UK Fashion & Textile Association

Benefits of Dry Cleaning

What is Dry Cleaning?

Everyone will be familiar with washing (in water) but less familiar with what happens at the drycleaners.

Drycleaning is the use of organic solvents to remove soil and stains from fabric. It is called drycleaning because the process contains little or no water. When washed in water, natural fibres such as wool and silk can shrink, distort and even lose colour. Because the drycleaning process does not swell the fibres, these problems are unlikely to occur.

Drycleaning solvents actually dissolve and remove grease and oil stains. Water by itself cannot do this.

Other stains require specialized treatment, known as spotting to remove them. Whilst many can be removed quickly with steam, others require a high level of professional skill and expertise from the cleaner.

Drycleaning does not cause creasing or distortion, neither does it remove unwanted creases or restore the loss of shape caused by wear. The skilled drycleaner, by steam pressing, will be able to re-shape the garment, replace the required creases and eliminate unwanted wrinkles.

The term 'drycleaning' is generally understood to cover the whole process of cleaning in solvent, spotting and pressing, carried out in sequence.

Even the most professional cleaner is not able to:

Remove years of ingrained dirt and grime. Frequent cleaning will eliminate this problem.
Remove all stains. The nature and age of the stain, plus the colour and construction of the fabric, sometimes make stain removal impossible.
Recover worn or torn areas. In some cases, small holes can be rewoven, but this is the owner's responsibility.
Prevent holes, caused by insects or acid spillage. Such holes may not appear before drycleaning, but they result from previous weakening of the fibres. Once again, small holes may be re-woven.
Remove shine, caused by excessive heat and pressure used in home ironing.
Correct the effect of poor home stain removal, such as excessive rubbing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is drycleaning good for clothes?

Yes. It removes grit, dust and grease that can damage the fabric if left in it too long. Drycleaning not only prolongs the life of a garment, but keeps it looking smart for as long as possible.

Should I tell the cleaner what has caused a stain?

Yes, and the quicker stained garments are taken to the cleaner the better. Some stains affect fabrics permanently if they are left unattended too long.

Should I have all matching pieces cleaned together?

Yes. If all pieces are cleaned together, any colour loss is likely to be uniform and variations will be minimal. However beware! - there are exceptions. Some two-pieces are made as separates and different cleaning instructions may be found on each piece. If this is the case, advise your cleaner.

Does drycleaning shrink clothes?

No. Not if the drycleaning process has been carried out correctly in accordance with the care label.

Are suedes and leathers cleaned in the same way as fabric garments?

 No. Highly specialised procedures are used on leather garments. Most will need to be re-oiled and/or re-dyed to restore colour and texture.

Will my freshly drycleaned garment have an odour?

No. A professional cleaner is skilled in keeping his solvent clean, and following proper drying procedures your garments are returned free of all smell.

Can I store my clean garments in the plastic wrapping they are returned in?

 No. Clothes should be removed from any plastic cover as soon as possible as storing them in these covers could cause condensation and then mildew.

How can you help to get the best from your dry cleaner

Have your garments cleaned regularly
Bring the garment in for professional care as soon as possible after staining occurs
Discuss any stains with your drycleaner and be especially sure to point out light-coloured spills.
Avoid garment contact with solutions containing alcohol, such as perfume, as this can cause loss of colour.
Protect your garments, especially silk, from excessive perspiration. Perspiration can weaken silk fibres.
Allow deodorants and anti-perspirants to dry before you dress.
Protect your garments from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.
Do not iron stained clothes, as heat can set some stains.

Help your cleaner to help you

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