A customer walked into the Prada store clutching 6 of his new and relatively new, dark colored, cotton shirts.
Apparently, he'd dropped off these shirts at an "organic dry cleaner" for cleaning. When he picked up his order, he was stunned by the results they delivered to him. More specifically:
Clearly upset, he asked store associates if there was anything that could be done to "save" his shirts.
As a courtesy to the customer, Prada called RAVE FabriCARE.
Upon examination of the shirts, it was clear what had occurred...
The cleaner had washed these dark colored shirts in an industrial washing machine with industrial grade detergents (and who knows what else). Then they machine pressed the damp shirts on a series of machines -- one for the collar and cuff, one for the sleeves and one for the body. Machines that have all the subtlety of medieval torture. At a rate of 40 to 50 (or more) per hour.
What amazes me is this: After practically destroying these Prada shirts, the cleaner still had the audacity to charge for the "service" (around $3 per shirt).
What's even more amazing to me is this: Given the damage inflicted on these shirts (and yes, I said DAMAGE), the customer actually paid for the "service".
This episode is the perfect segue to the obvious question: What's the technically correct way to clean and press dark colored, cotton shirts, thereby protecting your investment in your fine garments?
Our Position Paper on the very topic lists a number of factors that should be considered in making the dry cleaning vs. launder decision. More specifically, under the sub-heading "Color", we state the following:
Dark colored shirts and blouses should be dry cleaned and hand ironed to protect the intensity of the colors.
Dark colored shirts and blouses that are wet cleaned or laundered tend to fade over time, especially along the seams of the collar, cuffs and front plackets – even if wet cleaned or laundered in cold water on a short cycle.
If your dry cleaner actually cared about your fine garments, they'd dry clean your dark colored shirts and blouses in a gentle dry cleaning fluid and then hand iron them. It's not rocket science. It's just a matter of knowledge, skills, time and commitment.
So the next time you drop off your dark colored, cotton shirts or blouses at the dry cleaner:
And if they've destroyed your dark colored shirts or blouses by laundering and machine pressing them (instead of dry cleaning them in a very gentle dry cleaning fluid and then hand ironing them), don't let them off the hook by shrugging your shoulders, paying the cleaning bill and walking out.
Take the necessary action!