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National Clothesline
Land of the midnight sun – and $50 suit
Fifty dollars to dryclean a suit? Impossible, you say? Maybe not if you are a drycleaner in Oslo,
Norway.
That is according to a survey conducted by Zipjet, a UK-based laundry and drycleaning service. To
develop its 2018 drycleaning index, the firm hand-picked 100 cities around the world, focusing on
capital cities, business centers and financial districts to learn the cost of drycleaning two- and three-
piece suits, checking prices from an average of 10 stores in each city and from that set the average
cost for cleaning a suit in each city.
Coming out on top was Oslo at $52.03. Other Scandinavian countries ranked high on the list, too,
comprising the top four highest prices. Helsinki Finland checked in at $41.13, followed by Gothenburg,
Sweden, at $35.12 and Aarhus, Denmark at $34.23.
At the bottom of the price list was Jakarta, Indonesia at $2.20. Two other cities came in at below $3
— Colombo Sri Lanka ($2.51) and Shanghai, China ($2.90).
In general, the highest prices were found in European cities and the lowest in Southeast Asia.
U.S. cities fell into the middle ground. Boston turned up the highest price in the U.S. at $16.91,
ranking 24th among the 100 cities surveyed.
Other U.S. cities, their prices and world rankings were as follows:
• New York, $15.68, #31.
• Dallas, $14.47 #41.
• Los Angeles, $13.99, #44.
• Washington, DC, $13.72, #47.
• Chicago, $12.72, #53.
• Philadelphia $11.91, #56.
• Houston, $8.68, #70.
To get an idea of the actual affordability of drycleaning in the 100 cities, Zipjet also calculated how
many hours at the prevailing minimum wage a person would need to work to get that suit drycleaning.
For that $50 suit in Oslo, it would take 2.3 hours of minimum wage labor.
In comparison, a worker in Boston would need to work 1.5 hours at minimum wage to pay the
$16.91 to clean a suit. All U.S. cities in the survey came in between one and two hours of minimum
wage labor to pay for one suit cleaning.
That’s nothing compared to Moscow, the 11th most expensive suit cleaning city at $22.98. That
would cost a minimum wage Muscovite 16.2 hours of labor. His countryman in St. Petersburg fares
only a little better, needing to work 14.5 hours to afford one suit cleaning.
And the poor minimum wage worker in Lago Nigeria would need 22.2 hours or labor to pay for a
clean suit, even though Lagos ranked 85th out of 100 cities in pricing at a meager $6.40 suit.
“For traditionally business-oriented cities, such as Oslo, Helsinki and Zurich, our study shows that
citizens are paying between 13 and 30 percent more to dryclean their suits than the rest of the world.
Although you could consider this a ‘suit tax’, our data also shows that as salaries are higher in these
nations, it would only take around one to three hours of working at minimum wage to afford such a
service in these cities,” said  Florian Färber, Founder and managing director of Zipjet.