This $10 dry-cleaning kit has saved me tons of money and trips to the dry cleaner

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  • Special-care clothing, particularly pieces with a "dry-clean only" label, can be a pain to take care of. Trips to the dry cleaner can be inconvenient and expensive.
  • To extend the life of my special care clothing, I use the Dryel at-home dry-cleaning kit ($9.99).
  • It's an affordable way to keep your special-care garments in great condition and it couldn't be easier to use. Plus, it has saved me tons of money and trips to the dry cleaner over the years.
  • While the kit works wonders on denim, wool, and cashmere, it's worth noting that it can be damaging to certain fabrics like leather, velvet, and silk.

Is it just me or does anyone else's heart drop a bit when you find an amazing clothing item just to inspect it and find "dry-clean only" inscribed on the tag?

Let's face it: dry cleaning is kind of a pain. Living in New York City, where a laundromat sits on just about every corner, it's not so bad - but getting your clothes dry cleaned can be pricey, and if you have multiple pieces it can add up quickly. If you want to keep your clothes in good condition, though, there's really nothing you can do - you just have to suck it up, put down those extra dollars, carve out some extra time to head to the laundromat, or incessantly google how long your clothes can last without a wash. At least, that's what I thought until my mother introduced me to this very simple solution (thanks, mom).

The Dryel at-home dry-cleaner kit does just what it says - it works to clean your special care pieces from the comfort of your own home.

The starter kit comes with everything you need to complete the cleaning process; a garment bag, booster spray, and the patented "ultracleaning" cloth. It's a three-step process that truly couldn't be easier to use.

How to use the kit

Step 1:

Place your garments (up to five) and one ultracleaning cloth into the reusable bag. If any of the pieces are stained or particularly dirty, pre-treat them with the included booster spray before placing in bag.

Step 2:

Put the bag in the dryer and tumble on medium heat for 15 minutes for a quick refresh. If you're looking for a deeper clean, tumble on medium heat for 30 minutes instead.

Step 3:

Hang your garments so they are wrinkle-free. The end!

How it actually works

You may be wondering if this is some sort of laundry machine magic, but there's actually a very simple explanation. Dryel's ultracleaning cloths are concentrated with a heat-activated cleaning solution that, when met with the heat of your dryer, is released as a steam that penetrates fabric to remove stains and odors. The garment bag protects your special care fabrics from the intense heat of the dryer, so nothing will shrink on you. In the end, you're left with clothes that feel softer and smell fresher.

For ease of use, Dryel gets an A+, but it also does wonders for your wallet. A starter kit with enough supplies for four loads is only $9.99. When you do the math, that's just about $2.50 per load. If you consider the maximum capacity of five garments per load, you're down to just about fifty cents per garment. Just a few weeks ago I got five pieces dry-cleaned at my local laundromat for about $24. That one trip cost me more than double this entire kit - which has the capacity to clean four times the amount of garments.

Of course, there are some important things to note. While the kit works wonders on denim, wool, and cashmere, it can be damaging to certain fabrics like leather, velvet, and silk.

When you compare the prices, it's hard to believe this easy dry-cleaning solution isn't more widely used - or, maybe it is, and I'm just the last one hopping on the bandwagon.

Get the Dryel at-home dry cleaner starter kit, $9.99, available at Amazon

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