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

Dry cleaning the unusual

Embellished CorbisA new client brought in a White House/Black Market white skirt adorned with glued-on black plastic beading. The care label said "dry clean only."

She told me that she'd taken it to 7 dry cleaners around town -- all of whom rejected the garment as "not dry cleanable."

Some rejected it out of hand. Some said that they would try to dry clean or hand wash the skirt but that there were risks: the beading could melt or fall off. And the black dye from the beads could bleed onto the white fabric.

So what to do?

She called up one of the upscale department stores in Scottsdale and asked one of the managers what she would do if she had a similar garment. The response: take it to RAVE FabriCARE!

We explained to the client that we love garments with trims and embellishments. That we can clean almost anything: beads, sequins or rhinestones; plastic, vinyl or rubber; paint, glitter or silkscreen; appliques or embroidery; suede, leather or fur; multi-media comprising fabrics, skins; feathers; high-tech fabrics. Or a St. John Knit blazer heavily embellished with pailettes and/or rhinestones. And that we can do it expertly, safely, and effectively.

Ordinary cleaners, on the other hand, hate garments with trims or embellishments. So they follow multiple strategies:

* Most reject them out of hand, telling you that the garment is not cleanable.

* Some warn you of the "risks", make you sign a waiver of liability and, when the garment is reduced to unwearable status, wave the signed release like a flag blowing in the wind.

* Others, unwilling to expose their lack of skill and experience, and knowing that they have a 50-50 chance of "getting it right", go ahead and experiment on them.

* A few "clean" them by reducing the time on the wash cycle of their drycleaning machine to a fraction of the required time and then tell you that "they've been cleaned." When, in fact, they haven't been properly cleaned.

* Many just spot clean them, spray them with a "freshening" product (say hello to Fabreze), steam them and then tell you that "they've been cleaned". When, in fact, they haven't been cleaned at all.

These photos show the skirt before and after dry cleaning ...


Skirt before
Close up before Detail before



Skirt after
Closeup after Detail after


Over the next 2 weeks, I'll be featuring some unusual garments with trims and embellishments. Everything from a $200 Sheri Bodell "dry clean only" baby doll dress with metal trim to a $10,000 wool and plastic Chado Ralph Rucci "spot clean only" two piece skirt suit.

How can I help you?

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