- “How often should I dry clean my clothes?”
A. Well-groomed, neatly cleaned and pressed clothing looks great and can make a stellar impression. With proper dry cleaning, your clothes will look better longer. How often you should dry clean really depends on how often you wear the garment and how well you take care of it between trips to the cleaners.
Here are a few rules of thumb. If a garment is soiled or affected by perspiration or odor, it should be dry cleaned as soon as possible. Light color garments and frequently worn clothes are especially susceptible to dirt and require more frequent cleaning. Have all matching pieces such as suits cleaned at the same time. This prevents any inconsistencies resulting from color changes. Always clean your garments before storing away for a season.
It’s also a good idea to give your clothes a “rest.” Do not wear the same suit or sport coat two days it a row. By allowing time between wearings, fabric fibers can regain their resiliency. Use proper hangers and don’t jam your closets – provide enough room for your clothes to avoid wrinkling and benefit from the circulation of air.
- How can I prolong the life of my white garments?
A. Proper care and storage help prolong the life of white garments. Here are some pointers:
- Don’t wear a white garment more than once between cleanings or washings. Soil, body oils, perspiration, liquids and sugars can become “hidden stains” that are more difficult to remove over time.
- Store your clothing in breathable bags. Remove the garments from the dry cleaning plastic covers. These plastic bags inhibit the fabric from breathing and can promote the formation of mildew and cause fume fading that will yellow whites.
- If you own matching sets of white clothing such as suits, sweater sets or dresses with matching jackets, always have them cleaned at the same time, whether or not they appear to be soiled. Dyes and fabric finishes will change over time and with repeated wearing. To keep your matching sets looking as new as possible, clean them together.
- Follow clothing care instructions. Proper care will help the garment last longer.
- “Does frequent cleaning shorten the life of a garment?”
A. To the contrary, frequent cleaning actually prolongs the life of a garment. Not only do stains set with age, making a piece of clothing unwearable, but ground in dirt and soil act as an abrasive––just like sandpaper––causing rapid wear of fibers. Also, insects are attracted to soil and can cause further damage.
The Department of Clothing and Textiles at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro conducted research in cooperation with the School of Textiles at North Carolina State University at Raleigh. They used the Kawabata Evaluation System, which was developed in Japan. The research showed that the various dry cleaning processes have no negative effect on the properties of wool in men’s suiting fabrics.
- “ Can we recycle our hangers?”
A. Definitely. Anton’s both reuses and recycles hangers. We make it easier for customers to recycle hangers with a hanger caddy. This handy storage container lets customers stack hangers neatly, making recycling easier than ever. Just ask your customer service person for the free caddies.
By the way, over 3.5 billion hangers end up in land fills every year. Recycling is the responsible thing to do and we encourage all our customers to return their hangers to Anton’s.
- “Does dry cleaning shrink clothes?”
A. Usually not. Professional cleaners carefully control the dry cleaning process.
- “I like the idea of same day service, but does it really get the job done?”
A. Same day service is fine for most clothes without stains. As long as they are brought by the time specified by the cleaner, the clothes can be cleaned, dried and pressed and ready for pick up by the end of the day. Some clothing items do need special attention and require more time. When in doubt, point out the item and ask your drycleaner.
- “Why do some cleaners charge less for a man’s dress shirt than they do for a woman’s blouse?”
A. About 20 years ago a controversy erupted over gender-based pricing in the dry cleaning industry and the International Fabricare Institute stated that similar garments should cost the same amount to clean, regardless of who’ll be wearing them. Men’s shirts are often constructed in the same simple way – so they can be laundered and pressed on automated equipment. Women’s shirts that are similarly constructed and can be laundered should be priced the same as men’s laundered shirt. If any men’s or women’s shirt needs to be dry cleaned because of fabric, ruffles or ornamentation, it will cost more than a laundered shirt, but the dry cleaning price should be the same regardless of gender.
- “I don’t like the chemical smell that sometimes is in my clothes when I get them back from the drycleaner. What is this and is it harmful?”
A. Dry cleaning uses a chemical solvent (instead of water) that removes dirt and stains without shrinking or damaging fabrics. Some cleaners may “filter” chemicals or use the same chemicals repeatedly. At Anton’s, we recycle chemicals using a sophisticated distillation process. We are one of a few cleaners to use totally clean solvent with each load of clothes. We also randomly test cleaned garments with a halogenated detector to ensure there’s no measurable residue when you pick up your order.
- “Are all cleaners about the same? Frankly, I tend to go to a store that’s close to where I live or work.”
A. Convenience is certainly a major consideration in selecting a dry cleaner. That’s why there are so many stores in a community. Frankly, all cleaners are not the same. Some are more experienced than others. Some are very particular about having the latest cleaning equipment, while some are less committed to the best possible processing of clothing. Also, there are cleaners that are “production-driven.” Their primary interest is in getting the most garments done as fast as possible. While many cleaners operate their own cleaning plants, many others have a third party do their work. If in doubt, ask questions. You want your clothes to get the best possible care.
- “Last fall I put away a suit in a cedar chest I had worn just once after having it cleaned. Yet, when I took it out this spring to have it cleaned, it came back with holes all over it. My drycleaner told me these were moth holes. Can this be right?”
A. You’re not alone. It’s a common occurrence. Wearing a garment once is all it takes. In just one wearing, perspiration, body oils or small food stains can be left in the fabric. And that’s all it takes for moths to feast on a garment. The rule is simple: clean clothing before storing.
- “I notice that Anton’s offers storage service. If clothes are cleaned before they are stored until I need them late in the fall, won’t they need to be cleaned again?”
A. As we indicated in the previous question, the rule is to clean clothing before storing. Along with a potential moth problem, there are also stain issues. For example, if you’ve put away a light colored sweater for months without having it cleaned, you may have been surprised to see a spot appear. It was invisible when you put it in the drawer or storage box. But months later, there it was.
We clean all clothing that is stored at Anton’s. The garments are hung on hangers and placed in our dust-free, temperature-controlled vaults. Although the ideal environmental conditions in our vaults make re-cleaning unnecessary, we press them so they are fresh and perfect when you call to let us know you are ready to pick them up.
- “Why do white ‘dry clean-only’ become dingy looking after dry cleaning?”
A. Although this is a common problem, it is not necessary. Dirty solvent generally causes it. You want to be sure you go to a drycleaner who uses fresh, clear solvent at all times. There is no excuse for less than bright whites.
- “What is wet cleaning?”
A. Dry cleaners have a number of processes for cleaning clothes including dry cleaning, laundering and wet cleaning. Dry cleaning uses solvent to remove soils and stains from the fabric in specially designed machines. Dry cleaning gets its name because the solvent contains little or no water and does not penetrate the fibers as does water.
Professional cleaners use laundering for shirts and other “washable” items. Special detergents, additives, and finishes, not available for the home, are used. Anton’s, for example, is one of a very few area drycleaners licensed for Sanitone products that are formulated to give laundered clothing a “bright” look.
As far as wet cleaning is concerned, the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists defines professional wet cleaning as “a process for cleaning sensitive textiles (e.g., wool, silk, rayon, linen) in water by professionals using special technology, detergents, and additives to minimize the potential for adverse affects. It is followed by appropriate drying and restorative finishing procedures.” Professional wet cleaning should not be confused with laundering, although it is. In general, one of the downsides to wet cleaning is that it can cause significant changes in texture and garment size, including shrinkage and stretching, meaning many garments require longer finishing time.
The wide array of textiles available today requires both training and experience to clean them properly.
- “What can I do to help prevent moth damage to my clothing?”
A. The best way to prevent moth damage is to have clothes cleaned before storing them away. This will remove the stains that may attract moths, as well as kill any remaining larvae. Also, cedar chips or mothballs can be placed in the storage to help repel moths.
- “Why are my clothes not as clean as they should be after washing?”
A. Since most of us have so little time, we try to get everything done as quickly as possible––including the laundry. Although today’s detergents are highly efficient, certain stains require pre-treatment or soaking in cold water before washing. All this takes extra time.
You can try adding a limited amount of extra detergent, reducing the size of the load and using a longer wash cycle. You may also want to use a chlorine or “all fabric” bleach. If you do, be sure to test the fabric for colorfastness first.