Do you have a job that requires you to wear a suit or other kinds of higher quality clothes? You probably send them off to be professionally dry cleaned on a regular basis.

Suits, pleated skirts, or any type of clothing made from synthetic materials like rayon, as well as silk or wool are definitely not made for your home washing machine. Leather or suede fall into this category, too. Is there a way to cut down just a bit on the trips to the dry cleaner, though? Try these tips.

Before You Even Get Dressed

Deodorants, antiperspirants, hair products, colognes, and perfumes all contain chemicals that can leave tell-tale marks on clothing. Apply your deodorant or antiperspirant several minutes and it thoroughly dry before putting on a shirt or top.

Some people are fond of applying cologne or perfume to their clothes, rather than to their skin. Many fabric care experts recommend against this, as the oils that make up the fragrance can discolor many delicate fabrics.

Immediate Attention

Accidents happen! If it’s a water-based stain, you’ll want to take some immediate action. Some stains, like coffee or mustard, can oxidize if left to dry on material. It may be nearly impossible for even a professional dry-cleaning service to remove the stain.

Oil-based stains should be addressed quickly, as well. A smear of lipstick or roll with butter dropped on your pants is going to require a trip to the dry cleaner as soon as possible. They really are your best defense for removing oil-based stains.

Two important things can help you with accidental stains on clothes that must be professionally dry-cleaned.

Invest in a stain-remover pen for emergency use. Ask your dry cleaner to recommend one. They may even sell them. These pens often can remove small stains, and they’re helpful in preventing some stains from setting into the fabric before you’re able to get it into a dry cleaner’s hands.

Sometimes they slip by without our notice—but in most cases, you’re going to be aware of an accidental stain on your clothes. It’s important to point these stains or marks out to your cleaner before these clothing items are cleaned, steamed, or pressed. All three of these actions may permanently set the stain.

Time Out

Give your clothes some time to “breathe” after you remove them. Hang them in a well-ventilated area for a few hours—or even overnight. This can help to dissipate minor perspiration odors, as well as tobacco smoke and general environmental odors your clothes have absorbed from the day.

You’ll be the decider in the end, but you might discover by following these tips that you can cut back just a bit on the number of items you bring to the dry cleaner. Remember, though, that quality clothing is worth the investment in professional dry cleaning. When your clothes are ready for that trip, they’ll get proper treatment.