Exposing the dry cleaning myth

As a small child I would watch my father gather up a pile of dress shirts every weekend to drop-off at the dry cleaners.  They would return a few days later, neatly pressed, lightly starched, bagged and boxed.  It was magical.  Or so I thought.

As an adult I quickly embraced the dry cleaning culture.  Although I own an iron I’ve never actually used it at home (no ironing board, no desire).  Sometimes I use the iron in a hotel room, though.  I like to get my money’s worth (ironing boards are free in hotels).

Everyone already knows that dry cleaners rip-off women by charging them 5 times as much as men for cleaning their shirts.  Allegedly they “dry clean” female shirts which is more expensive than “laundering” men’s shirts – even though they’re made of the same material (cotton) and cut in the same shape.  Yeah, right.

Well, I’m here to call BS – but not just on the unfair female mark-up.  Here’s today’s not-so-crazy theory:

The unfair female mark-up at dry cleaners is a red herring.  The evil dry cleaning cabal created the female mark-up precisely to distract people from the real truth, which is:

There’s no such thing as dry cleaning.  It’s a myth.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Those really are dry cleaning stores that you see littered all over the country.  And they really are taking your money for “cleaning” your clothes.  But they’re not actually cleaning them.  All they are doing is pressing them and putting them into toxic little bags.

Think about it.  The whole idea of cleaning is predicated on the idea that soap plus water equals clean.  The soap does the cleaning and the water gets rid of the soap.  Take the water out of that equation and you can’t rinse out the soap.  Take the soap out and you’re not actually cleaning anything.

So in effect, we pay people for plastic bags and cheap metal hangars.  It’s a pretty good scam.

In summary, there is no such thing as dry cleaning.  Perhaps if you’re looking to save a few bucks during these tough times might I recommend that you cut out your imaginary dry cleaning habit and just bring your wrinkled shirts to the nearest hotel for ironing?


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