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

It's not what ordinary cleaners say. It's what they do.

Talk is cheapI receive many emails from dry cleaners. Many are anonymous rants accusing me of demeaning ordinary cleaners.

I plead guilty as charged. After all, how can I explain true quality cleaning if I don't juxtapose true quality cleaning against ordinary cleaning.

Occasionally, a cleaner will identify him or herself and we'll engage in a useful discussion. Often, it's an attempt on their part to convince me why they don't qualify to be labeled an "ordinary cleaner."

At other times, it's an attempt on their part to convince me that they don't engage in certain practices when, in fact, they do. Such as the Phoenix "organic cleaner" who informed me that he does not dry clean his customers' garments in perchloroethylene (aka perc) at one of his two locations when, in fact, I have personal knowledge that he does (he claims that he wet cleans all his customers' dry clean only garments at that location, that he only uses perc for "restoration" work, and that I raise the issue only because I'm "jealous of his business").

As a result, I've come to a singular conclusion: most ordinary cleaners say one thing, but do another.

  • They say they pre-spot every garment, but they just load all garments into a dry cleaning machine and maybe post-spot them. (Pre-spotting is targeted stain removal by a skilled technician prior to cleaning the garment in a dry cleaning machine).
  • They say they clean your garments in an odorless, fabric-gentle, dermatologically-friendly dry cleaning fluid, but they still use fabric aggressive, dye stripping, toxic solvents like perchloroethylene (aka perc) or synthetic petroleum.
  • They say they purify their dry cleaning solvent after every load, but they only do so a few times a week.
  • They say they dry clean your cottons and linens as you requested or as specified by the care label, but they wet clean or wash them and toss them in a drier.
  • They say they operate their dry clean machines with zero moisture, zero fragrance and zero sizing, but they inject moisture, fragrance and sizing into their dry cleaning solvent.
  • They say they gently hand-iron your garments, but they machine press them at a rate of 20 to 40 per hour per presser.
  • They say they employ a  skilled tailor or seamstress to make all necessary repairs, but they often assign the task to a customer service representative with some free time on their hands.
  • They say they soak your laundered shirts in a gentle dry cleaning fluid (to dissolve oil-based stains) and then in a water-based solution (to eliminate water-based stains), but they scrub your collars and cuffs with hard-bristled brushes and "collar/cuff solution" in an attempt to get them reasonably clean.
  • They say they gently wet clean your shirts in cool or warm water, but they wash your shirts in hot water in an attempt to dissolve the oil-based stains.
  • They say they use a gentle enzyme detergent, but they use a harsh, caustic, industrial grade detergent in an attempt to eliminate the water-based stains.
  • They say they use no bleach, but they add fabric-destroying bleach in an attempt to get your whites really white.
  • They say they use a premium, natural wheat starch, but they starch your shirts with cheap synthetic glue (that adheres to your shirt's fibers like multiple coats of paint) in an attempt to save a few pennies per shirt.
  • They say they hand iron your shirts, but they machine press them at a rate of 40 to 50 per hour per presser, which leaves your shirts with puckered seams, wrinkled collars, cuffs, underarms, sleeve pleats, sleeve plackets and front plackets, and wrinkled cuff/sleeve and sleeve/body joins.
  • They say they conduct detailed inspections of every garment prior to packaging, but they do a cursory look over.
  • They say they package your garments individually and use the finest packaging materials, but they stuff them in a bag and use materials that "look pretty" but aren't technically aligned with and supportive of your garments over the short and long term.
  • They say that they charge a price that reflects the quality they deliver, but they still charge relatively low prices.
  • They say they take the time to do the job right (3 to 5 days in most cases), but they routinely offer same and next day service or 3 day pickup and delivery service.

The contradictions are endless. I suppose this explains why clients are amazed when a cleaner actually does what they say they do.

How can I help you?

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