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13 Things Your Dry Cleaner Won’t Tell You

Learn the secrets of the dry-cleaning trade to save money and get better service next time you drop off your clothing.

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1. It’s Not Actually Dry

The term dry cleaning is a little misleading. Actually it’s a fluid solvent that is used to remove oils and grease combined with a minute amount of water.

(Photo: Creatas/Thinkstock)

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2.”Damage” is such an ugly word

You blame us, but it’s often the fault of the fabric, manufacturer, customers not following the recommended care instructions, or spills and stains that have set.

(Photo: Photos.com)

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3. We’ve Got our Own Definition of “Replace”

Most of us follow the fair claims guide that outlines the terms of “reasonable compensation” based on the age and condition of the article. For example: 50 per cent of the actual replacement cost for a dress shirt that’s two years old. Check the policy that your dry cleaner has before placing your item.

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4. We’re Not an Emporium

Because they don’t need them for work, people often forget to pick up their blankets and quilts. That’s why this place sometimes looks like a secondhand clothing store.

(Photo: Hemera/Thinkstock)

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5. It’s Not your Gender-It’s your Clothes

Once and for all, women’s clothes-silk, special trims or trousers without a crease-take more work. It’s why we usually charge more.

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6. Yes, We use Perchloroethylene

“Perc” is under review as a possible carcinogen, but still considered the best option. If you can smell it on your clothes when you pick them up, they weren’t cleaned correctly and should be returned and reprocessed at no charge. A common reaction to exposure is sinus problems and headaches.

(Photo: Polka Dot/Thinkstock)

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7. Green Cleaning can be More Green than Clean

Clothing doctor Steve Boorstein warns that “Green Earth, a silicone-based cleaner, is safer and friendlier, but it doesn’t remove the multitude of perc.” Ask your dry cleaner about the safe disposal of perc and whether they offer more enviro-friendly solutions such as wet cleaning or silicone-based cleaning. Find a green cleaner near you at Green Earth Cleaning.

(Photo: Creatas/Thinkstock)

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8. Sorry, but…


Your lost clothes are probably in someone else’s wardrobe. Can we suggest a credit instead of outright reimbursement? We’d really prefer not to write you a cheque.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

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9. We Reuse Hangers

Many of us will reuse your intact hangers and clean shirt cardboards. (Thanks.) Go green with your hangers using Eco Hangers made from 100 per cent recycled plastic and cardboard. Ask your dry cleaner about them.

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10. Don’t be Afraid to Ask

The more we charge, the more “freebies” we’ll throw in. If you’re paying premium rates, we’ll sew that loose button on for you.

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11. We’re Not Making a Fortune

The machinery is expensive. The people who press your silk shirt make about $11 an hour. It’s a skill.

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12. Seinfeld Had it Right

Remember that episode where Jerry catches his dry cleaner out in public with one of the coats he dropped off? We’ve all heard stories about dry cleaners who borrow a customer’s dress for a weekend. I’m sure they return it clean.

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13. Quality Knows Quality

The best clothing shop in town can probably recommend the best dry cleaner in town.

(Photo: Comstock/Thinkstock)