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

A Suitable Wardrobe knows shirt laundry

Shirt2In yesterday's post, I repeated Will Boehlke's comments about true quality cleaning entitled "Maintenance: Clothing Cleaners."

In today's post, I repeat Will Boehlke's April 26, 2009 post entitled "Maintenance: Whiter Whites".

Here's what he had to say . . .

"I get more questions from men looking for quality cleaning and alterations services than I do of any other kind, and after  I mentioned RAVE FabriCARE's Clean by Mail cleaning service a few weeks ago I thought it useful to provide a review of the company's Jermyn Street Shirtcare service. Five dress shirts were dispatched to Scottsdale, Arizona by FedEx and arrived back in San Francisco about two weeks later. They literally looked as good as new.

Shirt1Now in my book, the world of $400 and up bespoke shirts  has been waiting for someone to take advantage of today's moderately priced air shipping services and offer quality shirt cleaning from a lower cost labor area. That day has arrived.  I use what I consider to be the best service in the Bay area and the results, though good, are definitely not up to RAVE's standard. I doubt if better work could be done at home by a dedicated laundress.

This is no same day service because the preliminaries take longer than that. RAVE's process begins by soaking each shirt for 12-24 hours in fluid that loosens oil-based grime from collars and cuffs without the abrasion of scrubbing. Ground-in dirt on the inside of one shirt cuff was completely removed.  And the combination of RAVE's soaking process and its  quality laundering also means that RAVE's finished shirts are noticeably cleaner and brighter.

Another most impressive technique is that after laundering the shirts are completely pressed by hand.  They are folded gently instead of being pressed hard, so there are no creases.  They are folded in half for shipping instead of into the usual third, so the entire shirt front is uncreased. And they are sealed in a heavy gauge shirt bag with a "built in" cushion of air so they resist wrinkles until they are taken out to be worn.

All is not perfect of course. Rave's service is priced at about double the cosShirt3t of my current service, roughly $14 a shirt rather than the $7 I usually pay. Call that a $2,000 a year premium for remote cleaning which is noticeable. But price is not the real barrier for me. Space is.

You see RAVE's method of folding means their clean shirts take up twice as much space as the system I use currently, so they simply will not fit into the cabinetry that I use for storage. So much as I might be tempted to redesign my closets, I am going to stick with my current supplier.

But men who have the budget and the space are likely to be very happy that they found RAVE."

Addendum to this post from RAVE: As a result of Will's post and his specific comments about his shirts being folded in half to minimize creases, RAVE FabriCARE now offers a choice in folded shirts: folded in half or folded to the maximum length specified by the client. Will continues to entrust his fine garments to us.

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