Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 5: Dry Cleaning

Tony: I am sick of ironing my shirts but there's no way I can pay $3.00 per shirt.  There must be a cheaper place.

Megan: Do you realize all of the toxic chemicals they use when they dry clean clothes?  And then you put those clothes on your body?!?

I like my shirts to be pressed.  Usually that means setting up the ironing board in front of the TV for a few days.  Megan, for some reason, doesn't like our living room to look like a laundry room.  I'm willing to take them to a dry cleaner, but only if it is dirt cheap.

Before the "new economy," I simply took shirts to the nearest dry cleaner that I could.  This time around, I decided to call every dry cleaner in the county to see where I could get it done cheaply.   Here's a Google Map of what I found (Green is cheapest, red is most expensive. Click on it for store names and prices):

View Cleaners in Burlington, NC in a larger map

I took all of my shirts to the $0.99 location first, but since I never go to that shopping plaza unless I am re-titling a car, it was about two weeks before I picked them up. I think next time I'll stop at Lydia's since it is only $0.25 more and is right next to the grocery store I go to all the time. Sure, it isn't free, but it is still much less than the $1.95 I was paying before.

We'll score this as a win for pocket, a definite loss for planet.

The score so far...
Pocket: 2, Planet: 1, Win-Win: 2


  1. I have a hard time believing that dry cleaning could ever be good for your pocket, unless you are including the cost of your time. I used an online appliance energy cost calculator and it reported that it would only cost $0.29 on our electricity bill to iron for 5 hours. Also, what about the cost of just asking the dry cleaner to press the shirts and not clean them with their nasty chemicals? Did you ask what chemical method they are using? Some are worse than others for the environment. Here is an article summarizing the dangers of dry cleaning and some reports on the toxic effects of perc (the main chemical used in this).

  2. I read an article a while back in the Times-News about some local dry cleaner who was changing to a green process. I can't remember which one, but it might be worth calling around.