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

Dry cleaners love hyperbole. Don't buy their rhetoric.

Hyperbole-1Over the years, I've probably visited thousands of dry cleaner websites and have always been fascinated by the level of hyperbole displayed.

Unfortunately, the dry cleaning industry's love affair with hyperbole continues. What used to be a ripple is now a tsunami (that's hyperbole!)

Consider this example: "We cater to the needs of the most discriminating customers. We pride ourselves in offering the highest level of service possible, along with the greatest level of quality and care."

What a load of garbage!

Especially when you consider the source of this statement: the website of a cleaner whose quality is average, whose prices reflect that average quality, and whose average prices are competitive with other average cleaners.

But it was only in the past month or so that I realized that the dry cleaning industry's Master of Hyperbole resides right here in Phoenix, Arizona.

You see, I was waiting at a stop light when a dry cleaner's delivery van pulled up along side me.

The van's colorful wrap featured the cleaner's name - to protect the guilty let's call them Garment Care Cleaners - and all the standard visual cliches associated with a cleaner who claims - falsely - that their dry cleaning solvents are " organic, green, non-toxic and environmentally friendly."

But what really grabbed my attention was their slogan: The relentless pursuit of textile care perfection.

Hyperbole-2What the ####!

Here we have a cleaner

  • whose been in business for about 5 years
  • whose quality of product is average, whose prices reflect that average quality and whose average prices are competitive with other average cleaners (about $12.50 for a dry cleaned suit and $2.50 for a laundered shirt)
  • whose prices are further reduced through discounts, coupons, specials and deals
  • who routinely offers same and next day service and 3 day pickup and delivery service
  • who dry cleans in traditional dry cleaning solvents ( perchloroethylene aka perc and synthetic petroleum)
  • whose competition is the ordinary cleaner, franchised cleaner or chain cleaner down the street
  • but who sports a slogan that would be way over the top for a true quality cleaner with decades of institutional experience serving, amongst others, high-end department stores, clothing boutiques, custom clothiers, fine linen stores, interior designers and their clients.

If this bang and hang cleaner is comfortable adopting a slogan such as "the relentless pursuit of textile care perfection", then Denny's® Restaurants ought to try something like "ascending to the very pinnacle of fine American cuisine!"

Of course, with a slogan like that I just had to visit one of their locations. There I encountered an entire smorgasbord of hyperbole including:

  • "World Famous" above their name on their invoices (folks, I kid you not!)
  • "This is sustainable garment care" on their business cards (Sustainable? When you dry clean in perc and synthetic petroleum?)
  • "Eco certified advanced garment care" on their counter signs (Eco certified? By whom?).

Hyperbole-3Even the name of the cleaner, Garment Care Cleaners, smacks of hyperbole.

Not to be outdone, their brochure, their website, their comments on various blogs, and the advertising copy on various deal offers is a virtual shrine to the dry cleaning industry's love affair with hyperbole (merged with misrepresentations, distortions, inaccuracies, contradictions and outright lies). Consider these direct quotes:

On their claims of quality leadership locally and nationally

  • "focused on being the best in the textile care industry"
  • "We were nominated for America's Best Cleaners"
  • "...the best dry cleaner in Phoenix"
  • "Phoenix's premier cleaner"
  • "The finest dry cleaning and laundry service in the Arizona valley!"
  • "...the best in Garment Care in the Phoenix Valley"
  • "different from any other Arizona dry cleaners"
  • "there is really no competitive offering from other dry cleaners"
  • "Garment Care Cleaners will always strive for excellence in fabric care"
  • "Garment Care Cleaners custom dry cleaning is the wave of the future for fine dry clean only fabrics and delicate couture garments"
  • "We ... will continue to ... change the drycleaning industry one store at a time"
  • "I wanted to change an industry that had been behind the times for years. I wanted to show off what the industry lacked and what it should be."
  • "Everyone who has made the switch to Garment Care Cleaners will tell you they will never go back"
  • "other folks in the dry cleaning business ... are a little jealous about my dry cleaning..."

On their claims to be "green"

  • "Garment Care Cleaners is a true green dry cleaners"
  • "Our mission is to always bring our clients the best in green drycleaning"
  • "Garment Care Cleaners ... taking the green inattentive (sic) in drycleaning and couture garments-care"
  • "Focused on being the greenest that a dry cleaners can be"
  • "The only dry cleaner in the Southwest to become carbon neutral"

On their claims to use "organic" dry cleaning solvents

  • "Phoenix's favorite organic cleaner"
  • "organic dry cleaning is the use of a hydrocarbon solvent called DF 2000 (FYI: DF 2000 is a synthetic petroleum solvent)."
  • "I have had an alternative to perc called DF2000 or hydrocarbon for years (FYI: DF 2000 is a synthetic petroleum solvent)"
  • "use environmentally safe DF-2000 formulas to clean your garments in compliance with the latest EPA standards" (FYI: DF 2000 is a synthetic petroleum solvent)
  • "Our custom dry cleaning process uses green hydrocarbon technology approved by the EPA and the State of California"
  • He is "making an effort to wean his business away from using petroleum solvents" (FYI: DF2000 is a petroleum solvent)
  • "A cleaner that uses perchloroethylene (aka perc) is most of the time an old school cleaner"
  • "We do not use perc."
  • "I agree with not using perc, and looking for a cleaners that uses alternatives to perc"
  • "I offer perc, hydrocarbon and wet cleaning technologies to all my clients"
  • "We offer three ways to clean garments (wet cleaning, organic dry cleaning and laundry) and all three are organic and certified organic by"
  • "Don't be fooled by your neighborhood cleaner saying that their (sic) organic"
  • "Carbon dioxide (CO2) and wet cleaning are the only real organic technologies of (sic) cleaning garments"

On their claims to wet clean exclusively

  • "Here at Garment Care Cleaners we are trying to get away totally from solvent based cleaning. Rather that be GreenEarth, DF2000 or CO2. Water cleaning is the future of the garment care business."
  • "Garment Care Cleaners is one of the only dry cleaners in Phoenix to offer wet cleaning"
  • "Garment Care Cleaners was the first to bring Professional Wet Cleaning to the state of Arizona"
  • "Garment Care Cleaners is organic for many reasons first and most importantly the way or technique in which we clean garments. That is using wet cleaning technology (italics added). Wet cleaning technology is the use of biodegradable soaps and conditioners, water, computerized machinery and tensioning garment finishers to fully bring the garment to perfection"
  • "If any client has a problem with the use of hydrocarbon solvent, just ask us to wet clean your garments" (italics added).
  • "...will do 100% wet cleaning for any customers who request it." (italic added)

On their claims about siloxane dry cleaning fluid (aka Green Earth)

  • Please don't be fooled by dry cleaners that say they use Green Earth solvent, this solvent ... doesn't clean anything on it's best days"
  • "Green Earth solvent sounds really good but it doesn't work and is not a green alternative at all"

On their claims about the quality of their cleaning

  • "Garment Care Cleaners is not a run of the mill cleaner, we are a garment care center
  • "Garment Care Cleaners roots are to have great quality in cleaning, pressing and being green in every aspect of the business"
  • "Garment Care Cleaners is focused on being green and providing the highest quality of cleaning and pressing in Arizona"

On their claims about the quality of their pressing

  • "Pressing quality is a 10 out of 10"
  • "The best quality in pressing"
  • "Low impact fabric pressing/low stress fabric finishing"
  • Finishing equipment that reduces traditional levels of energy consumption by nearly half, which makes for a more pollution free and ozone friendly planet"
  • "Any existing stains on your items will be hand-treated before the dry cleaning process begins and, after the dry cleaning process, any lingering stains will be removed using a state-of-the-art cleaning process...Then your garment is pressed, steamed and ironed followed by any repairs necessary. It's all done by hand (italics added) giving your items the meticulous care they deserve."

On their claims about the quality of their shirt laundry

  • "Garment Care Cleaners fine shirt service is unparalleled in the industry"
  • "The home of the perfect shirt"
  • "Using our state of the art customized robotic equipment your shirt is ... pressed to perfection. All shirts are touched up by hand and all sleeves are creased ... It doesn't get any better than this."

On their claims about the quality of their packaging

  • "Our quality on (sic) cleaning techniques and finishing garments all the way to the packaging is exquiste (sic)"
  • "Garment Care Cleaners also offers individually folded shirts in our exquisite custom packaging..."
  • "Garment Care Cleaners offers... "minimized garment packaging"

Read enough? I could go on, but I won't.

All the BS notwithstanding, there's so much hot air here, it could power a dry cleaning plant for a few decades (that's hyperbole!).

Here's the takeaway: When it comes to hyperbole, the entire dry cleaning industry runs thick and deep. So next time you visit an ordinary cleaner's website, read their blog or blog comments, scan their signs or peruse their literature, it's best to keep a shovel handy.

My advice?

For many ordinary cleaners hyperbole is almost a religion. The hyperbole flows with an evangelical fervor that's almost unstoppable. So don't take their words -- written or verbal -- as gospel. Focus instead on the details of their processes and craftsmanship (if any) and on the demonstrated results produced by those processes and that craftsmanship. Ask the probing questions and insist on clear, jargon-free answers.

You just might find that the emperor has no clothes.

How can I help you?

Full Disclosure

RAVE FabriCARE does not compete directly with Garment Care Cleaners. Their nearest location is 8 miles from our facility, we dry clean in siloxane (aka Green Earth) and we wet clean, and our prices are 3 to 4 times higher.


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