Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Dirt on Dry Cleaning

The Dirt on Dry Cleaning
A quick google search yields this definition for dry cleaning, the act of cleaning (fabrics) with a solvent other than water. A good dry cleaner is so much more than that. They are fabric cleaning specialists and will have a number of cleaning options at their disposal to get your garments clean without damage, every time.

How Dry Cleaners Work

A modern dry cleaning machine works like a giant washing machine with a few key differences. First, the solvent (definition of solvent: A substance that can dissolve another substance, or in which another substance is dissolved, forming a solution. Water is the most common solvent.) used is not water based; this is what keeps shrinkage and wear and tear down on your garments to a minimum. Next, the solvent is contained in a closed loop and never reaches the outside environment. This one is important. Clean solvent is held in tanks, injected with soap and used to clean your clothes, then is distilled and sent back to the tank. Finally, because it's a closed loop system, the dryer is built into the cleaning machine.

Here's the process for cleaning your clothes at the dry cleaners. First your clothes are pre-spotted (any visible stains are pre-treated) and sorted into loads. Next they are cleaned using the appropriate method. When they come out of the cleaning machine they are inspected again (and post-spot cleaned if necessary). Next it's off to the finishing department where they will be pressed (ironed) or steamed. Finally your garments are given a final inspection and are packaged up to go home with you. 

When To Use

It's important to read the care labels on your clothes so you know how best to care for them. That being said, anything you aren't comfortable cleaning at home or anything with a tough stain, should be sent to the dry cleaners. Certain home remedies can actually make spots and stains harder to remove. Also, certain items like suits and dress shirts which you want to have a certain look, are best sent to the professionals.

When Not To Use

There aren't many things a good dry cleaners cant clean, so it just comes down to value. What is worth it for you to spend the time and energy to clean at home vs to pay to send it to the dry cleaners, and what would you send to the cleaners no matter the cost?

Which Are Worth Considering

Not all dry cleaners are created equally. Which you choose depends on what you are looking for. Some are really cheap. These cleaners have carefully designed their process with efficiency in mind and they make a few trade-offs in order to keep the cost down. At the other end of the spectrum, you have couture and high quality dry cleaners. These cleaners are all inclusive and were founded on the principle of providing the very best service to each and every garment with the best soaps, stain fighters, and care, which provides the best possible appearance at the end of the process. These types of cleaners tend to be more expensive as they are giving attention to each individual garment. Finally, you have cleaners somewhere between the rock bottom price and the highest quality.

No matter what type of dry cleaner you are looking for (cheap vs. high quality), there are a few things all good cleaners have in common. They should have a clean lobby. The attendants should be a appropriately dressed and friendly. Finally, you as a customer should be treated with respect.

What do you look for in a dry cleaners? Talk about it in the comments section below.

Image Credit: ReImagineUP

Couture Dry Cleaning in Metro-Detroit
Professional Dry Cleaners and Shirt Laundry
Whether you're in Birmingham, Bloomfield, Royal Oak, Huntington Woods, Beverly Hills, Novi, Northville, or any of their surrounding areas in Michigan, we will pick-up and deliver your dry cleaning for free (you pay the same as you would in our stores). Call us at 248-543-0340 or signup for our pickup and delivery service online.

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