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Garment Alert

DO NOT LET ANY CLEANERS TOUCH YOUR GARMENTS UNTIL YOU HAVE FINISHED READING THIS GUIDE
Six costly misconceptions people have about dry cleaning 10 tips for making your clothes last longer and look their best 10 questions to ask any cleaner before they touch your clothes how to choose the right cleaners for your needs. Before you let any dry cleaner touch your garments, I strongly recommend that you take the following four steps when choosing a dry cleaner:

Action #1: The way you learn about a company is to ask specific questions and listen carefully to the answers. Here are the questions I suggest you ask ?
1. What dry cleaning methods do you use?
2. How often do you test and purify you cleaning solutions?
3. What training have you had in your dry cleaning?
4. Who does your spot removal and what training and certification do they have?
5. Are you a member of any trade associations and, if so, which ones?
6. Are you certified by the New York state and will you show me your certificate?
7. What quality standards do you use when pressing clothes?
8. Do you use sizing?
9. Do you provide a pick up and delivery service? And what is the cost for that service.
10. Do you use a computer system that tracks my cleaning order?

Action #2: Ask the dry cleaner for the names of at least two customers that you can talk to. This is the best way to verify the quality of a cleaners service, as well as their attitude.

Action #3: Check with your local Better Business Bureau and other consumer agencies to determine the dry cleaner's reputation and find out if they have any complaints or law suits filed against them by unhappy customers.

Action #4:
Finally, find out if the dry cleaner guarantees, IN WRITING, all of their work. We Do. Our promise to you is ? "If you do not feel that our cleaning is the best, most thorough, and professional that you have ever had, I will clean it again for free. If you are still not happy for any reason, I will refund you all your money. You take no risk. What could be more fair?"
Finally make a commitment to yourself not to put off cleaning your clothes. The longer they remain dirty, the sooner they will wear out. Plus, the longer you have to breathe all the pollens, fungus, and chemical and dust mites that are in your garments. By following these steps, you will gain all the information you need to make an informed decision. If you want a quick, cheap cleaning, many companies can help you with that. But if you want a thorough cleaning with professional pressing that is designed to restore your clothes to like-new quality; making them as long as possible. White & White invites you to try our cleaning service.

Now here are 10 things you can do to get the best service possible from your dry cleaner and make your clothes last as long as possible:
1. Tell your cleaner everything you know about a stain. Even if the stain is obvious, tell your dry cleaner anything you know about it, including the staining substance, home stain removal attempts, and how long ago the stain occurred. Dry cleaners use several different procedures to remove stains, depending on the fabric and type of stain. Fruit juices, oily stains, soda, coffee, and other substances are difficult to remove and require special attention.
2. Do not allow a stain to set in. The sooner a garment is cleaned, the more likely the stain will be removed. Do not iron stained or soiled clothes; it will set the stains and drive the soil deeper into the fabric. It is not recommended to try home remedies on dry clean only garments. Be sure to always blot a stain, not rub. Never buy the spot and stain removers advertised on late night infomercials. The International Fabricare Institute has tested and found that these products will ruin your clothes. The manufacturers have had many law suits against them.
3. Take note of invisible stains and tell your cleaner. Sometimes stains seem to disappear when they dry. It is important to point out ALL stains to your cleaner. They will know how to treat the "invisible" or lightly stained areas prior to cleaning. If they are not aware of the stain, the heat of drying and finishing may set the stain permanently. Watch out for stains from white wine, soft drinks, and sugary substances, as these tend to become "invisible".
4. Never remove a care label. Care labels are permanently attached to garments for both you and your dry cleaner. Even if you never plan on having your garment dry cleaned, the care label has valuable information that will be helpful to you.
5. Do not store your clothes in a plastic bag. The plastic bag your dry cleaner uses only protects your garments on your way home. The plastic causes humidity to condense in the bag, weakening the fibers. Garments should be stored in cool, dry places. Have items cleaned prior to storing them and do not keep them in places where there is excessive heat or moisture, such as in attics or basements.
6. Prevent prolonged exposure to light. Many white garments are treated with optical brighteners that turn the garments into a yellowish color when exposed to heat or light. Be sure not to leave these garments in direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time.
7. Have matching pieces cleaned together. Matching pieces in suits, skirts, shirts, and even drapes and bedspreads should be cleaned at the same time. Normal fading may occur that the dry cleaner cannot control. Even a slight change could ruin the set.
8. Protect your clothing. Avoid contact with perspirations, perfume, and hair products, especially on silk items. The alcohol in some of these products can affect some dyes as well as cause stains. Allow them to dry before you dress. Body oils and perspiration can also create a permanent yellow discoloration and weaken the fabric. Use garment shields when possible to avoid body contact. And do not delay taking clothes with these types of stains to the dry cleaners.
9. Check for tears, rips, and loose buttons. Your dry cleaner will look over the garment for these flaws, but two sets of eyes are better than one.
10. Work with your dry cleaner. Do not expect a one hour service to bring high quality as compared to a turn-around service. It should be used only for basic cleaning. Realize that if a garment bleeds, shrinks, tears, or is ruined in any way after dry cleaning, there could be a number of causes, including manufacturer defects. Keep a good line of communication open with your cleaner to find the cause and possible solutions. There are industry procedures to follow if a garment is ruined.

Misconception #1:Frequent dry cleaning shortens the life of your garments.
No, on the contrary, frequent cleaning prolongs the life of a garment.
Not only do stains set with age, making the garments un-wearable, but ground-in dirt and soil act as an abrasive, like sandpaper, causing rapid wear of fibers. Also, insects love soiled clothes and will cause further damage. A study conducted by North Carolina State University showed no negative effect on fabrics from regular dry cleaning. And for sensitive fabrics, dry cleaning is gentler AND the recommended method. In addition, your clothes, drapes, bedspreads and pillows harbor hundreds of thousands of dust mites. Why should you care about dust mites? Because more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies, causing almost 10% of all doctors visits. According to Georgetown University Medical Center, the number of enemy of allergy sufferers is the dust mite. These microscopic creatures can double their numbers in 10 hours and feed off human skin flakes. That means that your clothing, drapes, bedding and pillows are a dust-mite nursery! In fact, one-tenth of the weight of your 2 year olds pillow is dust mite feces! Dust mite feces are responsible for the coughing, sneezing, headaches and itching symptoms common to allergies. Unlike pollen, dust mite allergens attack all year. That's why frequent, extensive cleaning of your clothes, blankets, drapes, bedding and pillows is recommended. Numerous studies have shown that dry cleaning is the simplest, least expensive and most effective means to reduce dust mit allergens and relieve allergy and asthma symptoms! The studies found that, in most cases, laundering only killed a few of the dust mites, while dry cleaning killed most, if not all, of these mites! Of course, your dry cleaner should determine if your blankets, comforters and drapes are colorfast, before processing.

Misconception #2: The only reason to have clothes dry cleaned is to get out the dirt and dust mites.
No. As you probably know, air contains fungus, bacteria, pollens, air pollution, cigarette smoke, car exhaust and hundred of other chemicals. These chemicals get carried on your skin, and in your clothes. If you have allergies, asthma, emphysema, or other breathing problems, the source could be breathing the pollutants trapped in your clothes. In addition, tobacco smoke contains over 4000 different chemical compounds, 43 of which can cause cancer. And if you don't smoke, you pass through air that has secondary smoke residue. So another reason to dry clean more often is to get rid of these pollutants.

Misconception #3: Dry cleaning means no liquids are used in the process.
No. Dry cleaning uses fluids to remove soil and stains from the fabric.
In fact, the term "dry cleaning" is misleading: it's called dry cleaning because the fluid contains little or no water and does not penetrate the fibers as water does. Among the advantages of dry cleaning is its ability to dissolve grease and oil in a way that water can not. Natural fibers such as wools, linens, silks, and rayon's, dry clean beautifully. But these can shrink, distort, and lose color when washed in water. Synthetic fibers, such as polyester also respond well to dry cleaning, while they can retain oily stains after washing. Dry cleaning helps to return garments to a "like new" condition, using precautions to prevent shrinkage, loss of color, and fabric distortion. The dry cleaning process begins with the pretreatment of spots and stains using special cleaning agents. The garments are then loaded into a machine resembling an oversized front loading home washer. It's mechanical action loosens embedded dirt. Throughout the cleaning process, the fluid is filtered or distilled to ensure its clarity.

Misconception #4: One method of dry cleaning is as good as another.
No. There are two primary methods: water and cleaning solvents. Dry cleaners must make a decision between these two before the cleaning process takes place. It should depend on the conditions of garments, and stains on garments. Experienced and educated cleaners will choose which one is best suited for best results.

Misconception #5: Having the right equipment is all dry cleaners need to clean your garments properly.

Not true. The cleaner may own good equipment, but the employees may not use the equipment correctly. A knowledgeable counter staff, expert stain removal, and pressing technicians are absolutely key to high quality cleaning. That's why it's important that you choose your dry cleaners carefully. Here are some examples of what I am talking about; Spot and stain removal is an art. That is why I prefer to think of myself as a fabric expert, rather than a dry cleaner. If a dry cleaner used the wrong kind of stain removal on a garment, or the wrong stain remover for that particular kind of stain, they will ruin the garment, permanently.
There are three basic types of stains, and each kind must be treated differently. Different fabrics must be treated differently or they may be ruined. To add chaos to an already tricky situation, you can't rely on the labels sewn in garments anymore. In more instances than I care to count, I have seen labels that stated that the fabric was a cotton blend, when it was actually silk, and labels that stated "hand wash only" that were simply incorrect. How does this happen? In the factories where clothes are made, workers have quotas and must work at a fast pace; or they would risk losing their job. Unfortunately, sometimes the workers simply sew in whatever garment label is handy at that time. How do I know this? It is well known and documented AND friends who work in that industry gave me that scoop. If the employee who identifying stains and fabrics is not highly experienced and trained in this area, you can end up with a garment that is permanently ruined. I regularly attend training schools sponsored by the International Fabricare Institute on spot and stain removal. We also hold frequent spot and training sessions on spot and stain removal; our employees are required to attend.
We test our distilled cleaning solution before every single load. If we did not, your clothes would not come out as bright, or fresh smelling and the odors would come back quickly. Plus, your clothes would smell of solvent. Testing and distilling the solvent every load takes time and costs money. Unfortunately, some dry cleaners do not do it every load. In fact, some may do it as little as once a week. The worst part is that solvent that is not frequently purified is very harsh and DESTROYS the fibers in your garments; Shortening their life. Given the high price of clothes today, it is critical your dry cleaner takes the steps necessary to ensure that your clothes last as long as possible.
The best dry cleaning companies are those that have been certified as "Master" dry cleaners, or have received the certified Environmental or Certified Professional Dry Cleaner designations. A dry cleaning company cannot buy this certification.
The dry cleaners must earn it through study, experience and successful completion of New York State government examinations. Cleaners that are certified have, in effect, earned in dry cleaning. Another "M.D." (Master of Dry cleaning) is just born……

Misconception #6: The company that offers the lowest price is the company you should use.
Maybe, but not necessarily. Here are several important points to consider ? When a company advertises low dry cleaning prices you must ask yourself if something is being left out, or a short-cut is being taken. Be careful when choosing your dry cleaner solely on the lowest price. The price you see advertised myay not be for the services you really want. Believe it or not, some dry cleaners do not add soap to their cleaning solutions! That leaves a harsh feel to the clothes. Why do not some dry cleaners use soap? Well that is because it is very expensive; $30.00 a gallon. Another thing is that some dry cleaners skip is "sizing" after the garments are cleaned. Without sizing, your clothes look limp, instead of having the crisp look that people expect from a quality cleaner. Everyone knows you get what you pay for. If a cleaner cuts their prices so low they seem almost too good to be true, they may be! In order to stay in business, the cleaner may be forced to cut corners, though price is a consideration, you should be more concerned with VALUE that is getting the highest quality work for your money. Look for a dry cleaner who will do what is necessary to ensure your clothes last as long as possible, and are bright, crisp and odor-free. You should also be sure they pay attention to how your clothes are pressed, so that there are no double creases or creases where they do not belong. We press all sleeves by hand, to ensure we leave no creases on them.



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