Normal washing uses water as the main ingredient in cleaning solutions, while dry cleaning uses liquids other than water. This method is called dry cleaning because when the method first began, turpentine and kerosene were used and not “wet” water. The different cleaning solutions changed over the years to become both safer and more effective. Now, perchloroethylene or hydrocarbon solvents are most commonly used. These different solvents are able to dissolve oils and fats, which water solutions do not. And, unlike water solutions, these speciality solvents do not cause the material fibres to swell, which is the main cause of shrinking. All dry cleaning solutions we use are environmentally friendly and hypoallergenic. Once everything has been cleaned and dried, items are steamed, pressed and hand ironed, depending on the item in order to achieve an as-new look.
How often should I dry clean?
The most common rule to follow is to dry clean the item as often as you would if it was made of cotton. Even if you wear an item only for a few hours, there could be enough sweat or cosmetic residue that, if left, could cause stains to set in.
What are the benefits of dry cleaning?
Many fibres absorb water while being washed, and this can cause them to shrink or lose their shape. Using solvents other than water means that your clothing keeps its shape and does not swell or distort the fibres. It is also a much gentler cleaning process than traditional cleaning methods.
Water will lift dirt off a garment, but the dirt remains in the water and so can be redeposited onto the garment. However, dry cleaning solutions completely dissolve dirt, which is more effective in permanently removing spots and stains.
Dry cleaning means less of a chance of dyes running or wrinkles appearing and helps items last for much longer than they normally would when using traditional cleaning methods.
What are the types of shrinkage?
There are three main types to worry about: progressive, relaxation and felting.
Progressive is when there is a small amount of shrinking at every wash that goes unnoticed until the clothing finally reaches a point where it doesn’t fit or no longer.
Relaxation shrinking is when an item of clothing loses the tension given during its manufacture and the fabric returns to its normal relaxed dimensions.
Felting shrinking happens to animal hair fibres, such as wool, cashmere, etc. During the washing process, the surface of the fibres become tangled together, which makes the fabric thick and compact. Unfortunately, this type of shrinking is permanent.
We have the necessary equipment to clean any garment you bring to us
What do the care labels mean?
Care labels are the tags attached to your clothing and other fabric items that tells you how best to clean those items in order to avoid damage, shrinkage, wrinkling or running colours. There are washing instructions for owners as well as dry cleaning professionals on the best method and solvents to use to best clean and preserve the items.
How can I avoid colour loss?
Different materials respond in different ways to certain elements, so it is important to know what kind of material you are dealing with. Especially since colour loss sometimes isn’t detectable until after the item is washed.
Here are some of the things you need to watch out for:
Silks and acetates are affected by product with alcoholic content, such as beverages, perfume and hairspray. Many items, such as hair care products, lotions and cleaning products and disinfectants contain bleach.
Long exposure to sunlight, artificial light or friction will also cause colour loss.
Misnomers and misconceptions
Milk has been said to be a good spot remover for ink and other stains, but while we can remove ink stains quite easily, milk is an albuminous substance and once set, is impossible to remove.
Soda water has the same properties as water. The bubbles do not actually help in stain removal.
Alcohol is a good stain removal agent, but if not used correctly, can cause discolouration in your fabrics.
Lemon juice can be effective in removing rust stains, but after time the juice will oxidise and leave its own stain that cannot be removed.
Ice can be used to remove gum, as it hardens the gum and makes it easier to pick off. However, gum dissolves easily in the dry cleaning solution and is safer for delicate fabrics than picking at the fibres.
Soap & Water
Soap and water can be used for some stains, but for dry-based stains such as glue, paint, oil, nail polish, etc., soap and water are ineffective and can actually damage the fabric and set the stain, making it impossible to remove.
Using a hot iron to remove wax will actually melt and damage most synthetic materials and can fuse the wax onto the material. However, wax dissolves easily in dry cleaning solutions.
Hairspray does effectively remove some stains, but it does contain alcohol, which may damage fabrics and cause discolouration.
Nail polish remover helps to remove cosmetic stains, but it contains acetone, which can dissolve certain fabrics.
Colour Safe Bleach
Some people use “colour safe bleach” to remove stains. But there is no such thing as a colour safe bleach. Any bleach can remove colour on fabrics.