Fabric Care and Dry Cleaning

What Is Dry Cleaning?
Dry cleaning is the process of using of solvents to remove soil and stains from fabric. It is called “dry cleaning” because the solvents contain little or no water and do not penetrate the in the same way that water does. Dry cleaning is the only safe method for cleaning many types of garments and the solvents used are not harmful to fabric. Many natural fibers such as wools and silks dry clean beautifully while washing them in water will cause shrinkage and loss of color. Dry cleaning is also particularly effective in removing greasy, oily stains from synthetic fibers, which can attract oils.

How Can You Get the Most From Dry Cleaning?
You can help our staff at Park Avenue Discount Cleaners give you the very best service possible. Be sure to inform us of any spots or stains, especially if they are colorless spills. We will want to treat some stains before the drycleaning process. Bring with you any hang tags that contain extra care instructions of fiber nformation. Acrylic knits, for example, are difficult to identify and are inclined to stretch with the heat of cleaning and finishing. So if you know what fibers the garment contains, please tell us when you visit. Point out the presence of items containing glues, plastics, or cardboard stiffeners. And point out any special trims you are concerned about. Outfits with several pieces and any accessories, such as belts, should all be cleaned at the same time to avoid any color discrepancies resulting from any cleaning. Knits that have shrunk can often be shaped back to size if you ask for this service. Sizing, which is applied during manufacture to give a garment body or shape, can be removed after one or more cleanings, as can water repellent and spot repellent finishes.
Dry cleaning can extend the life of your wardrobe, and learning about fabric care can ensure that your garments receive top care and last longer.

Gender Pricing Is A Myth
For laundry and dry cleaning services, gender pricing is a myth, and we can prove it with the math!

We do not blame our customers for the misconception about how shirt processing services are priced by cleaners, we hold the media responsible for perpetuating the myth. We hope that once our customers understand the math, they will give us their kind consideration.

As an industry, dry cleaners and laundry do not charge more for a woman’s shirt or blouse than a man’s shirt. We charge more for a hand ironed shirt than we do a machine pressed shirt. We charge more for the laundering and finishing of the man’s hand ironed tuxedo shirt, than we do for the automated processing of their everyday traditional dress shirt! The price is in the math as calculated by the labor required not the gender of the client!
Simple math. Hand ironing takes more time and requires more skill, and therefore costs the cleaner more to produce. Because it costs more to produce, we charge more for the work.

Care Labels
Before you buy, read the care label attached to the garment and any hang tags or care instructions on garment packaging. The Federal Trade Commission requires clothing manufacturers to attach permanent labels to garments supplying instructions for dry cleaning or laundering. Most garments that are labeled with washing instructions can be dry cleaned as well, but some may be decorated with trim or colored with dyes that are not resistant to dry cleaning solvents. If you want the convenience or the enhanced appearance of professional cleaning and finishing on items with decorative trim or unknown dyes, please bring the items when you visit us, and one of our staff members at Park Avenue Discount Cleaners will be happy to discuss the best course of action.

Differences Among Fabrics
Great advances have been made in the textile industry with development of synthetic fibers and special finishes designed to give body, water repellency and permanent press qualities to fabrics. Manufacturers blend fibers together to create new fabrics with the best qualities of both natural and synthetic materials.

There are several things that are helpful to know about the nature of different fabric types:

  • Many beautiful fibers lack durability and should be purchased only with this understanding. These include cashmere, camel’s hair, and mohair. Angora,another luxury fiber, can shrink excessively even with the most careful care in cleaning.
  • Lightweight and loosely woven wools, gauzes, and loosely knit sweaters can also become distorted in wear and cleaning.
  • Suede and smooth leathers have a high incidence of color difficulties. Genuine suede and leather items require special processing to preserve their finish, feel, and color. These garments should only be handled by cleaners equipped for this specialized job.
  • Imitation suede and leather may become stiff or peel in dry cleaning. These items are often accepted for cleaning only at owner’s risk.
  • Suede-like materials and other materials with a flocked finish may develop bare spots in wear and cleaning. The life expectancy for these garments is generally rather short.
  • Many tailored garments contain interfacings in the collar and lapel that are fused rather than stitched to the shell fabric. In some cases, blisters and wrinkles develop when these items are dry cleaned. This is the fault of the manufacturer.
  • Some bonded fabrics may separate from the face fabric or lining, or there may be shrinkage, puckering, stiffening, or adhesive staining.
  • Acrylic knits are inclined to stretch when wet or when exposed to steam in finishing after dry cleaning.

It can be very helpful to know what type of fabric has been used in the construction of a garment. Click below to learn more about how to identify fabrics:

Fabric Color
Reading labels and tags may give you some information about a fabric and its ability to retain its color and dye. For instance, some blue jeans and other denim items are labeled “guaranteed to fade”. Fabric color can be applied either as dye, which is absorbed into the fibers, or as pigment, which adheres to the fabric surface. Usually both are reasonably colorfast. Some fabrics, however, are not color fast in either water or dry cleaning solvent. Other colors tend to rub off on the skin or other fabrics. Some dyes are called “fugitive” dyes, because they will run, rub off, or bleed onto other fabrics. Pigment prints and metallic prints are held to the fabric with an adhesive, and may wear off over time, from wear as well as cleaning. Some dyes fade on exposure to strong light, especially sunlight, but sometimes strong artificial light as well. Other dyes change color on exposure to combustion gases present in the air. This is called “fume fading,” and is especially common in acetate fabrics.

Decorative Trims
In addition to fabric and color, another consideration when having an item dry cleaned is the presence of any buttons, beads, sequins, and other decorations and fasteners and how those features will hold up to drycleaning. Buttons and beads made of polystyrene are generally the most troublesome, as polystyrene softens or melts on exposure to dry cleaning solvent. Beads and sequins can sometimes be covered with a thin coating of color, which may come off during wear or cleaning. Other times, beads or sequins may be merely glued on and come off during wear or in cleaning. Trim that is sewn on with a single continuous thread may all come off if the thread is broken. Belts or other items that contain cardboard stiffeners or glues will require special attention. According to the Federal Trade Commission care label rule, trims must be able to withstand the recommended care process, so if you do have a problem, you should return the article to the retailer.