We provide extraordinary care for fine
garments & household textiles
Together with sweaters, shirts and blouses probably constitute
the bulk of many wardrobes. Without doubt, the most common question
I'm asked is how to care for these garments:
There's no simple answer. It all depends ...
That's because there are a number of factors that go into the
decision whether to dryclean or professionally launder a shirt or
blouse. In many cases, the decision is a judgement call on the part
of the client and/or the cleaner.
The primary factors that should be considered in the dryclean
vs. launder decision are:
Shirts or blouses with care labels that state "dryclean only",
"machine washable, for best results dryclean," "hand wash, line dry
and press at low temperatures" are examples of shirts and blouses
that should be drycleaned and hand ironed.
A word of caution is in order.
Just because a shirt or blouse has a care label identifying the
manufacturer's recommended cleaning instructions doesn't mean that
the care label is technically accurate and complete.
I would estimate that 20% of all garments we receive contain
care labels that are technically inaccurate or incomplete to
some degree or another. The bottom line is that nothing beats
informed judgement when it comes to making the dryclean vs. launder
The nature of the stains - oil-based or water-based or both -
will dictate whether the shirt or blouse should be
* drycleaned and then wetcleaned/laundered, or
* wetcleaned/laundered and then drycleaned.
Fabrics with an embossed, ribbed or raised feel and/or look
should be drycleaned and hand ironed to protect the fabric
Garments with "non-standard" buttons should be drycleaned and
Examples of "non-standard" buttons include colored shell
buttons; concave shell buttons with a thin, raised rim; shell
buttons with a thickness greater than standard; shell buttons with
a diameter greater than standard; brand signature/monogrammed
buttons; metal buttons; plastic buttons with metal rims; glass
buttons; painted buttons; buttons with metal or plastic shanks;
(Aside: in many cases, these types of buttons should also be
removed prior to cleaning and replaced after finishing using the
original button sewing technique, usually the "cross stitch" or
As a general rule, garments with trim and embellishments should
be drycleaned and hand ironed.
A true quality cleaner should be able to clean almost any shirt
or blouse with trim or embellishments. Expertly. Safely. And
effectively. Whether it's beads, sequins, rhinestones or
paillettes, plastic, vinyl or rubber; paint, glitter or silk
screen; appliques or embroidery, suede, leather or fur; multi-media
comprising fabrics and skins; feathers; high-tech fabrics.
Dark colored shirts and blouses should be drycleaned and hand
ironed to protect the intensity of the colors.
Dark colored shirts and blouses that are laundered will tend to
fade over time, especially along the seams of the collar, cuffs and
plackets - even if laundered in cold water on a short cycle.
Many shirts and blouses contain silk, linen, rayon (also known
as lynocell and tencel), nylon and/or polyester (including
cotton/polyester blends that are 60% polyester or greater). These
shirts and blouses should be drycleaned and hand ironed.
Many shirts and blouses contain varying amounts of spandex (also
known as lycra) - anything from 2% to 20%. These shirts and blouses
should be drycleaned and hand ironed.
Consideration should be given to the brand when making the
decision to dryclean or launder. Armani (black label), Attolini,
Borelli, Brioni, Canali, Chavet, Escada, Ford, Gucci, Kiton,
Lorenzini, Loro Piana, Prada, Ralph Lauren (purple and black
label), Ricci and Varvatos are examples of brands that should be
drycleaned and hand ironed.
Personal preference plays a role in the dryclean vs. launder
Some clients want all their shirts and blouses -- casual, dress
and formal; white, pastel and colored -- drycleaned and hand
A true quality cleaner will be happy to honor such requests.
They'll even guarantee that your white cotton shirts and blouses
that are drycleaned will be spectacularly bright. As bright as your
white cotton shirts and blouses that are laundered in hot water
with caustic, industrial grade detergents and bleaches.
Shirts and blouses with a classic fit may be suitable for
professional laundering and partial finishing on automated
equipment ... provided, of course, that none of the factors
described above apply.
However, fitted and semi-fitted shirts and blouses that have a
contoured body should be drycleaned and hand ironed.
I'm sure many ordinary cleaners will disagree with these general
guidelines. I have no problem with that. It's their prerogative to
treat your fine garments in any way they please in their never
ending quest to "produce" garments at the lowest possible cost and
in the fastest possible time. They'll continue to produce ordinary,
bang and hang cleaning; I'll continue to focus on true quality
Unsure how a specific shirt or blouse should be processed?
Consult a true quality cleaner. They'll be happy to advise and
How can I help you?
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