We provide extraordinary care for fine
garments & household textiles
New clients often ask me why their cotton and linen
garments feel stiff and crusty when they're returned by a
Here's why ...
Your cottons and linens feel stiff and crusty for 2 reasons:
because cleaners love to add sizing to their dry cleaning solvent
or fluid and/or because your cottons and linens have probably been
"washed" or "wet cleaned".
The first reason your cottons and linens feel stiff is that
ordinary cleaners love
sizing. So they add or inject sizing into their dry
cleaning machines during the dry cleaning "wash" cycle. In
much the same way that you inject detergent or softener to your
Their stated reason? According to one Phoenix cleaner's
literature, to "keep each garment feeling new and crisp" and to
"retain your garment's original shape, weight and feel" (Really,
I'm not making this up!).
And the true reason? The more sizing they add, the quicker and
easier it is for their employees to bang out your garments on a
What gets sized? Everything in the load. Cottons. Linens. Silks.
Rayons. Wools such as alpaca, angora, camelhair, cashmere,
escorial, marino, mohair and vicuna. Super 100s, 120s, 150s and
The second reason your cottons and linens feel
stiff and crusty is that they were either "washed" or "wet
At worst, your cotton and linen garments have been "washed." At
best, they've been "wet cleaned." But, in all likelihood, they
haven't been dry cleaned as you specified or as specified by the
Here's what ordinary cleaners typically do to your cotton and
They give your cottons and linens a quick "look over" for
oil-based stains, such as body oil, creams and salad dressing. If
there are no visible oil-based stains, and they determine that your
cottons and linens can be washed or wet cleaned, they're sent
directly to the washer (often regardless of whether the care label
says "dry clean" or "machine washable"). If there are visible
oil-based stains and if it's your lucky day, your cottons and
linens are first tossed into a dry cleaning machine to dissolve the
oils before being sent to the washer to be washed or wet
After machine washing or wet cleaning, your cotton and linen
garments are machine dried, machine pressed and bagged.
Why do ordinary cleaners subject your cotton and linen garments
to this treatment?
Primarily because of the fear of odors and dinginess resulting
from the use of perchloroethylene, and synthetic petroleum solvents
-- the dry cleaning solvents used by 97% of all cleaners.
You see, cottons and linens are natural fibers. And, just like
sponges, natural fibers absorb even the slightest odors and
dinginess from dry cleaning solvent or fluid. So even if the
cleaner uses (or claims to use) "pure solvent" or "pure fluid",
your cotton and linen garments will still smell and look dingy when
they come out of the dry cleaning machine.
(There's an interesting contradiction here: Many ordinary
cleaners will claim that they use "pure" dry cleaning solvent or
fluid. This way they can claim their dry cleaned garments are
always "odor-free" and "bright". Yet they won't risk dry cleaning
your cotton and linen garments because they're afraid they'll smell
and look dingy. How can the dry cleaning solvent or fluid be "pure"
if their dry cleaning produces cotton and linen garments that are
smelly and dingy?)
By contrast, what should a cleaner do to your "machine washable"
cotton and linen garments?
Use wet cleaning and other restoration techniques to remove
water-based stains (instead of machine washing). Hang or flat dry
the garments (instead of machine drying). And, finally, dry clean
the garments to remove oil-based stains, enhance the intensity of
the color and restore the "soft as butter" texture to the
And ANY dry cleaner should be able to do all this while
simultaneously producing an odor-free and intensely bright
Which, of course, they can't. Which is why ordinary cleaners
"wash" or "wet clean" as many of your cotton and linen garments as
possible. Even if you dislike faded, stiff, fragranced garments.
Even if you specified dry clean only. Even if the care label says
"dry clean only".
A true quality cleaner will take a completely different
* Sizing will never be applied to an entire load of dry
cleaning. Sizing will only be applied to cottons and linens only -
by a skilled finisher - during the finishing stage only. And only
according to your stated personal preference.
* Your cottons and linens will be dry cleaned even if they
were wet cleaned during a prior stage of the cleaning process.
How can I help you?
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