Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dry Clean or not????

In a recent question to our web site www.thelaundrydoctor.com a client asked why dry cleaning was so expensive and was there and alternative, and what exactly is Dry Cleaning?

I don’t think it’s a good idea to launder your “dry clean only” items yourself. Here’s a great opportunity to talk about dry cleaning: What it is, what it does, and when you should use it. First, “dry” cleaning is sort of a misnomer. Dry cleaning employs a machine that looks like a very large commercial front-loading washer. Garments are placed inside with a dry cleaning solvent. The solvent acts to clean the garment, then the machine actually recovers the solvent and distills it for subsequent uses. So a little bit of solvent goes a long way.

Many of today’s synthetic fabrics are derived from petroleum-based products. They respond better to this solvent-based cleaning method, because detergent and water break down the oils that give the fabrics a nice feel and movement. The same thing goes for woolens, which get their rich texture and soft touch from the lanolin in sheep’s wool. These items will actually retain their original quality much longer if you opt for solvent-based cleaning.

I like to think of “dry” cleaning in terms of “professional cleaning”, because your laundry specialist will know how best to clean your finest garments thoroughly and without damage. In fact, if you took one of the items you mentioned to a professional cleaner, he or she might know of and opt for an even more effective and safe cleaning method. Solvent-based cleaning is just one of the many tools at the disposal of the laundry professional.

In the interest of preserving your finer garments for extended wear, I recommend using the services of a professional cleaner. In the end, you are protecting your investment in your clothes and saving yourself time. In a recent study: The average American values their own time at $1.25 per minute. For Baby Boomers, that value jumps to $2.00 per minute. (Study by Yankelovich, Inc.) It could take an untrianed person up to a half hour to clean and press a garmet and it would more than likey not look as good as a professional cleaners work.

Be sure to visit http://www.thelaundrydoctor.com/ for more tips!

Laundry Doctor

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Laundry Questions

Question: Dear Laundry Doctor: My husband purchases 100% cotton polo shirts and as he is a 3X, he consistently ends up with splatters and food stains down his front. Truly, it's impossible for me to treat these within 24 hours and his brand new shirts came out of the washer / dryer with spots. This is an ongoing problem and repeat washings only dull his bright shirts and they need replacing too often. I use Spray N Wash, leave it sit for about 20 minutes but to no avail. Can you advise on best soak/ pre-treatment for bright colored cotton pullovers? You'll be my friend forever. Signed, fatigued from trying. Susan


You really have two separate issues. The first being the stains the second fading of the garments. I say that they are separate because the fading is an issue that is going to happen regardless. Today's fabric manufacturer's are creating coloring that fades quicker and hence get consumers to replace them more often.

As for the food stains and any stained garments the gentelest way to treat them is soaking. I recommend get a bucket and us it every time you do a load. Lets say you are doing a load of light colored garments and they have some stains, take a scoop of detergent I prefer "Biz" or "Oxiclean" or "Wisk" (liquid) put it in the bucket and add warm water 90 to 110 degrees, let it mix with the water add the garments and let it soak for an hour or up to over night. When you are ready to wash the garments dump the bucket in the washer with the water (no need to waste the water) and add any additional garments using the detergent you already putin. One cause of fading is over use of detergents.

Good luck, let me know how it works.

Jeff Gardner
The Laundry Doctor
662 Selby Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55104