Cleaning FAIL

On Day 148 I finally picked up dry-cleaning that had been at the cleaners for weeks.

Laziness, busyness, poorness had all prevented me from picking it up, forcing me to face limited clothing options. And when I finally did pick it up, I faced a hefty $75 dry-cleaning bill.

I was horrified that I could spend so much on having my clothes cleaned, and knowing I had more clothes that needed to be dropped off, I decided I needed to make a change.

Day 148's thing I've never done before was to do my own dry-cleaning.

My reaction to the big bill was not a surprise to me. My financial freakouts like this one happen with other aspects of my life too. After eating out every meal for a week, I'll look at my bank statement, have a meltdown, make a mad dash to the grocery store and vow to bring my lunch everyday for work.

And then the food runs out, someone invites me to dinner, and the cycle begins again.

But $75 is a lot to get my clothes cleaned, and if the at-home Dryell kit could ease the financial burden a bit, I was happy to give it a try.

The kit itself was $11, about the same amount as getting three garments professionally cleaned.

Included is a laundry bag, a "cleaning" pad, which seemed to be the equivalent of a wet dryer sheet, and a stain removing solution.

I followed the directions, which were simple. Remove the stains using the provided solution and absorbent pad (this was a disaster and did not remove stains at all), throw the clothes in the laundry bag with the wet dryer sheet and tumble it in a dryer for half an hour.

That's it? And my clothes are going to come back cleaned, pressed, on hangers with little orange tags? I've been around long enough to know that if something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

I talked to my friend Kyle on the phone later that night. I was sure that if anyone had ever attempted cleaning her clothes this way, it would be her.

She told me she had used Dryell, but she sounded less than enthused about it.

That makes two of us.

She went on to tell me that she uses her Dryell bag for sweaters. But blouses and pants will still have to be ironed, so she gave up using it for any of her nice clothes.

When I went to retrieve my bag of dry-cleaning, I remained hopeful that Dryell could be a cost-effective replacement for taking my clothes to the cleaners. My clothes were more wrinkled than they were before and there was no evidence that I could see that they were cleaned at all. They didn't even really smell that much better.

I looked at the bag full of wrinkled clothes and sighed. Did I just fail at laundry?

I wouldn't say I'm the most domesticated person in the world, but I love doing laundry. For me, it's instant gratification. The clothes start out dirty, and within an hour, they're clean. In a world and a life that sometimes feels like it's spinning out of control, I like that I can find success in cleaning clothes.

No, I decided, I will never fail at laundry. Besides leaving a blue ink pen in the pocket of my white robe a couple of weeks ago, leaving it now tie-dyed, I will always succeed at laundry.

Dry-cleaning, though, well that's a whole different story. One that should be left to the professionals.


  1. thanks for the review - I've always wondered about dryell and now I know not to try it.

  2. I've always wondered about Dryell too. Glad to know not to waste my money! If you love doing laundry, feel free to come to my house. There are tons of little dirty clothes to wash. I usually have to do at LEAST one load per day! You are more than welcome to take over THAT! :)

  3. Do someone else's laundry...that's something I've never done before.