Many people don’t understand what it is that dry cleaners even do.
For example, did you know that dry cleaning was once a two- or three-year apprenticeship? So few people are getting into the industry today that they can no longer provide the TAFE level course that a true apprenticeship requires. With the best dry cleaners in the industry retiring and no longer getting replaced it really is an aging artform. That is why it is getting harder and harder to find a truly skilled Dry Cleaner.
But why would anyone need to study dry cleaning in the first place? Surely it’s just cleaning clothes, right? There is a whole lot more to it than that.
This article gives you six things to look for in order to find the best dry cleaners in Melbourne.
1 – Affiliated Members of the Dry Cleaning Institute of Australia
The Dry Cleaning Institute of Australia (DIA) is the governing body for this industry here in Australia. Affiliation entitles any customer that uses a DIA member to free garment appraisal should anything go wrong. This is particularly useful if the dry cleaner denies responsibility. The DIA can’t force a dry cleaner to pay out compensation. However, the Small Claims Court would almost certainly agree with the DIA’s findings on the matter. That is why only the best dry cleaners in Melbourne put their hand up to offer their appraisal service free of charge. All of Laundry Point’s dry-cleaning partners are DIA affiliated.
2 – Free Pickup & Delivery
Let’s get real. It’s 2022. Dry cleaning work is very labour intensive so it is understandable that the local store barely stays open past office hours. That’s not ideal for time poor professionals though. This is where Laundry Point comes in. It helps bring the best dry cleaners in Melbourne into the modern age. It even provides them with apps to help them stay organised. So, it’s fair to say that our Dry Cleaner business partners love Laundry Point as much as our customers do.
3 – Pre-Examination of Garments
All garments should be checked for damage or stains prior to cleaning. They also need to be checked for items such as pens left in pockets. These can bleed onto garments if they get put through a dry-cleaning machine.
The fashion industry is always changing. So, the best dry cleaners always check the Care Label attached to every garment as well, no matter how experienced they are. These labels act as a warranty. If garments are processed contrary to those instructions and the garment gets damaged you are no longer covered. Worse, the dry cleaner is now liable but who needs the headache when all you wanted was a clean garment? The good news is that Laundry Point’s dry cleaners are contractually obligated to stay within the Care Label instructions.
4 – Pre Treatment
Now that garments have been checked and significant staining found those stains need to be pre-treated. Failure to pre-treat will result in less stains being removed but some still skip this step. This usually occurs when the dry cleaner is a paid member of staff rather than an owner operator. Staff tend to cut corners as they are not beholden to repeat business, they get paid regardless.
5 – Processing
A dry-cleaning machine is a lot like a washing machine. It even has different cycles such as “delicate” like a washing machine. And, without getting too technical, whites are also treated differently to darks.
In addition, these days there a couple of alternatives that your dry cleaner might use for the actual dry-cleaning process. These are usually traditional Perc drycleaning or so-called organic dry cleaning. It is true that Perc is not as good for the environment. It is also true that it is far superior in removing stains and is safer for many fabrics. The safe use and disposal of this solvent is highly regulated. So, you don’t need to be any more alarmed than you might be when using bleach to clean your bathroom. Sometimes necessary & certainly not the end of the world.
Organic dry cleaning on the other hand is actually not dry cleaning at all. In fact, the DIA insists its members refer to it only as wet cleaning as garments using this technique are essentially washed. It smells a lot better than dry cleaning and is more environmentally friendly so certainly has its uses. We have both kinds of dry cleaners at Laundry Point and can bring them to bear as required.
6 – The Most Important Part – Quality Control
After pressing, the best dry cleaners will have one more step in the process, the all-important Dispatcher role. The Dispatcher may touch up the pressing as required and remove any lint or pilling from the garments. Stubborn stains that still need work are also returned to the dry cleaner for spot cleaning by hand. This is where the Dry Cleaner’s experience really counts.
Dry cleaning apprentices used to study the nature of fabric and stains in order to know what solvent is best used to remove the latter. For example, dairy stains are protein based so require an alkaline based spotting agent to remove them. Red wine stains include tannins, so an acid-based spotting agent is required there. These solvents are commercial grade strength and need to be handled correctly. This is why you won’t find them in the supermarket. Some stains may be impossible for even the very best dry cleaners to remove. Nonetheless, you may be surprised when a stain described as immovable by one dry cleaner is suddenly removed by another, more experienced operator.
7 – Next Level Know How
Lastly, don’t be alarmed if a good dry cleaner asks to go outside the Care Label instructions. If a stain hasn’t come out, then the best ones may have the know how to break the rules and add years to the life of your garment. They should always, always ask your permission first though as there is always some risk involved when breaking rules. Only you will know if a risk is worth taking.
Perhaps now you see that there is a lot more to dry cleaning than meets the eye. Laundry Point was started by a second-generation dry cleaner and his wife and yes, he did the apprenticeship. That’s why they know so much about the dry-cleaning process and how to choose the best dry cleaners. Best of all they’ve gone out and done all the hard work for you to bring them to your door.