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Don't get taken to the cleaners for clean clothes

Monday - 5/16/2011, 2:01pm  ET

(AP photo)

Kristi King,

WASHINGTON - Examine 363 dry cleaning shops in the D.C. Metro area and you'll discover that what they charge might not reflect the quality of the work.

"There were just as many low priced dry cleaners that rated high in quality as there were high priced dry cleaners that rated high in quality," says Robert Krughoff, president of the nonprofit Washington Consumers' CHECKBOOK.

In fact, Krughoff adds, some of the dry cleaners rating highest in quality have below average prices.

There also can be immense differences in prices from store to store to clean identical items. To dry clean a woman's wool overcoat for example, the price ranged from $1.89 to $43. The price to clean a man's two piece suit ranged between $3.78 to $42.50.

When you try out a new dry cleaner Washington Consumers' CHECKBOOK recommends paying attention to what goes on while you're there. Try to notice whether they seem to have the clothes organized. Is it easy for them to find your clothes? Do they give you an accurate receipt?

Also examine your clothes carefully when picking them up. Look to determine whether your clothes are clean. If they're supposed to be bright, are they bright? Did any spots you pointed out get removed? Were your clothes damaged?

If you have any issues or problems Krughoff suggests you point them out right away and ask they be corrected. If you've already taken your clothes home and determine there's a problem bring them back on the dry cleaner's hanger.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)