Dry Cleaning is by definition, cleaning with solvents and using little or no water. The combination of solvents and heat is hard on fabrics and may cause as much wear as actually wearing the garment. Perchlorethylene, the cleaning fluid used by most dry cleaners, is the most effective cleaner for most fabric types. However, "perc", as it is called, is toxic and classified as a hazardous air pollutant by the Clean Air Act. Dry cleaning customers should take their garments out of the plastic bags and air their garments after dry cleaning.
Dry cleaning solvent must be distilled to remove greases, oils, waxes and dyes. Poor solvent purity or quality can result in an objectionable odor in the garment and a "graying" of white clothing.
Pressing after cleaning is very common. Most anyone can press wool pants but it takes a skilled professional presser to do a quality job on linen and silk items. Linen can withstand higher heat when ironed, and should be pressed when damp. Silk requires a lower temperature iron and should be steam ironed, preferably with a press cloth. Wool should be pressed with steam and a moderate temperature. Packaging of the cleaned garment is also important. A garment can be cleaned and pressed well but if it is jammed into a small bag, it can become a wrinkled mess. Jamming too many finished and bagged garments onto storage racks will usually wrinkle finished garments.
Finally, develop a dialogue with your dry cleaner. Note the type of stains that you have on your garment and tell the Dry Cleaner when you bring in your clothes. Their pre-spotting helps eliminate stains that could otherwise be heat set after the garment is cleaned. Be an informed and fair consumer. Not all spots can be removed especially they have been pressed into the fabric. Intelligent care of your garments will extend their life considerably.
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