Tips and Garment Care
Caring for your garments
Frequent cleaning does not damage your garments. In actual fact, it extends the life of a garment by removing odors, stains and ground-in dirt which act as an abrasive on the fibres in your garments. By dry-cleaning them regularly you are prolonging the life of your garment. Stains from food, drinks, and other oily substances left untreated, could oxidize and cause yellowing. Once they become yellow or brown, these stains become much more difficult to remove if not impossible. Ensuring that your garment is cleaned at the end of the season before storing, will help prevent discolouration, oxidation and body odors setting in the fibres.
It’s always a good idea to check the care label of a garment prior to purchasing as many instructions are contradictory or misleading.
For example: Do not wash; Do not dry clean; Spot clean only; Clean separately; Remove accessories
Example of care label with inaccurate/inappropriate instructions:
‘Dry flat’ – in the dry cleaning process, this does not apply
‘Do not spot clean’ – not all stains can be removed without being spot cleaned. Stubborn stains need to be treated to be removed.
‘Clean separately’ – this process is a costly exercise due to the delicate nature of the fabric. Cleaning with other like garments can damage the garment (according to the label)
‘Please note, zip finish will not withstand cleaning. Zip intended for one wear only. During cleaning, paint may chip and peel off teeth and puller. This is not seen as a fault. Drycleaner, please make your client aware that this may happen in cleaning before processing.’- the warning for the zip should be passed on to the customer at the retail level prior to purchasing.
‘Ensure your couture garment is cleaned by a professional drycleaner’ – all drycleaners are professional and experienced, some more than others. Choosing a drycleaner with years of experience in delicate garments is a safer option.
In this example, we followed the care label (cleaned in (F)) but did not achieve the desired result. Based on our experience we explained to our customer that we believed that the care label was incorrect and we recommended to clean in an alternative solvent (P) which offers better cleaning properties, and spot clean the stains, which we were able to achieve an excellent result without harming the fabric, beads or zip. And fortunately, our recommended method could only be followed through with the customer’s consent as the recommended method did not achieve a desirable result.
Beads and Sequins
Some trims, like beads or sequins, are made from plastics that dissolve in the traditional dry cleaning process. We have an alternative cleaning solution in place of the solvent commonly employed by the industry. This solution is less aggressive on textiles and trims. For your garment to be processed safely, this is the method we would use.
Proper care of the wedding gown is often forgotten after the wedding. For best results, the gown should be processed as soon as possible. Stains will set with time, and hanging in a wardrobe can eventually cause oxidation.
Home Spotting & Colour Loss
We regularly receive garments with colour damage from our customers that have attempted to remove a stain by rubbing. We would not recommend home spotting, as damage to the fabric may occur, especially on fabrics such as cotton, linen and silk. Once the colour is gone, it can be difficult to correct. In some cases, colour loss is not as evident until after the cleaning process as the rubbing loosens the colour pigmentation in the fabric. If the spill needs to be treated on the spot, be careful. Sometimes emergency touch-ups will set a spot, making it impossible to remove
Some garments become discoloured under the arm area. Once the colour is gone, normally nothing can return it to its original appearance. Perspiration and/or deodorants usually cause underarm discolouration. Underarm shields can help provide protection, and it also may help to apply deodorant several minutes before dressing.
Fabrics that contain elastic type products have a shorter lifespan. From time to time, poorly manufactured fabrics will not withstand the cleaning process and can cause the elastic to protrude out of the fabric within the first few cleans giving it a furry appearance. In many instances, this elastic breakdown can occur prior to cleaning, just from wearing the garment.
All elastic “relaxes” during the dry cleaning and washing process, but good quality elastic will last through many cleans. If the elastic on any garment lasts for a very short time it would be considered a fabric fault not the designers fault and it should be returned to the point of sale.
We would not recommend home spotting for ink stains as some products can set the stain, making it more difficult for us to remove the ink. Our success rate will vary depending on the type of ink and the amount of ink absorbed into the fabric.
Clean clothes are the first step to preventing moth and other insect damage. Insects can damage clothes either directly or indirectly. Direct damage is caused by a group of insects feeding directly on a fabric. Indirect damage is caused when insects feed on spilled food or perspiration on the fabric. Moths attack the garment directly, especially wool and wool blends. Often the damage is not apparent until the garment is washed or cleaned.
Be extra careful when something spills on your outfit and dries invisibly. Sometimes later that night or the next day you might think, “oh, good, it didn’t stain.” Remember where the stain was on your garment and tell your professional drycleaner. In most cases, we can spot the area and still get the residue out before it becomes more of a problem. Quite often invisible stains will re-appear after the dry cleaning process. Once visible we can attempt to remove the stain. By not having your garment dry cleaned, the invisible stain may also re-appear in time as colour loss/discolouration or yellow/brown stain which would be difficult to remove.
Don’t store your garments for long periods of time in the plastic or poly bags you get from the cleaners. This covering is to keep the garments clean while at the shop and for the ride home, but the plastic does not “breathe.” Moisture can build up in the bag and damage fabric. For long-term storage, it’s better to place your clothes in paper bags or folded in boxes. When storing out-of-season items, make sure they are freshly washed or dry cleaned. Stains will set with age, and any food particles will attract insects — the insect damage will show up at the first washing or cleaning. Also, it’s a good idea to store all garments out of light (natural or artificial), which can fade colours. One last tip: anything knit should be folded, not hung, as knit garments may stretch out
It is important always to process both pieces of a light-coloured outfit together. Slight colour changes can occur for several reasons, including a change in optical brighteners. If the garments are dark, the same changes may not be noticeable. The exception is suede or leather, in which case any matching items should be processed at the same time.
The sun can be damaging to the dyes on many items in a short period of time. Even hanging in a car window for as little as one day can make a difference on some garments. Remember to store all garments out of natural or artificial light
Customers sometimes ask us if treating tablecloth stains at home makes it easier for us. Normally, the best thing to do is to let the professionals do their job. Even wax is no problem for the professional cleaner. Bringing the item in as soon as possible does help, as time will set stains. Washing household items at home can have disappointing results. The commercial cleaning and finishing equipment is designed to give you a professional result.
Wax in itself is not a problem for your professional drycleaner. The cleaning solvent we use will dissolve wax. If the wax was coloured, the dye might be a problem.