Q: How does dry-cleaning clean my clothes?
A: Dry-cleaning works similar to your washer at home, only with a different solvent. The solvent (which carries a detergent) penetrates into the fabric of your clothes, and uses the detergent to transport soils and such out of the garment. The solvent is then filtered and cleaned and re-circulated for use again.
Q: Why can’t I just launder my garments at home?
A: Dry cleaning solvents remove oil-based stains (insoluble) which cannot be removed by water. Most stains are oil based. Water based stains (soluble) are also removed through use of special chemicals applied before the actual cleaning, which are then removed in turn by the cleaning solvent. Furthermore, cleaning with water can cause shrinkage and wrinkling in garments.
Q: What types of garments should I take to the cleaners?
A: Generally speaking, you should take any garment that you do not want to risk cleaning (and possibly damaging) yourself. For most of us, that includes silks, wools, fine linens, leather, suede, sequins, furs and fine gowns. Consult your cleaner to be sure.
Q: How often should I bring my suit(s) in for dry-cleaning?
A: It’s a good idea to bring your suit in after each wear, however this can depend on the specific type of garment. Soil and particles embed themselves between the fibres and act to wear them out over time, thus causing garments to look worn and faded. The finer the garment the more often it should be cleaned.
Q: Can shrinkage in garments be repaired?
A: Specialised machines can stretch and restore your garment if it has been shrunk – within limits. Repeated stretches, will however decrease the life of the garment.
Q: Why do men’s garments generally cost less than women’s?
A: Men’s garments are usually easier to clean – they tend to require less work to clean, finish and press. So the increased work translates into increased cost.
Q: Are all cleaners the same?
A: No! The care and effort to cleaners varies, like any other business. Essentially, cleaners who maintain the clarity and cleanliness of their solvent are cleaners whom you want to clean your clothes. Cleaning with solvent that has not been distilled is like not draining your washer and cleaning with the same water again and again.
Q: Should I point stains out to my cleaner before giving them my garment?
A: Yes! Simply throwing garments into the machine will not get many stains out. Many need to be pre-treated before going into the machine, so it is important to point them out to the cleaner.
Q: How soon after getting a stain should I take the garment to the cleaner?
A: ASAP! Stains that are left over tend to oxidize. In other words they will set, which then makes them harder to take out. Just like paint left to dry.