Every article of clothing you own needs to be cleaned properly. From your suit, coat, and sweater to your dress, shirt, and pants. Each item either needs to be laundered, or dry cleaned. Extending the life of your clothes depends on you choosing the best option for that clothing type and material. At any reputable dry cleaning business, you can bring in your pile of assorted clothing and the professional behind the counter will know what’s best for each individual garment. However, it also helps for you to know the difference, especially if you like to wash your own clothing.
When laundering and pressing, water and detergent are used to wash your clothing in a commercial-grade washing machine. On the other hand, when dry cleaning, a non-water based solvent is used to remove stains. In both scenarios, each article of clothing is individually pressed to perfection after being cleaned.
A professional laundry service will always first read the care label on your garments to discern whether or not to launder or dry clean your clothing. This in turn effectively prolongs the life of your clothing. When cleaning your clothes on your own, we also recommend first reading the label. If it says ‘Dry Clean Only,’ then you should only bring it to your favorite dry cleaner. Likewise, if it asks you to wash in warm or cold water, or to hand wash, then you should launder as directed. Your wardrobe, bank account and the planet will thank you for making such a wonderful and sustainable decision.Cotton dress shirts:
If taking your shirts to a professional launderer, ask for light starch to avoid build up over time. Unless, of course you like an extra crisp feel. Then ask for extra starch!
Laundering is gentle on fabric, as the chemicals in your detergent are much weaker compared to that of dry cleaning solvent. Yet, it still removes everyday grime and stains, without deteriorating your clothes over time. Laundering is also ideal for removing oil and sweat from fabrics, which makes it a great choice for items like cotton blouses and dress shirts. If you decide to have your clothing laundered professionally, then expect them to be pressed and hung to dry after their wash, giving them a fresh new feeling and look.
Dry cleaning steps in when launder and press just doesn’t cut it, or when water must be avoided. It’s able to handle much more delicate or stubborn fabrics, and a range of different pieces and sizes. It is great for garments made from natural fibers, like wool or silk, as water has an adverse effect on those materials. This is because water can cause various fabrics to become rigid, or to fade, shrink or lose their shape.Cotton and Wool Suits/ Skirts/ Pants:
These are considered delicate fibers, thus require special care and a light press.Cashmere and Wool Sweaters:
These too are delicate fibers. Ask for them to be folded over a hanger, if you’d like to maintain their shape.Silk Shirts:
Delicate, and best handled by professionals to ensure they are delicately cared for, and properly pressed.
As for stains, when an item is dry cleaned, there is a “pre-spotting” process that entails an experienced cleaner examining garments to locate stains, as well as determining the source, so that they can treat each spot with the appropriate non-aqueous solvent. With that said, if you know the source of the stain, please let your dry cleaner know. Whether it’s wine, oil, dirt, tomato sauce, or anything else, this information is vital to properly remove the stain, and assist in mitigating further damage.
As you can see, there is a time and a place for both laundering and press or dry cleaning. Each one serves a different purpose, and is valuable in their own way. Most importantly, using both appropriately will prolong your wardrobe’s lifespan.
Author: Christina P. Kantzavelos
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