5 On Your Side

Dry cleaner explains why women pay more

Posted March 30, 2016 6:16 p.m. EDT
Updated March 30, 2016 6:50 p.m. EDT

— 5 On Your Side has been reporting for years higher prices women pay for goods and services. One of the most egregious examples is dry cleaning.

Medlin Davis Cleaners in Cameron Village charges $2.69 to press a men's shirt and $6.83 for a women's shirt. That's pretty standard for the industry.

Owner David Makepeace explained that men's shirts, fit the standard machines most dry cleaners use. The machine, called a "buck," speeds up the ironing process!

"It does the front, the back, and it blows the sleeves," Makepeace said.

Women's shirts, at least smaller ones, don't fit. So smaller shirts are pressed by hand, a time-consuming process.

Makepeace explained that manufacturers don't even make a smaller "buck."

"There are a heck of a lot more men's shirts being done than ladies blouses," he said.

At Medlin, if a woman's shirt can fit the machine, she gets charged the lower price.

Makepeace offered these additional tips to get the best results at the dry cleaner:

  • Check the label to make sure the item can be dry cleaned.
  • Point out any stains or spots on clothes.
  • Leave dry cleaning to the professionals.

"Don't try to treat it at home," Makepeace said. That can make it worse, and make it harder for the professionals to remedy.