We provide extraordinary care for fine
garments & household textiles
A heat wave baked the USA this past week. In
Phoenix, Arizona, the temperature hit 111 degrees in the shade. All
of this got me thinking about one of the most frequently asked
questions thrown at me:
Why do my dry cleaned garments still smell of perspiration after
they come back from the cleaners?
My answer is quite simple: Your dry cleaned garments still smell
of perspiration because they haven't been cleaned. Professionally
cleaned, that is.
You might have been told that they've been cleaned. They may
appear to have been cleaned. But you know that they sure don't
smell like they've been cleaned!
you have to know a little about dry cleaning -- at a very
The vast majority of stains fall into one of two categories:
oil-based stains and water-based stains.
Oil-based stains are stains such as butter, salad dressing,
steak juice, body oil, creams and lotions. To remove an oil-based
stain, the garment must be "prespotted"/flushed with steam and
completely dried. Prior to being dry cleaned. Drycleaning should
emulsify or dissolve the residue of the oil or grease stain that
hasn't been flushed out with steam during prespotting. About 10% of
all visible stains a cleaner encounters are oil-based stains.
Water-based stains are stains such as soda, juice, champagne and
perspiration. To remove a water-based stain, the
garment must be "prespotted"/ flushed with steam and completely dried, and/or wet cleaned and
completely dried. Prior to being dry cleaned. About 90% of all
visible stains a cleaner encounters are water-based stains.
And here's where the problem arises.
You can dry clean a garment with a water-based stain such as
perspiration as many times as you wish. More often than not, that
stain won't "move" with dry cleaning alone. Conversely, you can wet
clean a garment with a oil-based stain as many times as you wish.
More often than not, that stain won't "move" with wet cleaning
As a reader of this blog you already know that
Now you know that
So what's an ordinary cleaner to do?
Employ skilled stain removal technicians?
No. That's way too expensive.
Take the time, at the very least, to flush and dry the underarm
areas and/or crotch areas of each and every garment prior to
tossing them into their dry cleaning machine?
No. That'll cripple their
Increase their turnaround time so they will have the time "to do
the job right"?
No. They're convinced that same or next day
in-store service, and 3 day pickup and delivery service is
absolutely critical to their business survival.
Increase their prices to accommodate the labor investment
required "to do the job right"?
No. They're petrified their customers will
defect to a lower priced cleaner down the street.
Instead of taking the time to pretreat your garments correctly,
they resort to twisted logic. It goes something like this ...
We know we need dry cleaning solvent or fluid to emulsify or
dissolve oil-based stains, and moisture to remove water-based
stains. So why don't we just add or inject moisture into our dry
cleaning machine during the "wash" cycle. This way we'll kill two
birds with one stone: the dry cleaning solvent or fluid will "take
care of the oil-based stains" and the moisture will "take care of
the water-based stains".
Voila! Problem solved. With absolutely no investment of time,
effort or skill. And absolutely no impact on their sacrosanct
There's only one problem.
It's extremely reckless.
Because moisture in a dry cleaning machine is the single most
important contributor to the shrinkage of garments. And to the
bleeding of water soluble dyes on "dry clean only" garments.
And it just doesn't work.
Which, of course, is why your dry cleaned garments still smell
True quality cleaning involves the application of care,
judgment, skill, experience and time. Unfortunately for ordinary
cleaners, there are no simple, shortcut solutions.
How can I help you?
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