Jacket Washing Anxiety & Considering Cost Per Wear
Considering cost per wear of a clothing item is a good way to judge long-term savings. To calculate cost per wear, estimate the number of times you will wear the item and divide that number by the cost of the garment. For example:
The jeans cost $75. I estimate that I will wear them at least twice each week for two years: 104.
$75/104=$.72 per wear
One important item often left out of this calculation is the cost of upkeep. If I had to dry clean my jeans every two times I wore them, that would add significantly to my cost-per-wear. So much so that I could almost justify buying 7For All Mankind jeans. Almost.
Last year I was fortunate to find a great winter coat on sale for only $30. It is a toasty warm classic black puffer with princess seams to eliminate the bulk. It is also a Lands End brand, which, although not as glamorous as The North Face or Marmot, is a dependable product that carries a lifetime warranty. Now, after a year in my closet, it is time for a wash.
The label in the coat says that I can wash it at home with tennis balls in the dryer. I am wary of this method. First, because I have never washed anything down before. And second, because this is my only winter coat and I really can’t afford a replacement if it would melt in the dryer, as I am almost sure it will. Trumping both of these fears is my anxiety of going to the dry-cleaner.
This is silly. I know. But I’ve never been to the cleaners before. I don’t know the protocol. And I read all of these green-your-routine books that definitely don’t approve of dry cleaners. They talk about chemicals and fumes and so on, and my skin just itches in anticipation.
So, I purchased two canisters of tennis balls…
I put my coat in the wash with a puffy sweatshirt of Spencer’s. I washed warm regular cycle with a regular amount of detergent.
I was not so happy when I took the coat from the wash. The down was clumpy. The puffy collar was limp. I persevered through and put the coats in the dryer with five tennis balls.
Tony took the sixth.
One cycle later, Spencer’s coat was looking great and mine was not. It felt much thinner than before. It was lumpy. All of the puff was gone from the collar. So, with nothing to lose, I threw it back in by itself for another cycle and…
TA DA! Better than new! All of it’s puffy wonderful goodness was restored. And I washed my coat for (besides the normal cost of a wash) only $3 in tennis balls. And those tennis balls will STAY in the LAUNDRY ROOM and are NOT to be used for DOG TOYS! This is to keep my cost-per-wear down for next time I need to wash my beloved puffer.
So, wash your puffer coat normally and dry with tennis balls. It works. I promise.