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Price Of Dry Cleaning Could Be On The Rise In U.S.

Allison Blood
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX)- Around the country the price of dry cleaning could be rising, partially because of an increased price of hangers from Vietnam.

But that’s not the case here in St. Louis, according to Robert Mach, whose company, Mach Distribution, sells dry cleaning supplies like hangers and the chemical used in dry cleaning. He says he gets his hangers from Mexico and China mostly, and the prices on those are staying the same.

“Even if they were going up, I pay something like 2.6 cents a hanger, so even if they doubled, it wouldn’t be a lot of money,” he said.

But what he says is starting to bring up prices are the regulations on the chemical most dry cleaners use, Perchloroethylene. He says the Environmental Protection Agency claims it can do damage to the environment and cause cancer. He says he doesn’t know if that’s true or not, but it is causing very high taxes on the product. He says a gallon of Perc, as it’s called by dry cleaners, is about 8 dollars, but with Missouri and Federal taxes, it’s about 28 dollars. Regulations went into effect about 3 years ago, but the taxes raise each year.

“In some states like California you can’t even use it anymore,” he said.

He says that’s a problem for small dry cleaning businesses, because using a new chemical means getting a new machine, and new machines are expensive.

He says on top of those regulations, fewer people are looking for dry cleaners. He says when the economy was bad, fewer people bought clothes, or got their clothes dry cleaned.

“If you see dry cleaning costs going up, and you may in a lot of cleaners,” he said, “It’s because their volume is so much lower.”

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