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Save on Tailor and Dry Cleaning Costs with DIY Fixes

Chereen.Langrill

It seems like everywhere we go someone in my family is tearing a hole in their clothes or dropping food into their lap.

I don’t have the time or money to run to the dry cleaner or tailor every time my daughter falls down and rips a hole in the knee of her favorite jeans!

There are so many unexpected events that demand a share of my household budget. Torn jeans and other clothing-related mishaps don’t have to cost a dime, and there is no need to spend an entire afternoon making repairs!

I have discovered frugal and easy ways to save cherished clothing without any damage to my budget and little drain on my precious time.

Problem: Tears/Repairs. Cost to Repair Professionally: About $15 per article of clothing. Do it Yourself: About $3 per article of clothing.

Fix It: I have a small sewing kit that I got at the dollar store that is loaded with everything I need to tackle a small tear or hole. I keep it in my purse because I have an accident-prone family (okay, I admit I’m the one with the two left feet!) To fix a tear, turn the fabric inside out and tie off any loose threads to keep it from unraveling further. Thread a needle and sew up the hole. Use liquid fabric adhesive (available online and at craft stores for about $8) to quickly mend any holes without a needle and thread. To hide any damage to my four-year-old daughter’s clothing, I use colorful iron-on patches or embroidered appliqué motifs ($1 to $5). If the tear is large, create a new design on the clothing by using several of the patches.

Problem: Hemming. Cost to Repair Professionally: $10 – $18 per article of clothing. Do it Yourself: About $1 per article of clothing.

Fix It: I don’t always have time to lug out my huge sewing machine, so I had to find an alternate method to hemming. The answer: Fusion tape! The cost for this tape is about $9, and it is made of an adhesive coating that binds fabric together (similar to double-sided tape, only activated with heat). I just make my husband put on his pants that need to be hemmed, try not to poke his ankles with pins as I mark the correct length, cut the fabric , tuck the tape inside and iron it! Of course, the last three steps are done when my husband is not actually in the pants. For best results, follow the directions on the packaging because some instructions are a little different.

Problem: Stains. Cost to Clean Professionally: $20 – $25 per article of clothing. Do it Yourself: Around $0.05 per article of clothing.

Fix It: Clothing stains are no fun, especially for a frugalista like me who hates to throw anything away! My daughter’s favorite T-shirt could have been doomed for the trash when she drew all over it with a ballpoint pen, but this fix saved her shirt and our budget! Spray the stain with aerosol hairspray or dab hydrogen peroxide on the spot. After blotting the stain with a washcloth, toss it in the washer. Remove tricky food stains (my husband once “accidentally” squirted half a bottle of mustard all over my new dress) with shampoo. That’s right! Squirt a dollop of shampoo on the food stain, let it sit for about five minutes and then gently scrub the spot with your fingers or a soft-bristled toothbrush. After rinsing it with cold water, wash it with the rest of the laundry. Oil-based stains respond well to other oil-based products like baby oil.

Problem: Dry Cleaning. Cost to Clean Professionally: $20 – $25 per article of clothing. Do it Yourself: Around $1.50 per article of clothing.

Fix It: I just don’t have the time or money to go to the dry cleaner, so I have found ways to wash delicate and dry-clean only clothing right from home. I buy dry cleaning kits at Walmart for about $9. The kit usually comes with about six dryer-activated cloths that pull dirt out of the clothes without harming them. Some come with bags that you can actually place your clothes in for extra protection. To be even more frugal, try placing clothing in the dryer with a damp towel for about 20 minutes to allow them to steam clean. But don’t clean rayon, silk or wool items using this method. I learned that the hard way when I cleaned my silk shirt in the dryer. It now fits my four-year-old.

This is a guest post by Rose from Washington
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