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

When a hand ironed laundered shirt isn't hand ironed

A new client stopped by last week. In one hand he clutched some drycleaning and shirt laundry. In the other he held a single shirt in its original poly bag.

He explained that he's been referred to me by his personal clothier and asked me to critique the shirt in the bag.

The first thing I saw was the invoice: "1 shirt premium hand ironed $7.05"

Opening the bag I found a blue Ike Behar cotton dress shirt with the cuffs clipped together in the front with a clear plastic clip. I surmised that the "premium" on the invoice must relate to the Ike Behar brand label. I wondered if that same cleaner would categorize Attolini, Borrelli, Brioni, Chavet, Kiton, Lorenzini, Staffano Ricci or Zegna as "super dooper premium"? But I digress.

Next I studied the pressing. What I found was a shirt that had all the telltale signs of a machine pressed shirt: puckered seams; wrinkled collars, cuffs, underarms, sleeve pleats, sleeve plackets and front plackets; and wrinkled cuff/sleeve and sleeve/body joins. As well as small sharp creases (about 1/4" in length) that were pressed into the shirt by a shirt pressing machine.

A hand pressed shirt? Not a chance in hell. Machine pressed all the way. With a little hand touchup in the underarm area in a failed attempt to remove the more obvious signs that the shirt was machine pressed. No better than a $2.00 or $2.50 laundered shirt at any ordinary cleaner.

So when a cleaner - even a so-called "high-end cleaner" - tells you that they routinely hand press all their laundered shirt, ask the question again. If you get the same response, ask to see "a hand pressed laundered shirt" right off their conveyor (see my previous post, Your Shirt Laundry Bill of Rights).

How can I help you?

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