At about $8 for a navy blazer and wool slacks, or nearly $10 for a silk blouse and jumper, the cost of dry cleaning can add up quickly.
The Procter & Gamble Co. said Wednesday it is developing a home product for “dry clean only” garments that could cut the cost to less than $1 an item. P&G; plans to begin test marketing Dryel in Columbus in February.
“Our customer research has found that over half of customers today love the idea of caring for ‘dry clean only’ clothes at home,” said Susan Crumpler, manager of research and development for laundry and cleaning products at P&G.; She said Dryel has been tested by more than 10,000 people in their homes during the past two years.
A Dryel kit includes a nylon bag and a cloth pre-moistened with a cleaning agent. Garments are placed in the bag and then in a dryer, where heat-activated vapors from the cloth penetrate the clothes and remove odor molecules.
P&G; doesn’t claim that Dryel will take the place of dry cleaning, and it does require some attention. Soiled areas must be pre-treated with a solution that comes in the kit, and garments will wrinkle if not put on hangers as soon as the process in the dryer is complete.
A sampling of potential customers showed little enthusiasm for home dry cleaning.
“I think I would be hesitant to try it,” said Pam Schaffner as she picked up some dry cleaning at a shop in downtown Cincinnati. “I think people who do a lot of dry cleaning would want to be sure it was being done right.”