It can be costly, yes, but if you dry clean your special items – think wedding dresses, silk shirts and even chunky knits – they will look and feel better for longer. I chatted to Tina from Exclusive Dry Cleaners in Johannesburg and she gave me some insight into how dry cleaning a c t u a l l y works.
Exclusive Dry Cleaners have been around for yonks (33 years to be exact) and they specialise in delicate eveningwear plus they’re just generally nice people, too.
What is the difference between dry cleaning and regular washing of clothes and what makes it so beneficial for delicate items?
Dry Cleaning is a cleaning process for clothing using a chemical solvent rather than water. Dry cleaning is used to remove pollutants from materials. Looking after your delicate or special garments is top priority and the first place to look is on the garment’s care label. Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that that correct care label is on the garment. Garments are generally dry cleanable for the following reasons to ensure colour is maintained, maintaining texture and avoiding shrinkage of the garment.
If the correct dry cleaning process is followed, garments should have a great deal of longevity.
Q: How soon after something is soiled (like a wedding dress) should one get it cleaned?
A: Time plays a major factor when removing stains off any garment. The earlier you bring a garment to the dry cleaners the easier it is to remove.
Q: What’s the best way to clean pure silk?
A: Nowadays, we always tell our customers check the label, some of the newer silks are washable (Hand wash is of course the safest, with a very light detergent) but from our experience, silks fairs much better in the dry cleaning process. The colours remain steadfast and most importantly the texture of the silk is maintained.
Q: I have read that some people ‘vacuum seal’ their wedding dress – do you recommend this?
A: Absolutely not, if you are going to store or keep your dress, it must be allowed to breathe. Over time if the material is unable to breathe or has any moisture trapped, it will yellow and the dress will be ruined. Take a 100% cotton sheet and wrap it around the dress and leave it in there. We don’t recommend boxing it either. Again it must be allowed to breathe.
Q: Why do suit buttons get covered with foil when cleaned?
A: Buttons are usually made from a hard plastic, we cover the buttons to try and protect them from breaking.
Q: Of course there are chemicals involved with dry cleaning – how do they work to clean clothing without leaving residue behind?
A: Our process is slightly different. We offer a hand cleaning service. What we mean by this is that most stain removal is done before the garments go through the machine.
Once this stain removal process has taken place, we place the clothes into the dry cleaning machines. When we take clothes out of the machine they are 100% dry leaving no residue.
Q. What other tips and advice do you have e.g. storing items in cotton suit bags or using cedar blocks?
A: Any garment should be allowed to breathe. That is the most important aspect. No clothes should be kept in plastic in your cupboard. Keep an eye out for fish moths and other nasties in your cupboards, especially where your wedding gown is. We do suggest cedar blocks for fish moths, but keep in mind that cedar wood is only a preventative, and you have to make sure that the fish moths are not in your cupboard already. Make sure that there is no damp in your cupboard either. If there is damp or moisture, over time your clothes could land up with mildew on them. Mildew has a very specific smell and can really ruin a garment.
Q: Do you think dry cleaning prolongs the quality of your clothes and do you think people should see it as an investment as opposed to an expense?
A: Absolutely, if the dry cleaning process is done correctly, garments can be maintained for several years.
If you’re looking for top notch service and friendly advice, Exclusives is the place to go