True Quality CleaningStraight talk about caring for fine garments & household textiles from an expert who calls it like it is. In plain English.

Ask Stu: Your questions answered

Q.

 

Ask StuI took the jacket of a 2 piece off-white skirt suit to a local dry cleaner. The assistant asked if it was part of a 2 piece suit. When I told her that it was she said that they needed to clean both pieces at the same time. Is this normal?

Miranda
Paradise Valley, Arizona

A.

Blond, white blouse, Corbis

Sadly, Miranda, it's a pretty standard response.

My position is that you should be able to dry clean the blazer or slacks of any white, cream or pastel two piece suit by itself without fear of "mismatched coloring". But your cleaner will probably insist that you clean both pieces at the same time.

Why? Because they have zero confidence in the purity or cleanliness of their dry cleaning solvent or fluid. And don't want to have to deal with the consequences of "mismatched coloring."

I'll explain.

The "rationale" behind the notion that you should always dry clean all pieces of an outfit at the same time is that this might help ensure that your outfits have "consistent coloring."

Truth is, this concept is, at the same time, both absurd and appropriate, given the nature of ordinary cleaning today.

Fiji waterbottleYou see, garments and household textiles should always be cleaned in dry cleaning solvent or fluid that's both continuously purified and continuously filtered. Every single drop. This way your garments and household textiles are cleaned in dry cleaning solvent or fluid that's absolutely crystal clear. As clear as bottled mountain spring water.

Continuous purification is much like boiling your tap water at home to obtain pure water; continuous filtration is much like filtering your tap water to remove any additional impurities.

Fact is, crystal clear, freshly purified and freshly filtered dry cleaning solvent or fluid is your only guarantee against grayish and dingy whites, creams and pastels; dull and faded colors; and that all-to-familiar "dry cleaning solvent smell."

Unfortunately, very few ordinary cleaners both continuously purify every single drop of their dry cleaning solvent or fluid before and after each load, and continuously filter every single drop of their dry cleaning solvent or fluid during each load.

So soluble impurities, such as bacteria, residual dyes, body oils, oily-type creams and lotions, and food fats accumulate in the dry cleaning solvent or fluid.

These soluble impurities arDirty test tubesthen absorbed by the fibers of your garments and household textiles during the dry cleaning "wash" cycle. In particular, natural fibers, such as silk, wool, linen and cotton, absorb these impurities like a sponge absorbs liquid.

Instead of your cleaner continuously purifying and continuously filtering his dry cleaning solvent or fluid, your garments and household textiles are functioning as your cleaner's "cleaning filter."

In effect, your garments and household textiles are being cleaned in "dirty dry cleaning solvent or fluid."  It's just like washing your clothes at home and reusing the same dirty water over and over again.

That's why you've been told to clean all pieces of your white, cream and pastel outfits at the same time. So that all pieces of your outfit will then have "consistent coloring" -- "give-it-away gray" or "dry clean dingy."

Cringe at your leisure.

If you have a question for Stu, send it to questions@ravefabricare.com.

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