One of the most common questions asked of dry cleaners is “how often should I dry clean my clothes?” This question obviously comes from the perception of dry cleaning being inconvenient and expensive, both of which are really not the case. The easiest answer to the question is “when they are dirty,” but of course that is a vague way to answer. How “dirty” something is generally is a perception, and one thing may feel dirty just because you have been trained for your whole life that you wash your clothing after you wear it once. In the case of cottons and most knits, this is probably true due to the fact that they are generally casual clothing, and you are probably sweating in them more than the case of a formal outfit. T shirts and cotton pants are subjected to far heavier soiling because they are specifically made to be able to withstand washing in a machine often. This is why you have been trained to wash your clothes after every wearing. Most formal clothing never comes in direct contact with your skin, in the example of a jacket that has a shirt under it. The jacket will generally be sitting on top of a formal collared shirt, which is on top of an undershirt all designed to keep the more delicate fabrics away from your skin where sweat and odor are transferred. In this case, you would wash the undershirt at home after every time you wear it. You would probably dry clean the formal shirt after every one or two wearings depending if it is summer or winter, and you would iron it every time it is worn. The suit itself would be dry cleaned after ever four wearings or so, because it is not in direct contact with your skin and therefor the soiling and odor is mostly from outside. If you stain it or spill anything on it then it should be dry cleaned immediately.
In the case of formal wear that does come in contact with your skin, like dresses or suit pants, these should probably be dry cleaned after every two wearings in the winter and after each time it is worn in the summer. The sweat and oils from your skin are the cause of the yellowing and odor that gets trapped in the fabric of these garments and ages them, so you are going to make sure that any residue from your skin is removed from them quickly. If these types of garments are left too long in between dry cleanings, the oils can build up and ruin them permanently.
Dry cleaning is not as inconvenient and expensive as you think, and many dry cleaners like Complete Cleaners will offer some form of pickup and delivery service that allows you to put the items right outside your home in a bag and we will come get them. We will then leave them in the same place when they are cleaned. In the case of our business, we offer this service free of charge, and keep our prices as low as possible so that you dry clean your clothing enough to keep it looking good. It is far less expensive to dry clean than it is to replace.