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What is professional clothes cleaning?

Professional cleaning is a lot more than one process. We employ a number of techniques to give your garments that “like new” appearance. Professional cleaning can be broken down into three general categories –dry cleaning, wet cleaning, and laundering.


What is laundering?

Special detergents, additives, and finishes set commercial laundry apart from home laundering. Starch, if requested, is added during the wash cycle, so the entire garment receives the treatment. The garments are still damp when pressed. Shirts are put on a series of presses that dry the garment during the process, which gives the crisper finish.

What is dry cleaning?

Dry cleaning uses fluids to remove soil and stains from fabric. In fact, the term “dry cleaning” is misleading; it is called dry cleaning because the fluid contains no water and does not penetrate the fibers as water does. Most machines today wash and dry the garments in the one continuous process known as “dry to dry”.

What is wet cleaning?

It’s the term used by professionals for washing clothing in water. Like in the dry cleaning process, wet cleaning starts with the pretreatment of spots and stains using special cleaning agents. We use specially formulated detergents and gentler agitation for delicate fabrics. Wet cleaning is the most effective method to remove water-based stains. Wet cleaning is an alternative to dry cleaning, utilizing computer-controlled washing machines, biodegradable soaps and conditioners, and various types of pressing equipment that may be specialized for many different fabric and fiber types.

Does frequent dry cleaning shorten the life of a garment?

On the contrary, frequent cleaning prolongs the life of a garment. Not only do stains set with age, making the garment not wearable, but ground-in dirt and soil act as an abrasive, like sandpaper, causing rapid wear of fibers. Also, insects are attracted to soiled clothes and will cause further damage.

When a care label says, ‘Machine Wash Warm’, what temperature of water is considered warm?

“Warm” water should be 90-110 degrees Fahrenheit. “Hot” water should be 120-160 degrees Fahrenheit. “Cold” water should be 85 degrees Fahrenheit, or water from a cold tap.

When a garment’s label says ‘washable’ does that mean it can not be dry cleaned?

Not necessarily. The Care Label Rule states that only one suitable method of care must be on the label. Cleaners usually follow the care instructions, unless otherwise requested. If you want your washable items dry cleaned, the cleaner may ask you to sign a damage waiver.

Are suede and leather cleaned the same way as other fabrics?

No. Special procedures and additives are used on leathers to help retain their color and texture. Sometimes suede and leather are dyed to replace color loss. It is not always possible to replace or match the colors.

Does dry cleaning shrink clothes?

No. The dry cleaning process is carefully controlled by professional cleaners. Excessive shrinkage is usually caused by improper preshrinking by the manufacturer.

The Club Soda Myth?

Club soda is usually the first thing people reach for to remove a stain and it is often a mistake. Club soda is sometimes effective on some drink spills and assorted food stains but it can also “set” stains, spread them and make their future removal difficult. Because of all the variables involved (type of fabric, type of stain, timeframe, temperature, etc.) you’re better off doing nothing to the stain.

Is my garment ruined by spaghetti sauce?

You spilled spaghetti sauce on your shirt, what should I do? When you put water on a napkin to rub a stain, you roughen the fabric, dull the dye and break hundreds of fibers. If the shirt is washable, use a little water to dilute the stain and then stop. If the shirt can only be dry cleaned, then blot it with a dry napkin and try to leave it alone and take it to be cleaned as soon as possible.

How should I store my clothing for next season?

1. Be sure clothes are clean, before putting them away. Insects such as moths, crickets and silverfish are attracted to food, perfume, body oil, and perspiration.
2. Store in a dry, well ventilated area. Temperature swings can cause moisture to form in clothing and create mildew problems.
3. Don’t store clothes in the poly bags from the drycleaner. Over time, these bags can promote moisture. These bags should be removed when your clothes are brought home from the drycleaner.
4. Avoid direct exposure to sunlight or artificial light that can cause fading.
5. If you have cedar chests or closets in your home, renew the cedar every few years. Cedar must be re-sanded or fresh cedar oil applied to retain its effectiveness.

Why does a shirt cost less to launder than dry clean?

All dry cleaning is hand finished and involves much more labor than cleaning and pressing shirts. Shirts are done almost exclusively by machine and are done in large volume. The volume and speed of the machines combined with the lower amount of labor required to do them account for the lower price than dry cleaning.

Why do women’s shirts cost more to clean than men’s shirts?

Shirts that requires hand ironing cost more. A shirt is hand ironed when it is too large or too small to fit on the shirt pressing units. Or if there is detailing (fancy buttons, ruffles, snaps) or it is tailored to fit snug. It is then charged more whether it is a man’s or a woman’s.

How long can I expect a shirt to last?

Industry experience shows that, on average, shirts have a two-year wear-life expectancy. However, the number of launderings is a better measuring method. The average shirt should have a wear life of 35 to 50 washings. This can vary depending on the amount of abrasion and strain placed on a shirt during wear, the fiber content, the type of fabric and the laundering procedure.

Should I have all matching pieces cleaned together?

Yes. As professional drycleaners, we can never be sure of what types of dyes and/or sizings the manufacturer or importer has used. Quality standards in foreign countries are not the same as we’ve come to expect here in the United States. If all pieces are cleaned together, the color and sheen will always match. This applies to all items, such a drapery or curtains, as well.

Should I store my clothes in the bags my cleaned clothes are returned in?

No. The bags cleaners provide are intended to protect your garments until you get them home. Fabric needs to breathe. It is best to store clothing uncovered or in fabric garment bags.

What causes tiny holes in 100% cotton oxford, button-down shirts.

The oxford cloth weave consists of two, thin warp yarns to every soft, thicker yarn in the filling direction. The unbalanced construction causes the thin yarns to break, leaving tiny holes. Manufactures could use a high twist in the yarn to retard the development of holes, but eventually any oxford weave will develop tiny pinholes. Remember all the yarns in an oxford shirt receive the same care, but the constant abrasion in wear cause only the thin yarns to weaken and tear.