Pros:Can potentially save you $hundreds per year
Cons:Can't use on leather, questionable performance on stains
The Bottom Line: Dryel is a must-have product if you wear dry clean only clothes on a regular basis. But it won't put dry cleaners out of business.
NOTE added 11/29/2004: I can no longer recommend ordering the refill kit for cheap from doitbest.com. For that matter, I cannot recommend ordering anything from doitbest.com. Since I'm fairly new to Epinions, I don't think I can write a review for an entire site or retailer, but the story is this: all of the (too cheap to be true) Dryel refill kits that doitbest.com is selling were manufactured in 1999. They are old and Proctor & Gamble DOES NOT recommend using them! I'm in the process of requesting a return/refund from doitbest.com, and if I have any problems, intend to report them to the Better Business Bureau. All the rest of my review about Dryel stands as written, though -- a great product! -CC
Recommend this product?
I've started using Dryel in the past year, and have now run 4 loads and used up the original starter kit. I consider Dryel an awesome invention that has the potential to save Americans millions of dollars each year collectively on dry cleaning, while making Proctor & Gamble millions a year as well. P&G's major concern should be pricing the product at the appropriate price point such that people will consider it a viable alternative to the cleaners, considering the trade-offs -- many people will perceive a risk of damaging garments by not leaving them to "the professionals." I've noticed in only the last month a much more aggressive advertising campaign for Dryel.
The starter kit comes with a reusable bag which is good for 50 loads of "up to 4" garments each. On the P&G web site, they refer to a nylon bag good for 20 loads, or a fabric bag good for 50 loads. It seems that they used to produce the nylon bag but have since replaced it with the much-improved fabric bag, so all starter kits on the market today should include the fabric bag. Also comes with 4 moistened sheets which will release steam and chemicals when placed in the bag in the dryer. Also, a bottle of stain remover and 4 blotting pads.
The refill pack contains 6 sheets.
Both the starter and refill packs sell for the prevailing price of $9.99 at all Walmart and Target locations I've shopped. See below for an even better price on the refill kit.
To use, drop "up to 4" garments in the bag along with one moistened sheet (in no particular order), and zip the bag shut. The bag easily takes 4 pants and/or shirts/blouses, with the recommended 50% room left in the bag. For larger items such as jackets, you probably will not get 4 items in a load. Place the bag in the dryer on medium heat for 30 minutes, then remove promptly and hang the clothes immediately. Most clothes will be fairly wrinkle-free. I'm obsessive-compulsive about ironing, so I always press my clothes whether they need it or not. Some clothes may be sufficiently free of wrinkles to hang and wear to the satisfaction of many people. Throw away the sheet and keep the bag for the remainder of the recommended 20-50 loads depending on which bag type you have. (Check the labeling on your starter kit to verify the recommended bag life.) If your bag develops visible holes sooner than the recommended longevity, replace it. After using the 4 sheets in the starter kit, buy refill packs of sheets until your bag wears out or you use up the stain remover liquid and/or pads (if you use those items to remove stains -- I never have).
The scent which remains on the clothes is unique and somewhat chemical, but not unpleasant. If you are allergic to perfumes or just don't like them, this is one drawback of the product. There is no unscented version, and the clothes smell noticeably stronger than the items I get back from the cleaners. (Especially since I started patronizing a cleaner that uses an environmentally friendly, biodegradable silicone process.)
I find that Dryel works very well for weekly/routine freshening of dry-clean-only clothes. For my job, I'm not required to dress at such a level that such clothes are mandatory, but I like to look good. However, I cannot imagine paying $20, $30, or even $50 a week for dry cleaning unless I had a six-figure job (and I do not). I can wear nice stuff, clean it properly, and still not break my bank account.
What you can't use Dryel on: suede, leather, anything too large to fit into the bag with 50% room left over. P&G states these limitations on their web site, and probably also on the package label. This would include bedspreads. Also, you shouldn't use Dryel in commercial dryers, since it is difficult to control or estimate the heat setting.
What I personally don't use Dryel on: suits and jackets that I can't press satisfactorily with the iron. Stained clothes. I have not used the stain remover bottle and blotting pads that come in the starter kit, but I've heard from others that they're useless. If you stain it, suck it up and pay the bucks to clean it right, at the cleaners.
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