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Your Dry Cleaner?s Double Standard

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Women are charged more for dry cleaning services. Don't fume, find a better way. While it is true that the practice is unfair it is also true that we have options for keeping our clothes clean and holding onto more of our cash. Try some of these tactics to stem or stop the unfair flow of your dry cleaning dollars.

? Examine labels before you make a clothing purchase. Go for easy care (read machine washable) items whenever possible.

? Determine if dry cleaning is a suggestion or a mandate before you shell out big bucks. If dry cleaning is not necessary for the care of your fabric, consider gentle hand or machine washing.

? Investigate home dry cleaning products such as Dryel. These products work with a special bag and fabric-softener like cleaning sheet, and your dryer to freshen your clothing. You can find home dry cleaning products in the laundry aisle of your grocer or local discount store. Dryel and similar products typically run around $10.00 and clean 6-9 pieces, a significant savings over dry cleaning costs.

? Negotiate with your dry cleaner for better prices. Politely mention your concerns around gender price differentials and ask that your cleaner offer comparable prices for comparable fabrics.

? Invest in a steamer. They are now widely available and priced affordably.

? Take advantage of savings and discount programs. Some dry cleaners offer discounts with pre-payment or a particular number of items.

? Pay cash. Unless you pay your credit card balance in full each month you incur additional costs in interest on top of your already exorbitant dry cleaning costs.

? Wear clothing items twice, instead of once before making a trip to the cleaner.

Dry cleaning costs can run as high as several hundreds of dollars each year. These costs are inflated by gender bias. Fight back and keep more of your cash with a few of the suggestions listed above.

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Nicole Soltau is the President and Founder of - The Leading Credit Union Directory Search, Find Join.

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