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

When your dry cleaner destroys your leather- or suede-trimmed garment

For the vast majority of cleaners, garments with any type of embellishment or trim presents a challenge.

It doesn't seem to matter if it's beads, sequins or rhinestones; plastic, vinyl or rubber; paint, glitter or silkscreen; appliques or embroidery; suede, leather or fur; multi-media comprising fabrics and skins; feathers; high-tech fabrics. Or a St. John Knit blazer heavily embellished with pailettes and/or rhinestones. And it's especially the case if they dry clean in perchloroethylene, the solvent used by about 85% of all dry cleaners.

Typically, these cleaners follow one of the following routines:

  • Most reject them out of hand, telling you that the garment is not cleanable.
  • A few "clean" them by reducing the time on the wash cycle of their dry cleaning 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.
  • 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 any way.

 So what can you do after your dry cleaner has destroyed your leather- or suede-trimmed garment? After they tell you that it's the "manufacturer's fault"? And after they tell you that it doesn't matter what you think or say because you signed that waiver of liability?

Well, you might consider challenging the cleaner in person or in court. Alternatively, you can mitigate your frustration by sending it to RAVE FabriCARE in Scottsdale, Arizona for restoration.

Consider this Rachel Roy brick red dress with leather trim (pictured below), for example.

A new client in California dropped off this dress with a champagne spill down the front at a "very good cleaner". The cleaner assured her that it would be "ok", but, just in case, asked her to sign a full release of liability.

About two weeks later, she returned to the cleaner to pick up the dress and was told that there was a "problem" and that the "process didn't work out."

Specifically, the leather dye had bled profusely and, in the process, had stained the lining in the bust area. Furthermore, the texture of the leather had changed from supple to stiff.

After calling the store where she had purchased the dress, she was referred to RAVE FabriCARE in Scottsdale, Arizona.

We then requested a digital photo from the manufacturer (so that we could identify the original color of the leather) and transformed the garment from "destroyed" to "like new".

Please note that the process of restoring this garment is much more expensive than it would have been if the client had sent it to RAVE FabriCARE in the first place.

The following before and after photos reflect that transformation:


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1 comment(s) for “When your dry cleaner destroys your leather- or suede-trimmed garment”
  1. Gravatar of Screen Printing
    Screen Printing Says:
    It is a tremendous article. It's content is superb and it's really well written. Superb job....
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