Deciding between a dry cleaning or laundry service can be confusing. There are a lot of variables to consider to ensure the longevity of your clothes. Let’s break it down. First, what’s the difference?
A dry cleaning machine is like a large, front loading washing machine but instead of using water it uses solvents. It even has short and gentle cycles, like a washing machine does. But why would you want to clean your clothes using solvents instead of just using water? The answer is quite complex which is why dry cleaners train for three years to fully understand materials and solvents and the best way to handle them. For instance;
- Some stains, like oil, blood, ink and so on are very difficult if not impossible to remove with water. The solvents that dry cleaners use are also much stronger than you can obtain domestically. We have seen clothes ruined by well meaning people and their home remedies. Don’t be one of them! The best thing is to use paper towel to gently dab off any excess liquid (don’t rub). Then get the item dry cleaned as soon as possible as stains can “set” if you leave them too long.
- Some materials like wool and silk may be washable but we always recommend to dry clean them regardless. For example, a wool jumper can stretch or shrink in the wash. It can even stretch and shrink at different rates if it is a wool blend! Silk on the other hand is notorious for dyes running. Dry cleaning solvents are far less likely to cause colour run, and even if they do run, a good dry cleaner can clean it multiple times until the “loose dye” is removed. Try that at home and your best dress is ruined.
- A suit jacket contains fusing glued between the front panels to make it stiff so it doesn’t flop at the front like a cardigan. Washing suit jackets causes bubbles to appear as the material starts to separate from the fusing which will mean a trip back to the shops for a whole new suit so don’t do it!
So now you know that some clothes should be dry cleaned only. But what should be washed?
- There are many clothes that can’t withstand drycleaning solvent. It has a tendency to weaken the threads of lycra gym wear causing a fuzzy appearance, for example, so don’t cook with oil after you’ve been to the gym!
- Nothing beats washing for freshness, so if it’s smell you want to get rid of, washing wins hands down.
- Unless you’ve got ink stains or similar your business shirts come out fresher and press up crisper with washing.
Customer Care Labels
Here in Australia the ACCC rule that all garments must come with a Care Label attached, even if they are purchase online from an international distributor. By law, the clothing manufacturers should test each garment by cleaning it a number of ways prior to releasing it to market to establish the correct instructions.
So, if you’re wondering whether to use a dry cleaning or laundry service, start by checking the Care Label. If damage such as shrinkage or colour run occurs despite following those instructions take your garment back to the place of purchase, you have a right to refund.
If either method is OK, then the best thing to remember is that the results from dry cleaning are more predictable than from washing. So, if you really love something or it cost a lot to purchase, best to play it safe and get it dry cleaned. For your everyday items though, washing is king.
Here is a handy chart to help you deciper those care label symbols, once and for all
The Perfect System
Here at Laundry Point we don’t charge your credit card until we successfully deliver, so our experienced operators will keep an eye out for you and let you know prior to processing if they spot something they think is wrong. So, if you’re tired of thinking about it, download our app. That way, you’ll never have to think about it, ever again. That’s truly the perfect system for dealing with dry cleaning or laundry.