Dropping your clothes off at the dry cleaners?

Dry cleaning?  Seems we all use them, don’t know too much about them, but there are things you may want to know…

Dry cleaners mark and sort your clothes on the basis of color and types of materials.  The dry cleaner then puts the clothes into a dry cleaning machine.  This machine operates like a washing machine except it uses special solvents instead of water to clean your clothes.  After the clothes have gone through the dryer the dry cleaner will remove any stains that are left behind on the clothes.

A good dry cleaner knows what chemicals to use to remove any stains without damaging the fabrics themselves.  Pressing is next step and this skill does vary from dry cleaner to dry cleaner.  After pressing, your clothing is bagged and ready for you to pick up. 

It is a myth that your clothes are actually cleaned separately from everyone else’s.  Just like you sort laundry at home dry cleaners do the same, but with all the clothes that are brought in for cleaning. It would be too time consuming and expensive to clean everyone’s clothes separately, yet some people still continue to believe this myth for one reason or the other.  Maybe it is the thought that their personal garments are being washed with other peoples clothes?  

Before dropping your clothes off at the dry cleaners you should:

Examine the condition of your clothes.  Loose buttons, seams falling apart, etc. will have to be repaired before the item is cleaned.  Point out any stains on the clothes and ask whether or not the dry cleaner will be able to remove the stains.  Tell the dry cleaner what caused the stain for better results.

Try not to remove stains yourself.  You may make them worse.  It is best to bring stained clothing in as soon as possible, rather than let the stain set. The older the stain the harder to remove.

Check your pockets.  The dry cleaner may not necessarily catch the pen you left in your pocket, etc.  This can ruin your clothes.

Some dry cleaners will make minor repairs for free, others charge fees. Best to ask, rather than to assume.

Get a quote, know how much the dry cleaning will cost you before you pick it up.

If you are dry cleaning an outfit you have not worn in a long time, try it on at home first.  Make sure it still fits you, some people clean clothes they have not worn in a long time and then accuse the dry cleaner of shrinking their clothes instead of recognizing that they might of gained a little weight over time.

Make sure your dry cleaner is insured in case they wreck your clothes, in event of a fire, etc.

Many types of clothes can’t be dry cleaned at all.  When in doubt it is best to ask.

Try not to request same day service if possible.  Rushed dry cleaners may do a sloppy job.

When dry cleaning a suit or two piece outfit it is best to take the entire outfit in to be cleaned at once as colors may change slightly during the cleaning process.  You don’t want to end up with a mismatched suit for the sake of saving a few dollars do you?

When picking up your clothes you should:

Make sure that all the clothes belong to you and that all garments are accounted for.

Check if the clothes have been cleaned properly and that there is no damage to your clothes, new stains, shrinkage, etc.

That you are being charged the proper amount or the amount quoted.

It may be time to find a new dry cleaner if:

Your clothes look worse after being cleaned than before you dropped them off.  New stains, lint all over your wool coat, suit, poor seam pressing, etc.

Damage, lost garments become a common occurrence.

Your clothes are never ready, even when you arrive after the day and time promised.

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. coconews
    Jul 21, 2008 @ 10:43:57

    When I first moved here, I took a blue wool coat into a dry cleaners that someone recommended. It came out full of white lint stuck all over it.

    When the dry cleaner cleaned it again, it ended up with stains.

    After it was cleaned the third time they shrunk the coat slightly.

    Nothing like trying a new dry cleaner in a new city only to have your clothes end up in worse shape than when you first brought them in.

    Although, I’m happy to report I have not had any problems with dry cleaners since for many, many years.

    What are your experiences with dry cleaners?

  2. denyse
    Sep 30, 2008 @ 08:28:30

    just collected my gorgeous off-white coat from the dry-cleaners. too off the cellophane, my gorge coat has a green tinge, it’s awful. Have just phoned the cleaners, the owner is going to ring me tomorrow. does anyone know if they can sort this colour problem out??? v. upset

  3. coconews
    Sep 30, 2008 @ 18:51:27

    Sorry to hear about your coat. A drycleaner unfortunately can ruin clothes because they fail to separate the colors and the dye runs. Sometimes the chemicals have been used beyond what they should be and that causes problems too.

    Most likely the drycleaner will try to clean your coat again and/or may use a type of bleaching agent on it too.

    Check your coat over carefully to make sure the drycleaner has not weaken the seams, fabric, zippers, etc. in the process of it all and that your coat doesn’t end up a totally different beached out shade of white than it originally was.

    A lot of drycleaners do not like to pay out claims when they ruin peoples clothes. Take photos, document conversations, dates, etc. in case you have to take the drycleaner to small claims court for ruining your coat.

    Not sure how old your coat is, but depreciation is always a factor in any kind of settlement.

    Hope this helps.

  4. Gayle
    Feb 11, 2011 @ 03:10:42

    HI,
    My dry cleaners shrunk my wool coat. How could they have done that? They said they steamed it. I think they might have washed it over over steamed it. It is not soft any more and the fabric looks flat as well as the fabric felted.

    Also they pulled the presser bar down hard on the buttons (they told me that’s what happened) and now the buttons are “flapping in the breeze” like a wobbly Aspen leaf, and there are large, deep disc shape indentations under and all around the buttons. It looks hideous.

    Should I ask them to fix it or should I ask for a reimbursement for the price of the coat which is brand new and has never been worn.

    How do you get your money back?

  5. Tim
    Feb 19, 2011 @ 06:41:25

    what should I do if a dry cleaner looses clothing items,
    My girlfriend took in a 2 dresses and a chiffon top into our local cleaners, we have collected the items today and found that the chiffon top is missing, when she spoke to the assistant he said ” that when she had left after dropping the items off he could not find the top and had she taken it home by accident” well we have checked all over an there is no sign on the top. Our ticket says 3 items 2 dresses and 1 top. Any ideas where I stand on this, as its written down on our ticket does the dry cleaner not have to replace the item lost?

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