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The Clothes Doctor

“Finally, the TRUTH about DRY CLEANING- Part 2”

In the last series, we talked about the myths of dry cleaning which run rampant in social media and news articles. Marquard’s is taking the time to clear the air on many of these misunderstandings and explain where the media has it right and where they have it altogether wrong. After all, we’ve been in the cleaning business for 85 years and have weathered the storms of this growing and changing industry.

Have we always gotten it right? Not a chance. But neither has any business that has stood the test of time. Marquard’s is not here to just be another cleaning service provider on every corner, we are here to educate our customers with the best practices for the best outcomes when it comes to their clothing. And we’ve learned a thing or two over the years about what works and what doesn’t. It’s that kind of attention to detail that has earned us “Best Dry Cleaner” awards year after year, after year.

So let’s disseminate some of that knowledge right now. You may have read about several of these in recent years. Here are five additional statements perpetuated in the blogosphere and news media:

Washing wool has always been a dry cleaner’s domain, yet, washing wool is just as effective when done correctly at home. True. However, in order to ensure the material does not shrink, stretch or become discolored or misshapen to the point that it becomes unwearable; sometimes the best option is to go to a professional who has the proper tools and techniques to make certain your expectations are met. Wool sweaters have a tendency to stretch into strange shapes when washed and not properly handled before, during and after cleaning. Improper temperature control or over agitation in a washing machine can damage wool fibers. If you have the time to learn how to best care for your wool, properly hand washing, drying and reshaping the garments, then caring for your wool at home is not impossible.

All stains are removable, and if dealt with in a timely manner, will come out. This is far from the truth. What is more accurate to state is that many stains can be removed if treated quickly and with the proper method. In many cases, those methods are home remedies that easily do the trick. On the other hand, there are some stains that if not treated professionally, by someone with the knowledge of fabric restoration, understanding of chemical processes that create the best outcomes, and the proper tools to handle the stains, you could be creating an irreversible situation for yourself trying to manage it at home. What level of risk are you comfortable with? In some cases, using the wrong home remedy for a stain could result in irreversible damage. While many simple food spills or grass stains can be dealt with in your everyday laundry, no amount of online reading will give you the expertise to know how to treat every stain for every fabric type and then it becomes a matter of how much you value the garment.

Some stains, such as indelible ink, dyes, and dried paint are nearly impossible to remove. And while our Clothes Doctor at Marquard’s has been able to remove some of the most unbelievable blemishes (such as Sharpie marker from slacks) some mishaps are simply a ticket to the rag pile. Be sure that if you value the clothing item, you get it to a professional for stain removal. It will save you time and money.

Dry cleaning will extend the life of clothing. This is an ongoing debate that can only be answered with the statement- it depends. What is clear; whether dry cleaning or home laundering your clothes, the more often clothes are worn and the more cleaning they receive, the shorter the lifespan of your clothing. This does not mean not cleaning- what it does mean is cleaning only as needed. All clothing will have a lifespan of use based on how often the clothes are worn and cleaned. There is some evidence however that suggests dry cleaning does, in fact extend the life of clothing both from a perspective in how water versus dry cleaning breaks down fabric over time, but also for a couple of very logical reasons;

  • Dry cleaning fluids are far more effective in removing oily stains than consumer washing detergents.

  • Dry cleaners use special tools for safeguarding different elements of clothing from wear or damage (such as buttons, zippers, trim, decorative embellishments, etc.).

  • Dry cleaner’s job is to care for clothing with the best possible outcome, every time. Seldom do consumers spend the required amount of time and attention needed for proper preparation of garments, stain removal, cleaning and drying.

Care labels on clothing are merely the manufacturer’s suggestion and favor their partners in the dry cleaning industry. Myth. The Federal Trade Commission actually requires apparel manufacturers to attach permanent labels to garments supplying instructions for dry cleaning or laundering. There aren’t any conspiracies against the public between garment manufacturers and dry cleaners. In fact, not all care labels are correct. Get the opinion of a professional if there is any doubt about the care of your clothing as everything will depend on the fabric quality, it’s colorfastness, durability and the makeup of the material itself.

Clothing manufacturers (those of reputation) want your clothing to be a good reflection on the quality and craftsmanship of the items they sell. After all, you are walking around marketing their styles and their brands. The last thing a manufacturer wants is you, dressed in their faded, spotted and stretched-out garments. At worst case, you will look less than hygienic, and at best, you might look like you just had a really bad day… either way, clothing manufacturers look their best when you look your best. Following the care instructions for “dry clean only” means the manufacturer has tested the durability, colorfastness and sizing of their product and know that the best solution is to dry clean their product. While all clothing can be handled at the dry cleaner, if the care label says, “machine wash,” it means this is the tested effective cleaning method for the best outcome, whether you launder at home or have it laundered at the cleaners.

 

To learn more about Marquard’s best practices and high-quality services, visit our services page at marquardscleaners.com/services.