-The term dry cleaning is the cleaning process that refers to cleaning clothes and fabrics by using a chemical solvent that contains no water. While cleaning the surface of fabrics, dry cleaning does not penetrate the fibers like water does in a washing machine.
-Water can damage certain fabrics — such as wool leather and silk — and a washing machine can wreak havoc on buttons, lace, sequins, and other delicate decorations.
-Generally, there are three different (and very technical) ways clothing can shrink: felting, relaxation, and consolidation. It may take a bit of time and training to learn which type of shrinkage is impacting your favorite pieces
-The first type of shrinkage, felting, occurs with clothing constructed of animal hair fibers, like wool or mohair. These materials have microscopic scales along their surface that, when exposed to moisture and excessive heat, can compress and mesh together. This compression is the cause of the all-too-familiar shrunken sweater syndrome, which can happen easily if the sweater is not handled correctly. This type of shrinkage is sometimes also referred to as progressive shrinkage because it will continue to happen a little more each time the animal hair fiber is washed.
-Relaxation shrinkage happens when an absorbent fabric (like cotton, silk, or linen), or a fabric modified to be absorbent (like a synthetic performance fiber), is exposed to liquids or excessive moisture. When these absorbent fibers are exposed to water, they will soak it all up and swell, causing the overall size of the garment to shrink. Generally, relaxation shrinkage impacts less than one percent of the overall garment size and won’t really influence a piece’s fit.
-Another common shrinkage issue is consolidation shrinkage, which occurs when moisture, heat, and mechanical action (like agitation during washing and drying cycles) are combined. The combination of these factors causes the fabric’s fibers to release any pulling or tension put in place during the construction of the clothing item, which in turn relaxes the fibers, allowing them to return to their natural state (which is almost always smaller). Relaxation shrinkage typically occurs most dramatically during an item’s first wash cycle and it can drastically reduce the size of a piece.
-When clothes shrink and stretch, many of the reasons as to why happen long before you get the piece home. However, there are ways you can help control shrinkage. One of the biggest: Follow the care labels on clothes. Sure, it’s annoying to have to fish beneath your top to find out how to wash it, but those instructions are there for a reason. They’re purposely designed with the garment’s fibers in mind, so if the label tells you to skip hot water or only air dry, you should listen.
-It’s also a good idea to read any labels before you buy a piece, too. If you’re shopping for an item made from natural fabrics like cotton, wool, or linen, pay special attention to any labels that mark the piece as “pre-shrunk.” This means the fabric is shrunk before the garment is sewn together, so you can bet on less shrinkage during its time in your closet.
-If you’re unsure about how a fabric will react to its first wash, it’s a good idea to opt for a cold rinse. While cold water won’t prevent all shrinkage, it is definitely less damaging to fabric than hot water and can help ease your garment into washing. The same thing goes for drying your clothes, as well: Air drying a garment is often your best option, but if you can’t do that, use the lowest heat setting on your drier.
-Lastly, consider your washing and drying machines themselves. Any machine that is without a center agitator (the column that creates a “donut” shape in your washer) will be more gentle on clothes. If your machine does have a center agitator, reduce its impact on your garments by opting for a gentle or hand-wash cycle.
-Commercial laundry is very different from doing laundry at home. Your laundry is washed with soap and starch of your preference and then placed wet on our state-of-the-art equipment to give them the absolute best press. 100% cotton is the safest material to process in the commercial laundry. Anything else we recommend for dry cleaning.
-You’re probably right. However, there are many types of stains that are not visible prior to cleaning that can be activated during the dry clean process and can leave your garment with an easily noticeable stain. These are called “invisible stains.” Invisible stains are the most frequent problem we face at the dry cleaners. These stains are caused by a reaction between the heat of our drying/pressing process and a sugar-based or oil-based stain. Sugar based stains can caramelize from the heat (causing a difficult to remove brown stain) of the process and oil-based stains can oxidize; if either happens a “new” stain that wasn’t visible prior to cleaning appears. Remember to always let a Rick’s team member know if you spilled anything on your clothing so we may give it proper attention prior to cleaning.
Common sugar-based stains: Coffee, sodas, tea, beer, milk, fruits, etc. Common oil-based stains: Hair Spray, cosmetics, lotions, etc.
Once stains either caramelize or oxidize, it is extremely difficult and sometimes impossible to reverse the effect. However, if you spot this on one of your items, we will try our best to remove it on a redo attempt.
–There are often times we come across marks on garments that look similar to burns but are not actually burns. In the commercial laundry, a liquid called “sour” is deposited into the machine during the washing cycle. If the sour is not fully rinsed out during extraction, it can leave a brown ring that looks similar to a burn. Re-cleaning this item will remove the stain.
With dry cleaning, nothing in our cleaning facility is capable of burning or scorching a garment because only steam press units and steam irons are used. Our steam hand irons are completely different than an “at-home” iron and have a protective coating that enables them to glide smoothly over even the most delicate of fabrics. In fact, our steam presses even have padded covers that make them safe enough for the bare hand.