If you’re considering taking your clothing to an unfamiliar dry cleaner, what assurance do you have that they won’t be ruined? These useful suggestions will help ensure your favourite clothes look as good after cleaning as they did before.
Steps for evaluating the dry cleaner’s work
The quality of work varies drastically from one dry cleaner to another so give your new dry cleaner a little audition. When you want to use a new dry cleaner, bring in just three items to clean:
- A cotton shirt.
- A light-coloured linen shirt or blouse.
- A light-coloured silk garment.
These three offer just enough variety for you to evaluate a dry cleaner’s work. When you get your clothing back, here’s what to look for:
- Did the garments come back their original colour or is there a dull tint to them? If the latter, then the dry cleaner is skimping by not cleaning his filters regularly.
- A dry cleaner’s chemical formula is used again and again. After it’s used to remove the impurities from a load of clothing, the dry cleaner runs the chemical through a carbon filter to remove those impurities before it’s ready for the next load.
- When the dry cleaner tries to get too much mileage out of a filter, the impurities build up in the cleaning chemical and leave your clothes looking dull.
- This will be particularly evident in the light-coloured clothing. Also, if your cleaner has too much moisture in his cleaning solvent, it will draw colour out of silk garments and fade them.
- Is the pressing neatly done? Each garment should look perfect and ready to wear.
- A good dry cleaner hires experienced pressers who know a zillion tricks of the trade for giving every garment a clean and crisp look.
- The cotton shirt is a good test of pressing quality because it’s a common item that many cleaners do not press well.
- If you want to throw an extra pressing challenge at the cleaner, turn in a pleated skirt or pleated pants along with the garments listed above. Pleats require extra time and effort and the cleaner’s staff should double check afterward that the pressing was correctly done.
Look and feel of fabric
- Does the garment look and feel the way it did when you first bought it? If the dry cleaner has correctly added sizing to the garment, it will have a like-new body. Otherwise, it will feel limp — like an old rag.
- Because it requires more heat than any other fabric, linen is one of the most difficult for a cleaner to “finish” properly with pressing and sizing.
- A good cleaner also uses special products to keep your silk feeling soft and supple.
- Are there broken or missing buttons? Good dry cleaners will bend over backwards to replace missing or damaged buttons for free — even when the problem is not the cleaners’ fault.
- They will retrieve a loose button from the button trap in their machinery, find a replacement in their in-house supply or even trek to a garment shop or button supplier to find the right match.
- If all of those measures failed, a truly great dry cleaner may offer to change an entire set of buttons on a garment to a new set for free.
Besides examining the garment, you should also consider the facility’s turnaround time. A conscientious dry cleaner will have your clothes done within two hours if you’re in a hurry. If you’re told the wait is three days, go somewhere else.