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Dry cleaning — it can be a man’s best friend or hidden enemy. On the one hand it spares us from having to do certain laundry thus saving you time. On the other, it can sap your wallet quicker than a gentlemen’s club and in the long run do more bad than good to your clothes. So, what should and shouldn’t be dry-cleaned? It can be confusing, here are some dos and don’ts of maintaining your dress wear, while saving you a load of cash.

On Suits

If you take your wool suits to the cleaners after two or three wears, you’re slowly damaging them. Why? The chemicals used in the washing process are harsh and will eventually break down the fabric. Instead, give your blazer and slacks a brush (with a fabric brush) after each wear, then hang them in a well-ventilated area to eliminate odors.

On Dress Shirts

Similar rules apply to cotton dress shirts. Refrain from frequently dry-cleaning them, which will deteriorate the fabric fibers. This can lead to dullness and fray on the garment, in addition to an unsightly yellow tint. Instead, put them in a mesh bag and machine wash. Remember to remove the collar stays prior to doing so and put them back after. This process will also prevent buttons from falling or breaking off. Hang dry; do not put them in the dryer.

On Ties

Never wash or dry-clean a tie, as the delicate fabric will be ruined. If you spill something on it, try to blot the stain with a handkerchief or tissue; for harsh stains, spot clean by hand.

Pre-treat & Prevent

Get a jumpstart on those underarms, collar and cuffs every time you wash even if you don’t see a stain, with The Laundress Wash & Stain Bar (available drugstores for about $13). Guys, you know these are the areas usually prone to dirt, so attack powerfully. This bar removes gross collar rings, stubborn stains and grime typically found on these parts of a shirt. Just lather the bar with water and work soap into stained areas and soak before washing.

Tips & Tricks

• Iron shirts when damp, and always press from the tip inward for a crisp finish.
• When on the go, remove wrinkles with Downy Wrinkle Releaser (available at drugstores for about $6). Just spray and see the magic happen before your eyes.
• Try Dryel, the at home dry cleaning system that’s works wonders with fine sweaters.
• Do spot clean between washes, with Tide To Go Stick (about $4 at drug stores); it’ll help prevent a bad stain from becoming permanent.
• Invest in wooden suit hangers (about $10 each at stores like Target and The Container Store). This will preserve the shape of suits and dress shirts, while absorbing odors and moisture.

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