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The Best Dry Cleaning Services2023Expertise Laurels
2023Expertise Laurels

The Best Dry Cleaning Services

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Frequently Asked Questions


    At some point, all of us need to hire dry cleaning services. Some clothes are delicate and can't be put through a washing machine. Additionally, some stains just don't come out in the washing machine, and a dry cleaner may have better luck. Dry cleaning can feel like an added expense, but it's worth it if it's going to extend the life of your clothing. We answer some of the most common questions about dry cleaning so you can understand a little more about the service you're purchasing.

    What is dry cleaning?

    Dry cleaning is the process of cleaning clothes with the use of a chemical solvent. The entire process uses little to no water, which is why it's called dry cleaning. Since the process doesn't use water, the cleaning doesn't really penetrate the clothing fibers.

    Do dry cleaners wash your clothes?

    Standard dry cleaning washes the surface of your clothing with a chemical solvent. However, unlike your at-home laundry machine, the process doesn't get into the fibers of your clothing because water isn't used. However, many dry cleaners also offer wet cleaning services for clothing items that can handle water.

    How does dry cleaning work?

    When you wash your clothes at home, water is the primary solvent that facilitates cleaning. With dry cleaning, instead of water, a petroleum-based solvent is used. The process is "dry" because it involves little to no water. After the clothes are cleaned, an extractor is used to recover the solvent, allowing it to be reused.

    Does dry cleaning remove stains?

    Yes, dry cleaning services can often eliminate stains that you can't remove at home, such as:

    • Tannin stains (coffee, alcohol, etc.)
    • Fat, oil, and grease stains (butter, skincare products, etc.)
    • Protein-based stains (blood, dairy, etc.)
    • Dye stains (grass, pens, etc.)

    How long does dry cleaning take?

    Most items take between 24-48 hours to dry clean. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to pick up your clothes that quickly. Your dry cleaner may be busy and can’t prioritize your order immediately. When you drop off your clothing, your dry cleaner will typically tell you how quickly they can clean the item.

    Does dry cleaning shrink clothes?

    Dry cleaning shouldn’t shrink your clothes. It’s typically water that shrinks some types of fabrics, so the dry cleaning process entirely avoids this problem. However, if a dry cleaning machine malfunctions or hasn’t been cleaned properly, it can shrink your clothes. This risk can be avoided by using a quality, reputable dry cleaning service.

    How much does dry cleaning cost?

    Dry cleaning prices typically range from $0.99 to $49 or more. The cost depends on various factors, including:

    • The type of fabric
    • The size of the item
    • The extent of any stains
    Additionally, prices can range between cities. There are no standard rates for dry cleaners, so pricing can differ greatly.

    Do you tip dry cleaners?

    Tipping dry cleaners isn't common practice. The person you deal with at the front counter isn’t necessarily the person who's doing the cleaning. You can tip if they do you a favor, like turning around an order very quickly. Or, if you go to the same dry cleaner regularly, you might tip during the holidays.

    Is dry cleaning safe?

    Most dry cleaners use a solvent called perchloroethylene (PERC). Having your clothes dry cleaned and occasional exposure to PERC is relatively safe because the concentration is so small. However, studies have shown there's an increased risk of cancer, and damage to the nervous system, lungs, kidney, liver, and reproductive system for employees who work with PERC.

    Does dry cleaning kill bed bugs?

    Yes, dry cleaning can kill bed bugs. Dry cleaning machines get to high temperatures, ranging from 104 to 122 degrees, which is hot enough to kill bed bugs. If you suspect you have bed bugs, make sure to call your dry cleaner before bringing your infected sheets and clothing for treatment.

    Can you get a leather jacket dry cleaned?

    Yes, most dry cleaners will take in a leather jacket for cleaning. Note that dry cleaning leather is usually more expensive than cleaning other fabrics. For example, a typical leather jacket will cost between $35-$85 to clean. The cost can go up if alterations or repairs are needed as well.

    Can I take my rug to the dry cleaners?

    It’s not recommended to take your rug to the dry cleaners. First, each rug is unique, and some are made of materials that can be destroyed in the dry cleaning process. Secondly, dry cleaning is a surface clean, so it won’t thoroughly wash your rug. Consider hiring rug cleaning services instead.

    How to freshen up a suit without dry cleaning?

    If you'd rather not take your suit to the dry cleaners, you can freshen up it up in other ways. Some popular options are:

    • Use a clothing steamer with a brush attachment
    • Use a soft-bristled clothing brush
    However, if your suit is stained, it's best to have it dry cleaned.

    How do you do dry cleaning at home?

    You can purchase an at-home dry cleaning kit. These kits usually involve two steps. First, you spot-treat any stains with the treatment provided. Next, you place your clothes and the kit’s damp towel with a cleaning solution into the dyer. The combination of the heat and the solution will clean your clothes.

    Can you get Ugg boots dry cleaned?

    Many dry cleaners offer sheepskin boot cleaning services that can work for Ugg boots. However, make sure your cleaner offers this specific type of service, as regular dry cleaning will not work on your Ugg boots. Ugg also provides step-by-step instructions on how to clean your shoes at home.

    Do dry cleaners clean shoes?

    Most dry cleaners will also dry clean shoes. This service usually includes shoe polishing too. Make sure you do some research into the fabric or material of your shoes to ensure they can be dry cleaned without causing damage. Generally, dry cleaning isn't a good cleaning method for handmade shoes.

    Who invented dry cleaning?

    Jean-Baptiste Jolly invented dry cleaning in the 1800s. The process was discovered accidentally when a kerosene lamp spilled oil onto a tablecloth. However, this left the fabric smelling like gasoline. William Joseph Stoddard developed the first non-gasoline-based solvent. Michael Faraday later discovered "PERC," which has been the principal dry cleaning solvent used since the 1930s.

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