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Dry Cleaning

  1. Q. What is dry cleaning? Is it actually dry?
    A.

    Dry cleaning is actually a “wet” cleaning process that uses solvents to remove soils and stains from fabrics that don’t launder well with water. Dry cleaning fluids dissolve grease and oils and are ideal for use with natural and synthetic fabrics.

    Natural fibers such as wools and silks dry clean beautifully, but can shrink, distort, and lose color when washed in water. Synthetic fibers like polyester can be dry cleaned, but when washed retain oily stains. Unlike washing, dry cleaning helps to return garments to a "like-new" condition using precautions to prevent shrinkage, loss of color and change of texture or finish.

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  2. Q. Which fabrics are recommended for dry cleaning?
    A.

    Wool, silk and acetate fabrics are most appropriate for dry cleaning. Fine "designer" knit suits, and most sweaters are great candidates too.

    Clothing trimmed in suede and leather or embellished with beading, pearls, rhinestones or sequins should be dry cleaned as well, though some items may not be suitable for dry cleaning and may only be spot cleaned.

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  3. Q. Does frequent dry cleaning shorten the life of a garment?
    A.

    Absolutely not! Frequent cleaning actually prolongs the life of your garment. Stains will set with age and ground in dirt is abrasive to fabric and can rapidly wear down fibers like sandpaper. Insects may also be attracted to soiled clothes and can cause additional damage to fabric.

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  4. Q. What is spot cleaning?
    A.

    Some garment labels state "Spot Clean Only." These garments should be hand cleaned only in the areas where spots are noticeable. Spot cleaning is performed when portions of the garment, such as delicate trims with beads and sequins, cannot withstand normal wet or dry cleaning methods.

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  5. Q. Why must I sign a release for some items?
    A.

    Due to delicate fabrics, special trims and difficult stains, some garments are more likely to be damaged during cleaning. We are required to discuss potential risks, such as shrinkage or changes to fabric color or texture, with you prior to cleaning. Our release form is an acknowledgement that you understand these risks and are willing to accept them.

    Manufacturer care labels provided on garments only cover the base fabric not the trim (beads, sequins, lace, embroidery, etc.) that may be added to the garment. Note that care labels on leather and household items do not protect the consumer.

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  6. Q. What does the care label mean?
    A.

    Federal laws require that all clothing manufacturers provide proper cleaning instructions on a garment care label. The label lists the garment fabric and provides special care and cleaning instructions. We recommend that you follow the manufacturer care instructions.

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  7. Q. The care label on my shirt says "Dry Clean Only" and “Made of rayon and nylon.” Can I safely launder the shirt at home?
    A.

    We always recommend that you follow the garment manufacturer’s care instructions. In this instance, dry cleaning your shirt would be the best cleaning method.

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  8. Q. Why do buttons break on my laundered shirts?
    A.

    Most shirt buttons are made of polyester resin. The strength of the button depends on the amount of polyester. Less polyester means poorer quality buttons that break more easily, especially under heat during pressing.

    We understand that buttons do break, and we attempt to replace each and every one before you pick up your shirts.

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  9. Q. Why do some dyes change color?
    A.

    Garments labeled as “dry clean only” should have water-resistant dyes that can withstand the dry cleaning process. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers follow this guideline.

    Some dyes are water-soluble, resulting in discoloration when water-based cleaning agents are used to remove stains. When garments use two or more dyes, one dye may be more soluble during cleaning and will fade, resulting in a dramatic color change. Additionally, most dyes will fade with exposure to sun and artificial light. Shoulders, collars and sleeves on these garments will often show excessive fading.

    Common household products such as toothpaste, shampoo, hairspray, perfume and deodorant can cause spots of color loss that may not be apparent until after dry cleaning.

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  10. Q. I have a white linen summer suit. I had the slacks cleaned but not the jacket. Now the two pieces are different shades of white. Why?
    A.

    "Summer" white fabrics often contain fluorescent brighteners that can be damaged by prolonged natural sunlight. With matching sets of clothing, such as suits or sweater sets, always have them cleaned at the same time, whether both pieces are soiled or not. Dyes and fabric finishes will change over time and with repeated wearing. To keep colors consistent and looking as new as possible, clean your matching sets together.

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  11. Q. I have a white cotton shirt with underarm stains. What causes these stains?
    A.

    Yellow underarm stains can cause unsightly, permanent discoloration on shirts. The likely cause is a combination of perspiration and acidic chemicals found in most antiperspirants which cause a color shift in clothing.

    These stains require pretreatment before laundering, so be sure to point them out when you drop off your shirts. Old stains that have become “locked” in the fabric may be impossible to remove.

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  12. Q. What causes yellow and brown stains and fabric damage?
    A.

    “Invisible” stains from food, beverages and other oily substances will oxidize and turn yellow or brown over time and with exposure to heat. Once these stains appear, they are difficult to treat and often cannot be removed.

    With repeated exposure, chemicals found in antiperspirants, perfumes and aftershaves can also stain fabrics. Perspiration and body oils can leave stains on some fabrics, such as silk or wool, and can actually begin to deteriorate the fibers.

    To help prevent stains, have your garments cleaned frequently and be sure to let us know about any spills and stains. Do not iron or store your clothes with stains, as this may permanently set the stains.

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  13. Q. I spilled white wine on my jacket but blotted it right away. Should I worry about a spot?
    A.

    When you drop off your garment, please let us know the location and type of spills on your garment, as well as any home cleaning method you may have used. If not properly pretreated, “invisible” stains can suddenly become visible and permanent. Sugar residue, for example, will darken (caramelize) when heat is applied at pressing.

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  14. Q. I found a stain on my favorite skirt after it was dry cleaned. What should I do?
    A.

    Please bring your item back to us and ask for spot treatment and repeat cleaning. Let us know what was originally spilled on the garment, if possible. Please understand that once a stain has been "set" with heat, we cannot guarantee complete removal and you may be  asked to sign a customer-consent form.

    Remember to call attention to all stains and spills, even if they can’t be seen, when you drop off your clothing to prevent discoloration.

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  15. Q. Why do spots sometimes show up after dry cleaning that weren’t visible before?
    A.

    One of the dry cleaner’s worst enemies is the "invisible stain" such as spray from grapefruit, hair spray, or perfume. These stains surface after dry cleaning, when heat from the dry cleaning cycle or pressing causes them to become visible.

    The dry cleaning process alone will not remove these stains. Depending on the material and fabric dyes, some stains can be removed with spot cleaning. Some stains, however, may be permanent. You should always point out all visible and invisible spills and stains on your garments so we can properly pre-treat before dry cleaning.

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  16. Q. How should I treat spills on my clothing at home?
    A.

    Immediately blot spills with a clean, wet cloth. Do not rub or use over-the-counter or home stain removal remedies. Bring your garment to us as soon as possible, preferably within a few days, and let us know what food or substance was spilled on the fabric.

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  17. Q. Can you guarantee stain removal?
    A.

    We will do our best to remove stains, but our success at stain removal will depend on the nature and age of stain, the fabric type, past attempts at stain removal, and the colorfastness of the fabric dye.

    Stains become more difficult to remove over time, so have your garments cleaned as soon as possible. Many natural fabric dyes dilute with water-based stain removers, making stain removal impossible. Stains that have previously been exposed to heat will “set” and cannot be removed. Unfortunately, not every stain is treatable.

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