Friday, April 8, 2011
How To Avoid Problems at Your Dry Cleaners
Dry cleaning is more of an art and a science than a routine operation. Think about it - in a manufacturing environment, you control all of the variables and inputs which gives you precise control over the finished product. In the world of dry cleaning, while we have control over the machinery and the cleaning tools, we don't have control over the biggest variable of all, the customers clothing. Every garment is made just a little bit differently with different materials, glues, sewing, cut and finish. Also, how the garment has been handled in the past, what spots or stains are on there, and how many times it has been worn all play a part in the final outcome. Also, care labels in clothing are often wrong and it takes an experienced dry cleaner to know when the care label is wrong.
What can you do?
There are a few things you can do as a consumer to make sure you're getting the most for your money at any dry cleaners.
1. All stains aren't created equally. Always point out any stains when you drop your garments off. If you know what the spot or stain is, your dry cleaner will have a greater shot at removing the stain if he doesn't have to guess.
2. Spots are harder to remove as time goes on. Get those dirty clothes into the cleaner as soon as possible. If you wait too long, the stain will set, and will be there permanently. Some spots are invisible at first and with time they will carmelize and become visible. Think about an apple. If you cut an apple in half it is white inside. If you walk away from the apple and come back an hour later it will be brown. The same process can happen with your clothing. If you wait to long to have your worn clothing cleaned, spots can start to appear.
3. Be conscious of what you are dropping off, but more importantly, make sure you have everything before you leave the dry cleaners. It is much more difficult to track a missing item days, weeks, or even months after you have sent your items in to be cleaned than in if you know right away. Most dry cleaners check, re-check and check again to make sure that everything they have received for care gets back the right owner but mistakes do happen.
4. Use a reputable dry cleaners and not necessarily the cheapest. Properly caring for your clothing takes a lot of labor (labor is a dry cleaners biggest expense) and that isn't cheap. A good dry cleaners will go the extra mile to make sure your clothing is perfect when you pick it up and if there are any problems, they will stand behind their work.
I hope this helps close the disconnect at least a little bit between you and your dry cleaners. Is there anything I missed? What issues or problems do you have with your dry cleaners? Talk about it in the comments section.
Photo Credit: Lost Tulsa
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