RAVE FabriCARE's True Quality Cleaning Blog

Straight talk about caring for your fine garments, household textiles and accessories
from experts who call things like it is. In plain English.

A tale of 2 dry cleaners: Which one would you choose?

By: Stu Bloom

Share this blog post:
RAVE FabriCARE in Scottsdale, Arizona explains the chasm between a true quality dry cleaner and an ordinary dry cleaner

There's a chasm between an ordinary dry cleaner and an extraordinary dry cleaner - a chasm the size of the Grand Canyon.

Imagine that there are only two dry cleaners in a particular city.

Further, imagine that they’re situated next door to one another.

One has a sign which that says True Quality Cleaners; the other sign says Ordinary Cleaners.

Let’s say that you mostly shop at high-end boutiques and department stores, wear bespoke or made-to-measure suits and shirts, have a relatively significant investment in your fine garments and have the financial resources to pay for the very best in on-going maintenance of that wardrobe.

Which of these two cleaners would you choose?

Before you’d answer that question, you’d probably tell us that you have no basis for making an informed decision. That you’d need more information about the technical skills of each dry cleaner — the pre-cleaning preparation, pre-spotting, cleaning, finishing (aka pressing), inspection and packaging processes each dry cleaner uses — and the prices they charge for those technical skills.

And you’d tell us all that because you understand that true quality cleaners sell technically skilled garment care, while ordinary cleaners sell bang and hang cleaning and pressing.

You’d probably also tell us that, after gathering the necessary information, you’d visit each dry cleaner in person to assess the veracity of that information.

Then — and only then — would you make a final decision.  

The purpose of this post is to help you make an informed decision by highlighting the differences between extraordinary (true quality) dry cleaners and ordinary (middle market) dry cleaners and the operating philosophies underlying those differences. 

So, let’s begin by adding some details:

1. Services offered

 

True Quality Cleaners: Offers a wide array of services related to caring for your garments, household textiles (such as fine bed and table linens, comforters, bedskirts, cushion covers, drapes and the like) and accessories (such as handbags, purses, wallets, backpacks, shoes and boots).

Ordinary Cleaners: Not a chance.

Ordinary cleaners offer a limited menu of services, primarily dry cleaning and shirt laundry.

There’s a reason why the owners of ordinary cleaners can’t offer services that extend beyond the most basic of services: In many cases, the technical aspects of even the most basic of services is a mystery to the owners of ordinary cleaners.

Consider this quote from an article in the March 2017 issue of American Drycleaner, the dry cleaning industry’s trade magazine:

 

Many owners lack the foundation of technical knowledge to assess the quality of cleaning and supplemental stain removal in their operation.

The owner must take the word of an employee that the stain cannot be removed, forcing the owner to continue to order “Sorry” tags.

Someone in the plant must have realistic expectations of cleaning quality and how to achieve a quality end result.

It is not within an employee’s job description to determine performance standards related to their job. A lack of knowledge has the potential to allow an employee to hold the owner or manager hostage.

 

2. Performance by in-house specialists

 

True Quality Cleaners: Performs all their work in-house (with the possible exception of fine reweaving) using craftspeople who specialize in specific garments, household textiles and accessories.

Ordinary Cleaners: Highly unlikely.

Ordinary cleaners offer basic dry cleaning and laundry services in-house. And when they do offer additional services that are not basic, those additional services are typically subcontracted to unknown, undisclosed third parties.

 

3. Removal of dust and lint

 

True Quality Cleaners: Removes all dust and lint from pockets and cuffs — prior to delivering them to the dry cleaning department.

Ordinary Cleaners: Probably never.

Besides, they’ll tell you, their customers bring their garments in for “cleaning and pressing”, not dust and lint removal from places that can’t be seen.

4. Preparation prior to cleaning

 

True Quality Cleaners: Conducts extensive garment inspection and preparation procedures — focusing on fabric issues, pressing issues, stain and color variation issues, and hardware and trim issues — prior to delivering them to the dry cleaning department.

Ordinary Cleaners: No way.

They just tag ’em or bar code ’em. Then move them to production.

Learn more about garment preparation…

5. Removal of hardware and buttons

 

True Quality Cleaners: Removes all hardware (metal, plastic and leather logos, zipper pulls, ornamental rings, belt buckles, etc.) and buttons that could possibly chip, crack or scratch during the cleaning process — prior to delivering them to the dry cleaning department — and replaces the hardware and buttons after cleaning.

Ordinary Cleaners: Are you kidding?

The vast majority of ordinary cleaners don’t even have a skilled, full time tailor or alterationist on premises. They regard full time tailors and alterationists as a waste of money.

So who reattaches or resews the hardware and buttons?  Some customer service representative with some free time on their hands?

While many ordinary cleaners claim to offer “repair and alteration services”, you’ll probably discover that their tailor or alterationist doesn’t actually work on premises and that the work is subcontracted to some unknown third party.

You can easily check the truth by calling up the cleaner, telling them that you need a new suit altered and informing them that you’ll be over in 5 minutes. Bet they come up with some excuse as to why the tailor or alterationist is unavailable.

Notwithstanding the fact that they don’t have a full time tailor or alterationist on premises, they’ll always tell you that they “cover” your hardware and buttons.

But do they?

For proof of the falsity of that claim, just examine some garments in your wardrobe (cleaned by ordinary cleaners) that have shell, mother of pearl or metal buttons. Notice any chips, cracks or scratches?

Those chips, cracks or scratches come to you with the compliments of your ordinary dry cleaner.

Is that why many ordinary cleaners have a sign that says “We Are Not Responsible” followed by a laundry list of items? Is that why many ordinary cleaners have that same information printed on the reverse side of their receipts?

Learn more about garment preparation…

Learn more about corozo nut buttons…

Learn more about  cleaners who abdicate their responsibilities…

6. Protection of hardware and buttons

 

True Quality Cleaners: Protects all hardware and buttons that could possibly chip, crack or scratch during the cleaning process but cannot be removed because of the manner in which the hardware and buttons are sewn or attached — prior to delivering them to the dry cleaning department.

Ordinary Cleaners: Not a chance in hell.

If ordinary cleaners don’t protect all hardware and buttons that could possibly chip, crack or scratch during the cleaning process that can be removed, why would you expect that they’d protect all chip, crack or scratch prone hardware and buttons that cannot be removed?

Again, just examine some garments in your wardrobe (cleaned by ordinary cleaners) that have shell, mother of pearl or metal buttons. Notice any chips, cracks or scratches? Those chips, cracks or scratches come to you with the compliments of your ordinary dry cleaner.

No wonder many ordinary cleaners have a sign that says “We Are Not Responsible” followed by a laundry list of items? No wonder many ordinary cleaners have that same information printed on the reverse side of their receipts?

Learn more about garment preparation…

Learn more about  cleaners who abdicate their responsibilities…

7. Absence of metal staples or safety pins

 

True Quality Cleaners: Uses no metal staples or safety pins to attach unique identification tags to your garments. 

Ordinary Cleaners: Sure do.

Ordinary cleaners use metal staples and safety pins, unless they’re gluing or heat sealing bar codes onto your garments. 

Learn more about garment preparation…

8. Absence of glue or heat seal bar codes

 

True Quality Cleaners: Does not glue or heat seal bar codes onto your garments.

Ordinary Cleaners: Absolutely, positively yes.

Most ordinary dry cleaners favor bar coding your garments. They treat your fine garments as if they were USPS, FedEx or UPS uniform rental garments. Ouch.

By contrast, a true quality cleaner would never heat seal or glue bar coded labels anywhere on your fine garments. 

Why?

  • Because they’re your garments. They don’t belong to true quality cleaners. You entrusted your fine garments to a true quality cleaner for restoration to as close to like new condition as possible. Not to have bar coded labels glued onto them without your express permission.
  • Because bar coded labels are typically used by high volume/low price, highly automated cleaners where the operational focus is on getting your garments into a machine, onto a press and into a bag. ASAP. At lowest possible cost. They’re in by 9:00 and out by 5:00; or picked up on day 1 and delivered on day 3.
  • Because a true quality cleaner moves and assembles your fine garments around their facility by hand. Not by automated machine. If you wanted to ride a roller coaster, you’d head off to a theme park, not the dry cleaner.

Learn more about garment preparation…

Learn more about bar codes…

9. Disassembly and reassembly of garments (where necessary)

 

 True Quality Cleaners: Disassembles garments before cleaning — where necessary — and then reassembles after cleaning (e.g., a black and white dress with a white bodice that turned grayish as a result of improper prior cleanings by ordinary dry cleaners).

Ordinary Cleaners: Sure they do. And pigs fly and donkeys wear derby hats.

Here’s the problem: The overwhelming majority of ordinary cleaners don’t even have a skilled, full time tailor or alterationist on premises. They regard full time tailors and alterationists as a waste of money.

So your garments that require disassembly are typically rejected. And if they are accepted, they’re never restored. They’re returned in the same (or maybe in even worse) condition than the day you dropped them off. 

10. Use of wet cleaning, hand washing and/or other restoration techniques and regimens

 

True Quality Cleaners: Employs an array of wet cleaning, hand washing and/or other restoration techniques and regimens to complement the dry cleaning process — techniques and regimens that are tailored to each specific garment. 

Ordinary Cleaners: Fat chance.

Ordinary cleaners just toss your garments into a dry cleaning machine or washer and hope for the best. And if the stains don’t come out, they attach one of those “sorry we tried but we couldn’t” tags.

But did they really “try”?

Do they even have the technical skills and processes necessary to remove stains (such as water-based stains on “dry clean only” garments) that don’t involve just tossing your garments into a dry machine?

Learn more about multi-process cleaning…

11. Use of odor remediation technologies and processes

 

True Quality Cleaners: Employs an array of odor remediation technologies and processes to complement the dry cleaning process — techniques and regimens that are tailored to each specific garment.

Ordinary Cleaners: Not on your Nelly.

Odor remediation techniques? What’s that all about? By the way, how do you spell r-e-m-e-d-i-t-i-o-n ?

Try True Quality Cleaners next door. They probably know what you’re talking about.

Learn more about “dry cleaning solvent” smell…

Learn more about perspiration odor…

12. Pre-spotting of all garments

 

True Quality Cleaners: Pre-spots all garments (to the extent practicable) prior to any cleaning in a dry cleaning machine, wet cleaning machine, or soaking in various water-based solutions (pre-spotting is targeted stain removal by a skilled technician prior to cleaning the garment in a dry cleaning machine).

Ordinary Cleaners: Uh-uh.

The overwhelming majority of dry cleaners don’t even employ skilled stain removal technicians. They’re perfectly satisfied with a low-paid machine operator whose primary job is to load the machine, press the start button and then unload the machine when they hear the buzzer indicating “done”.

This is the equivalent to going to a restaurant and being served a Hungry Man frozen dinner right out of the microwave!

Learn more about no spotting, pre-spotting and post-spotting…

Learn more about professional stain removal…

Learn more about the myth of spot cleaning…

Learn more about the do’s and don’ts of self administered stain removal…

13. Strict classification of all garments

 

True Quality Cleaners: Classifies their dry cleaning loads into at least 6 color, weight and fragility classifications.

Ordinary Cleaners: Yeah, right.

Ordinary cleaners offer same and next day in-store service and 3 day pickup and delivery service. So they need to get the work in and out of their dry cleaning machines. ASAP. The pressure to get your “stuff” in and out is constant and hectic. So they just load the machine and press the start button. Then they rationalize that decision by arguing that their customers won’t pay for strict classifications.

Learn more about operational excellence…

14. Special care for delicate, fragile, specialty and couture garments and ties

 

True Quality Cleaners: Dry cleans delicate, fragile, specialty and couture garments and ties separately from all other garments — often with no tumbling (aka mechanical action) after being placed inside a dry cleaning machine.

Ordinary Cleaners: Are you kidding? 

Ordinary cleaners offer same and next day in-store service and 3 day pickup and delivery service. So they need to get the work in and out of their dry cleaning machines. ASAP.

The pressure to get your “stuff” in and out is constant and hectic. So they just load the machine and press the start button. Then they rationalize that decision by arguing that their customers won’t pay for strict classifications

Learn more about operational excellence…

15. Special care for trims and embellishments

 

True Quality Cleaners: Cleans trims and embellishments — sequins, beads and rhinestones, plastic and vinyl, paint and glitter, suede leather and fur, feathers, and the like — expertly and safely.

Ordinary Cleaners: Not on your life.

Ordinary cleaners will tell you that they don’t handle garments like that. That they don’t have the skills. That you should bring them “stuff” that’s easy and quick to “clean and press”. Particularly, “stuff” that can be easily replaced should something unforeseen happen to them in the “cleaning and/or pressing”. Then they’ll probably refer you to True Quality Cleaners next door.

Learn more about operational excellence…

16. Use of a dermatologically-friendly, odorless, fabric-gentle dry cleaning fluid

 

True Quality Cleaners: Dry cleans their garments in a non-regulated, dermatologically-friendly, odorless, fabric gentle, chemically inert/non-dye stripping dry cleaning fluid.

Ordinary Cleaners:  Forget about it.

Ordinary cleaners believe that the more aggressive the dry cleaning solvent, the easier it is to remove the stains. In other words, let the dry cleaning machine do all the work using the combination of an aggressive solvent and the tumbling (mechanical action) in the wheel of the dry cleaning machine (an idea that’s analogous to the way your home washer works).

By relying on the machine to do all the work, they don’t have to employ skilled stain removal technicians. And that’s a huge savings in costs. 

Their attitude boils down to this:  Yes, we shortened the life of the garment and possibly even ruined the look, feel and drape of the garment. But, at least, we got the stain out! Now, stop complaining.

There are some ordinary cleaners who also use a non-regulated, dermatologically-friendly, odorless, fabric gentle, chemically inert/non-dye stripping dry cleaning fluid. Unlike ordinary cleaners, true quality cleaners know that this particular dry cleaning fluid is extremely gentle relative to the more aggressive dry cleaning solvents. 

What does mean for ordinary dry cleaners who use this particular dry cleaning fluid?

  • It means that you cannot just toss garments into the dry cleaning machine with the expectation that a combination of the dry cleaning fluid and the tumbling (mechanical action) in the wheel of the dry cleaning machine will result in “clean” garments.
  • It means that the dry cleaner must employ skilled stain removal technicians who know how to remove stains from fabrics prior to loading garments into a dry cleaning machine.

Truth is, ordinary cleaners who use this particular dry cleaning fluid are unlikely to return your garments free of both oil- and water-based stains.

Learn more about dry cleaning solvents and fluids…

Learn more about our proprietary dry cleaning fluid…

Learn more about so-called “organic” dry cleaning…

Learn more about green cleaning…

17. Absence of highly-regulated, toxic, relatively aggressive dry cleaning solvents

 

True Quality Cleaners: Does not dry clean their garments in highly-regulated, toxic, relatively aggressive dry cleaning solvents such as chlorine-based solvents (such as perchlorethylene aka Dowper), hydrocarbon-based solvents (such as synthetic petroleum aka DF 2000 or EcoSolv), or formaldehyde-based solvents (such as formaldehyde dibutyl acetal aka K4 or SOLVON K4).

Ordinary Cleaners: Unlikely.

Ordinary cleaners believe that the more aggressive the dry cleaning solvent, the easier it is to remove the stains. In other words, let the dry cleaning machine do all the work using the combination of an aggressive solvent and the tumbling (mechanical action) in the wheel of the dry cleaning machine (an idea that’s analogous to the way your home washer works).

By relying on the machine to do all the work, they don’t have to employ skilled stain removal technicians. And that’s a huge savings in costs. 

Their attitude boils down to this:  Yes, we shortened the life of the garment and possibly even ruined the look, feel and drape of the garment. But, at least, we got the stain out!

Now, stop complaining.

Learn more about dry cleaning solvents and fluids…

Learn more about our proprietary dry cleaning fluid…

Learn more more about toxic dry cleaning solvents…

Learn more about so-called “organic” dry cleaning…

18. Cleaning in dry cleaning fluid that’s crystal clear

 

True Quality Cleaners: Dry cleans there garments in a dry cleaning fluid that’s as crystal clear as bottled mountain spring water — a clarity that’s achieved through both continuous purification before, during and after every load and continuous filtration during the “wash” cycle.

Ordinary Cleaners: What have you been smoking?

Ordinary cleaners will argue that they’re under pressure to get your “stuff” in and out of their dry cleaning machines. So they don’t have the time nor are the willing to spend the money to concern themselves with quaint, old fashioned notions such as continuous purification of their solvents before, during and after every load and continuous filtration of their solvents during the “wash” cycle.

What they’re telling you, in effect, is that if your whites and creams turn gray and dingy, it’s your fault for choosing a cheap cleaner!  And if your dark colors loose their intensity and luster, it’s your fault for purchasing cheap clothing!

Learn more about dry cleaning fluid purity…

Learn more about “dry cleaning solvent” smell…

Learn more about perspiration odor…

Learn more about whites, creams and pastels that turn gray and dingy… 

19. Use top-of-the-line dry cleaning detergents and additives

 

True Quality Cleaners: Licensed to use top-of-the-line dry cleaning detergents and additives manufactured by Sanitone.

Ordinary Cleaners: Not likely.

Ordinary cleaners typically use the cheapest possible detergents. And when times get tough, they even eliminate the cheapest detergents.

And why do they use the cheapest detergents? They rationalize that their customers won’t pay for high quality detergents. And even if they used high quality detergents, their customers wouldn’t appreciate that fact and wouldn’t know the difference anyhow.

Why use the best branded home washer detergent according to testing laboratories such as Consumer Reports when you can use Wal Mart’s generic brand that gives you twice as much “powder” at a third of the price?

Learn more about the importance of detergents and additives…

20. Absence of any moisture 

 

True Quality Cleaners: Does not inject moisture into their dry cleaning machine’s “wash” cycle.

Ordinary Cleaners: Sure we do.

Ordinary cleaners (possibly) know that dry cleaning solvents alone cannot remove water-based stains (such as perspiration, juice, coffee, wine and beer). They also know that they don’t have the technical skills nor the time to remove those water-based stains by hand before loading your garments into their dry cleaning machines.

So how do ordinary dry cleaners deal with water-based stains?

They tell themselves a story…

We know that the addition of moisture will do nothing to remove those water-based stains. On the other hand, we have to do something. So why not inject water into our dry cleaning machines? Maybe — just maybe — those water-based stains will disappear.

And if all that moisture bleeds any of the dyes on a customer’s “dry clean only” garments, we’ll tell the customer that it’s a manufacturer’s defect. And if all that moisture shrinks any wools, we’ll tell the customer that they’ve probably gained weight.

To make this concept more easily understood, consider this example…

Say you were wearing a “dry clean only” silk blouse while eating pizza (oil-based stain) and drinking a beer (water-based stain). Let’s say you dripped pizza grease on the left side of your blouse and beer on the right side of the blouse. So you blot up the oil and the beer as best you can (please tell us that you ignored the advise from others around you and that you didn’t reach for the club soda!). Then you drop the blouse off at the dry cleaner for cleaning.

The dry cleaner tosses the blouse into the dry cleaning machine and recites the dry cleaner’s prayer: Please make the stains disappear. Will dry cleaning emulsify the pizza oil? Probably yes. Will dry cleaning remove the beer stain? Not a chance.

Learn more about the negatives of added moisture…

Learn more about the do’s and don’ts of self administered stain removal…

21. Absence of sizing

 

True Quality Cleaners: Does not inject sizing into their dry cleaning machine’s “wash” cycle.

Ordinary Cleaners: Sure we do. 

Sizing is to dry cleaning what starch is to shirt laundry. Ordinary cleaners love sizing. So they inject sizing into their dry cleaning solvent. 

The reason dry cleaners love sizing is simple: the more sizing they add, the stiffer the fabrics become and the less time it takes to bang those garments out on a press. If they can save a minute or two per garment, that’s a great saving in cost over an extended period of time. The fact that your garments are returned to you stiff and scratchy is, quite frankly, of no concern to them.  

Learn more about the negatives of added sizing…

22. Absence of fragrance, perfume or other masking agents

 

True Quality Cleaners: Does not inject fragrance, perfume or other (temporary) masking agents into their dry cleaning machine’s “wash” cycle.

Ordinary Cleaners: Sure we do.

Ordinary cleaners (possibly) know that dry cleaning solvents alone cannot remove water-based stains such as perspiration. They also know that they don’t continuously purify their dry cleaning solvents before, during and after every load.

So, how are they going to cover up the fact that they don’t remove the perspiration from your garments because dry cleaning doesn’t remove water-based stains? In addition, how are they going to disguise the stink embedded in your garments because they don’t continuously purify their dry cleaning solvents before, during and after every load.

The answer is simple: Inject fragrance, perfume or other (temporary) masking agents into their dry cleaning machine’s “wash” cycle.

Isn’t it comforting to know that you’re wearing dirty, dingy but sweet smelling garments?

That’s equivalent to tumbling a dirty garment in a home dryer with a scented sheet and then calling the garment clean. 

Cringe at your leisure.

Learn more about the negatives of fragrances and perfumes…

Learn more about the worthlessness of home “dry cleaning” products…

23. Adherence to quality dry cleaning machine operating principles

 

True Quality Cleaners: Operates their dry cleaning machines with lighter loads, longer cleaning cycles and lower drying temperatures.

Ordinary Cleaners:  Not! 

Ordinary cleaners offer same and next day in-store service and 3 day pickup and delivery service. So they need to get the work in and out of their dry cleaning machines. ASAP. And the only way to do that is to load their dry cleaning machines to full capacity, shorten the dry cleaning wash cycle and jack up the dry temperature.

Even if that means abrading or shrinking your garments.

This is analogous to what you might do at home if you were in a real hurry and conveniently forgot every basic principle of home laundry you ever learned from Martha Stewart.

Learn more about operational excellence…

24. Measurement of knit and spandex/lycra garments prior to and after cleaning

 

True Quality Cleaners: Measures all knit garments and all garments containing spandex/lycra prior to cleaning to ensure that original dimensions are maintained (a process known as “blocking”).

Ordinary Cleaners: What have you been smoking?

Pre-measure all knits and garments containing spandex/lycra? That’s just plain stupid. Nobody does that anymore! Just toss them in the damn dry cleaning machine, already! 

If a customer asks for an adjustment in the size of a knit garment (say, to block the left sleeve longer by 1 inch and the right sleeve shorter by 1/2 inch), just tell her that’s impossible and to try True Quality Cleaners next door.

If a customer complains that his sweaters feels tight, they just tell him that he probably gained weight.

And, if a customer complains that her sweaters are stretched out, they just tell her that the manufacturer of that brand of sweater is well known for poor quality knits.

Learn more about blocking…

25. Maximum stain removal

 

True Quality Cleaners: Produces garments that are free of water-based and oil-based stains to the greatest extent possible consistent with not damaging the garments.

Ordinary Cleaners: No way.

Here’s an often misunderstood concept: Dry cleaning solvents can only emulsify oil-based stains (such as body oils, creams, lotions and food fats). Dry cleaning solvents can do absolutely nothing for water-based stains (such as perspiration, juice, coffee, wine and beer).

To more fully understand this concept, please refer back to the pizza/beer example in #20 above.

The problem faced by ordinary cleaners is that they don’t have the skills nor the time to remove those water-based stains — by hand — prior to loading your garments into our dry cleaning machine. So they have to rely on the combination of a relatively aggressive dry cleaning solvent and the tumbling (aka mechanical action) of the dry cleaning machine to “get clothes clean”.

When you then point out that your garments still have have water-based stains, they’ll probably tell you that it’s not their fault:

  • You brought your garments in for dry cleaning. And that’s exactly what they did. They dry cleaned them. The fact that they don’t charge enough to be able to afford to employ skilled stain removal technicians to remove those water-based stains prior to tossing them into a dry cleaning machine, isn’t their fault.  
  • You brought your garments in for dry cleaning. And that’s exactly what they did. They dry cleaned them. The fact that dry cleaning solvent manufacturers haven’t yet developed a solvent that can remove both water-based and oil-based stains simultaneously, isn’t their fault. 

Learn more about professional stain removal…

Learn more about no spotting, pre-spotting and post-spotting…

Learn more about the myth of spot cleaning…

Learn more about the do’s and don’ts of self administered stain removal…

26. Produces garments with the brightest whites, creams and pastels

 

True Quality Cleaners: Produces garments with the brightest whites, creams and pastels.

Ordinary Cleaners: Yeah, right.

Ordinary cleaners will tell you that there are no guarantees in this world. That they do the best they can (relative to the price that you pay for their services) to keep their dry cleaning solvent “clean and pure”.

However, if your whites, creams and pastels turn gray and dingy as a result of being cleaned in not-so-crystal-clear (read: dirty) dry cleaning solvent, you’re just out of luck.  

Here’s the problem for ordinary cleaners: Purifying their solvents before, during and after each load and filtering their solvents during each “wash” cycle just gets in the way of their most important task — getting your garments into and out of a dry cleaning machine (or washer) and onto a press as quickly as possible.

They’ll argue that it’s not their fault that they’re forced to clean in “dirty” dry cleaning solvent. That, in fact, it’s actually your fault they can’t “do the job right” because you demand quick turnaround and low prices!

Learn more about dry cleaning fluid purity…

Learn more about “dry cleaning solvent” smell…

Learn more about perspiration odor…

Learn more about whites, creams and pastels that turn gray and dingy… 

27. Rich and lustrous colors

 

True Quality Cleaners: Produces garments with colors that are rich and lustrous, without that “washed out,” faded look.

Ordinary Cleaners: Forget about it!

Ordinary cleaners don’t have the time to continuously purify their solvents before, during and after each load (you demand quick turnaround).

They can’t afford to employ skilled stain removal technicians and can’t afford to use fabric-gentle dry cleaning fluids (you demand competitive prices).

So they’re forced to rely on a combination of relatively aggressive dry cleaning solvents and the tumbling (aka mechanical action) of the dry cleaning machine to knock the stains out.

If all this causes your dark colors loose their intensity and luster, it’s your fault. After all, they argue, they wouldn’t have to take such drastic actions if you didn’t demand quick turnaround and competitive prices!

Learn more about dry cleaning fluid purity…

Learn more about why your dark colors look “washed out”

28. Renewed, revitalized fabric textures

 

True Quality Cleaners: Produces garments with renewed, revitalized fabric textures.

Ordinary Cleaners: Fat chance.

Renewed, revitalized fabric textures? Ordinary cleaners will argue that they’re cleaners, not restorers. That renewed, revitalized fabric textures is the domain of True Quality Cleaners next door.

This is the story they tell themselves: Our prices aren’t high enough for us to worry about actually restoring garments to as close to like-new condition as possible. Our customers should be thankful that they don’t have to wash and press their garments themselves. Look at all the time we save them!

Learn more about dry cleaning fluid purity…

Learn more about why your dark colors look “washed out”

29. Softest, silkiest fabric feel even on heavy/thick linens and cottons 

 

True Quality Cleaners: Produces garments that have the softest, silkiest fabric feel, even on heavy/thick linen and cotton garments.

Ordinary Cleaners: Pleezze!

This is the story ordinary cleaners tell themselves: No one care’s about the softness and/or smoothness.

  • First, our prices aren’t high enough. If we raised out prices, our revenues would decline dramatically as customers delay their cleaning or downgrade to an even cheaper dry cleaner.
  • Second, we don’t use fabric-gentle dry cleaning fluids. If we used more expensive, fabric-gentle dry cleaning fluids instead of cheaper, aggressive solvents, we’d have to employ skilled stain removal technicians to remove most of the stains before they ever enter our dry cleaning machines. Our costs would go up dramatically, we’d never get the garments out quickly enough and we’d loose customers.
  • Third, we employ pressers whose job it is to bang garments out on a pressing machine as quickly as possible. If we employed skilled garment finishers to hand press garments, our costs would go up dramatically, we’d never get the garments out quickly enough and we’d loose customers.

In other words, ordinary cleaners don’t worry about ridiculous concepts such as cottons and linens that are both soft as butter and smooth as a baby’s butt.

Their attitude can be summed up thus: We live in the real world. Dry cleaning today is a cut throat, penny pinching business characterized by discounts, coupons, specials, reward programs and the like. Customers who complain should step into our shoes for just one day.  

Learn more about why your wools, silks, cottons and linens feel stiff and crunchy…

30. Absolutely no “dry cleaning solvent” smell

 

True Quality Cleaners: Produces garments with absolutely no “dry cleaning solvent” smell.

Ordinary Cleaners: Impossible!

The attitude of ordinary cleaners can be summed up thus: Our customers need to stop complaining that their garments stink of dry cleaning solvent. Just tell them to take them home and hang them outdoors for a few days. The smell will gradually disappear. Tell them that we discovered that hack on the internet. Some Helpful Heloise swears that it works.

Learn more about dry cleaning fluid purity…

Learn more about “dry cleaning solvent” smell…

31. Absolutely no “dirty dry cleaning solvent” smell

 

True Quality Cleaners: Produces garments with absolutely no “dirty dry cleaning solvent” smell.

Ordinary Cleaners: Impossible!

Ordinary cleaners will probably tell you that you’re only smelling the emulsified body oils, creams, lotions and food fats that are sucked up by your garments from their non-purified dry cleaning solvents.

They’ll also tell you that you’re kinda lucky: garments constructed of synthetic fibers (such as polyesters, acetates, rayons, etc.) won’t smell as bad as garments constructed of natural fibers (silks, cottons, linens, wools, etc.). In other words, your synthetic fiber garments will smell less than your natural fiber garments.

This is the story ordinary cleaners tell themselves: Continuously purifying our dry cleaning solvents before, during and after each load is a time consuming and expensive proposition. If we could only raise our prices, (maybe) we’d purify our dry cleaning solvents on a more regular basis. In the meantime, we’ll just ignore the problem and hope that it miraculously disappears.

Learn more about dry cleaning fluid purity…

Learn more about “dry cleaning solvent” smell…

32. Absolutely no “perspiration” smell

 

True Quality Cleaners: Produces garments with absolutely no “perspiration” smell.

Ordinary Cleaners: Impossible!

Ordinary cleaners (possibly) understand that dry cleaning alone doesn’t remove water-based stains, including perspiration. The problem for their customers is that their prices are so low that they can’t afford to employ skilled stain removal technicians to remove — by hand — the odor-causing acids and salts in perspiration prior to dry cleaning.

Ordinary cleaners understand that your garments will stink of perspiration after dry cleaning. 

They’re hoping that the absence of that whitish perspiration residue on the outside of your garments will lead you to believe that the odor-causing acids and salts in perspiration embedded in the fibers of your garments have also been removed.

(BTW, those odor-causing acids and salts are still embedded in the fibers of your garments after dry cleaning. If they’re not removed by a skilled stain removal technician prior to dry cleaning, those acids and salts will discolor and possibly deteriorate the fibers of your garments, particularly in the underarm areas).

Learn more about dry cleaning fluid purity…

Learn more about perspiration odor…

33. Trims and  embellishments that aren’t melted, de-lustered or otherwise damaged

 

True Quality Cleaners: Produces garments with trims and other embellishments that aren’t melted, de-lustered or otherwise damaged.

Ordinary Cleaners: Sorry, can’t do.

Ordinary cleaners typically don’t handle garments with trims and other embellishments. They just don’t have the skills to handle anything other than the most basic of garments. They’ll probably refer you to True Quality Cleaners next door.

If you insist that they try and they melt, de-luster or otherwise damage your trim, they’ll probably blame you for forcing them to accept the garment.

Learn more about garment preparation…

Learn more about our proprietary dry cleaning fluid…

34. Garments that are hand ironed, not machine pressed

 

True Quality Cleaners: Hand irons — not machine presses — all their garments. Meticulously. Top to bottom. Inside and out.

Ordinary Cleaners: Not on your Nelly.

Machine pressing typically involves way too much steam, at way too high a pressure, for way too long. Machine pressing your garments transforms the fibers of your garments from 3D to 2D. Even though most ordinary cleaners will deny it  — and may not even recognize it — it’s not uncommon to see a brand new wool suit destroyed on it’s very first “pressing”.

We’re so confident in our opinion on this topic that we’ll go out on a limb: Every ordinary cleaner in the USA routinely machine presses your garments.

Why are we so confident in our opinion? Because most ordinary cleaners offer same and next day service. And those who offer pick up and delivery service, typically pick up and deliver in 3 days. They’re under constant pressure to get everything out ASAP. 

And, even if you asked them to take the time to “do the job right”, they’ll probably have your garments ready to be picked up or delivered on their normal turnaround schedule.  

Unfortunately for ordinary cleaners, hand pressing takes time. Lots of time. Why take 15 minutes to hand iron a garment when you can machine press that same garment in 3 minutes?

Ordinary cleaners recognize that hand pressing your garments is a technically skilled and time consuming process that cannot be sustained by their relatively low prices.

They also recognize that raising their prices to compensate for the higher costs associated with hand pressing and extending the turnaround time to accommodate the time needed for hand pressing, will result in them loosing a substantial chunk of their business because very few of their customers, if any, will pay for hand pressing and/or a delay in the return of their garments.

If you’re looking for technically-skilled hand pressing, try True Quality Cleaners next door.

Learn more about meticulous garment finishing…

Learn more about the negatives of poor pressing…

Learn more about the negatives of “steaming”…

35. Garments with no shine or seam impressions

 

True Quality Cleaners: Produces garments with no shine or seam impressions (to the extent permitted by pre-existing conditions, i.e., the damage resulting from previous machine pressing by ordinary cleaners).

Ordinary Cleaners: Yeah, right.

Although ordinary cleaners have the option to hand press your garments, they say they have no choice, that they have to machine press your garments. That’s because they offer same and next day service and 3 day pick up and delivery service, competitive prices, and a slogan: “It’s right, it’s ready or it’s free”.

Given their promises to customers, they’re under pressure to get everything out ASAP. Hand pressing would take way too much time and cost them way to much money. 

Learn more about why your garments develop “shine”…

36. Perfectly-rounded, non-rippled, non-bubbling, “factory formed” collars

 

True Quality Cleaners: Produces suit jackets, sport coats and blazers with perfectly-rounded, non-rippled, non-bubbling, “factory formed” collars.

Ordinary Cleaners: Are you kidding?

Ordinary cleaners don’t have the time to waste on trivialities such as returning your suit jackets, sport coats and blazers with perfectly-rounded, non-rippled, non-bubbling, “factory formed” collars.

It’s almost as if they’re providing you with unsolicited advice: if you want a perfectly-rounded, non-rippled, non-bubbling, “factory formed” collar — just like you see on all the collars of all the jackets, sport coats and blazers in a fine store — go buy a new one.

37. Perfectly-rounded, non-rippled, non-bubbling, “factory formed” lapels

 

True Quality Cleaners: Produces suit jackets, sport coats and blazers with perfectly-rounded, non-rippled, non-bubbling, “factory formed” lapels, whether the lapel is 3 button, 2 button, 3 button rolling to 2 or 3 button rolling to 2 1/2.

Ordinary Cleaners: What are you talking about?

Ordinary cleaners think that there’s nothing better than a sharp crease in your lapels for that professional, just-off-the-pressing-machine look.

Besides, what’s a 3 button that rolls to 2 (“3 roll 2”) or 3 button that rolls to 2 1/2 (“3 roll 2 1/2”) anyhow? 

38. Provides proof of blocking of knit and spandex/lycra garments

 

True Quality Cleaners: Blocks all knits and garments containing spandex/lycra to pre-cleaning measurements to ensure that the original measurements have been maintained and provides you with proof of the before and after measurements.

Ordinary Cleaners: No way.

There are over 26,000 dry cleaners in the USA.

What percentage of those dry cleaners actually block all knits and garments containing spandex/lycra to pre-cleaning measurements prior to cleaning?

We’d bet fewer than 1/10 of 1 percent!

And, of those dry cleaners who do claim to block all your knits and garments containing spandex/lycra after cleaning, what percentage actually provide you with proof of the before and after measurements.

We’d bet less than 10. That’s less than 10 out of approx. 26,000 dry cleaners in the USA.

And how many of those who actually provide written proof are based in Arizona?

We’d bet only 1.

Here’s the problem: Despite these minuscule percentages, ordinary cleaners will probably still tell you that all cleaners block all your knits and garments containing spandex/lycra.

Why?

They’ll tell you it’s because they follow all “standard industry practices” and blocking is one of those “standard industry practices”.

Truth is, blocking is so rare that it’s not on the list of “standard industry practices” as identified by the 2 major national trade associations. And, even if it were on the list, the overwhelming majority of dry cleaners don’t follow the overwhelming majority of those “standard industry practices”.

Here’s the next problem: What if you asked for proof that they actually executed the blocking and don’t just say that they did? We’ll, they’d probably get offended and ask why you don’t trust their assurances?

Let’s put a different spin on this issue: The real question to be asked by educated consumers of dry cleaning services is not whether or not dry cleaners actually block your knits and garments containing spandex/lycra.

The question that should be asked is whether or not dry cleaners have even heard of the term blocking.

And, if they have heard the term, do they have any clue what blocking actually means?

Learn more about blocking…

39. De-pills sweaters and knits

 

True Quality Cleaners: De-pills all sweaters and knits.

Ordinary Cleaners: Nope.

Ordinary cleaners will argue as follows: Sorry, we don’t have time for that. If your sweaters and knits are returned with pilling, they probably came in pilled.

We couldn’t have caused the pilling because we always classify our loads by color, weight and fragility. Always. And we never overload our dry cleaning machines. Never.

For added emphasis, they might even tell you that they clean their mothers’ sweaters using the same process used to clean your sweaters. And she’s never complained.

40. Asks for and adheres to your personal preferences

 

True Quality Cleaners: Customizes the finishing (aka “pressing”) of your garments to your personal preferences.

Ordinary Cleaners: Yeah, sure. And pigs fly and donkeys wear derby hats.

Ordinary dry cleaners position on this subject runs something like this…

Stop pestering us with questions about our pressing. Stop telling us that we use way to much steam, for way to long, at way too high a pressure.

Stop telling us exactly how you want your garments returned to you.

You want your linens returned soft but smooth? You want all your slacks with no creases clipped lengthwise on a clip hanger that doesn’t leave impressions on your waist band? You want your blazer hung on a hanger with contoured neck and wide supports in the shoulder area?

Sorry, but that takes way too much time and effort. Just gets in the way of our in-and-out approach to production.

They might even tell you that if you can do better, you can repress the garments yourself at home after you pick them up. Then you can transfer your garments onto your own hanger.

Learn more about catering to personal preferences…

41. Conducts detailed inspections by trained inspectors

 

True Quality Cleaners: Conducts detailed inspections of your garments — inside and out — top to bottom — by trained inspectors whose only function is to inspect garments.

Ordinary Cleaners: No way.

Ordinary cleaners offer same and next day service, 3 day pick up and delivery service and “competitive prices”. Their customers want their garments “cleaned and pressed” — quickly and cheaply —  and they do whatever is necessary (read: take unnecessary risks, shortcuts and compromises) to deliver on that promise.

There can be no debate as to why they don’t have the time to conduct even a cursory look over of your garments.

On the rare occasion that a customer insists that they carefully inspect their garments, they’ll typically assign that task to some customer service representative with some free time to kill. 

Even cleaners who claim to produce “high quality work” typically assign the inspection function to front counter customer service representatives. It’s quite common to see help wanted ads from these cleaners for an individual to perform “customer service (receipt and return of garments, answering the telephone, etc.), invoicing (pricing and tagging or bar coding of garments), quality control (inspection) and packaging”.

With so many functions to perform, it’s clear which of these four functions receives the least attention: “quality control”. 

Learn more about detailed inspections…

42. Completes all repairs to garments

 

True Quality Cleaners: Completes all repairs to their garments — involving zippers, hems, seams, snaps, hooks, eyes, buttons, and the like  — utilizing skilled, full time, on-site tailors and alterationists.

Ordinary Cleaners: Not.

Ordinary cleaners will tell you that they’re dry cleaners, not tailors. That they’ve never employed a tailor or alterationist in the past and that they’ve no plans to employ a tailor or alterationist in the future.

The problem is that skilled, full time, on site tailors and alterationists are expensive. Ordinary cleaners regard skilled, full time, on site tailors and alterationists as an operating cost, not as a value-added service to their customers.

They’re quite happy to return your skirts with the hem partially or completely hanging down; they’re quite content to return your sport coats or blazers with buttons dangling by a thread or completely missing; they’re quite satisfied with returning your trousers, slacks, dresses and skirts with broken or malfunctioning zippers.

By the way, if something happened to your garment in the cleaning process — your hem unravelled, your button(s) loosened or cracked, or your zipper broke — they’ll just tell you that the garment came in that condition.

They’ll also tell you that you can transform adversity into a great opportunity: Just dust off that old sewing machine you’ve stashed in the garage and/or brush up on your own sewing skills.

43. Completes all other repairs to your garments to the extent possible and/or authorized by the client

 

True Quality Cleaners: Completes all other repairs to your garments — to the extent possible and/or authorized by the client — utilizing skilled, full time, on-site tailors and alterationists.

Ordinary Cleaners: What have you been smoking?

Ordinary cleaners will tell you that they’re dry cleaners, not tailors. That they’ve never employed a tailor or alterationist in the past and that they’ve no plans to employ a tailor or alterationist in the future.

The problem is that skilled, full time, on site tailors and alterationists are expensive. Ordinary cleaners regard skilled, full time, on site tailors and alterationists as an operating cost, not as a value-added service to their customers.

At an ordinary dry cleaner, they won’t undertake even the easiest of repairs — re-hemming a garment, supplying and sewing a new set of buttons or replacing a broken zipper.

That being the case, why would you expect them to undertake repairs that are more time consuming and more complicated, such as replacing torn pockets, replacing torn linings in blazers, dresses and skirts, etc?

44. Removes all dry cleaning garment identification tags

 

True Quality Cleaners: Removes all dry cleaning garment identification tags before returning your garments to you.

Ordinary Cleaners: Highly unlikely.

It’s common for ordinary dry cleaners to leave their identification tags stapled or pinned to your garments. They do this just in case there is a mix up in the garments in an order. Truth is, they’re just looking to save time and labor costs.

On the other hand, if a dry cleaner glues or heat seals bar codes onto your garments, then they obviously have no intention of removing those tags.

Here’s our suggestion: if a dry cleaner glues or heat seals bar codes onto your garments without your knowledge or express permission, demand that they remove their bar codes  — without damaging your garments in any way — before you leave their facility.   

Learn more about bar codes…

45. Packages all garments individually and elegantly

 

True Quality Cleaners: Packages all garments individually and elegantly.

Ordinary Cleaners: Sorry, not here.

Ordinary cleaners tell you that they deliver “great quality cleaning and pressing”. Then they turn around and stuff multiple garments into an ultra thin, narrow poly bag.

They rationalize that decision by telling themselves a story…

Our customers have grown accustomed to having multiple garments stuffed into a single bag. They’ve never complained before. So why should we change now?

Then they comfort themselves by calculating how much money they’re saving — in labor and packaging costs — by not packaging your garments individually.

Just think about that for a second. On the one hand, they tell you about their “great cleaning and pressing”. On the other hand, they’re quite content to stuff all that “great cleaning and pressing” into an ultra thin, narrow poly bag, thereby destroying any pretense of their “great pressing”..

Learn more about the packaging of garments…

46. Packages all garments using premium packaging materials

 

True Quality Cleaners: Packages all garments using premium packaging materials that are technically aligned with and supportive of your garments over the short and long term — heavy duty trouser/slacks hangers (with wide, soft plastic clips, not metal clips) and contoured, wide-shouldered suit jacket, sport coat and blazer hangers.

Ordinary Cleaners: Unlikely.

Ordinary cleaners typically use thin, metal hangers that are not designed to support the drape of your garments.

Why do they use these hangers?

Because these hangers are the cheapest available. After all, why waste money using premium hangers to showcase poor to mediocre cleaning and pressing? 

Learn more about the packaging of garments…

47. Absence of cheap, thin, straight or wishbone shaped, non-contoured, non-shoulder supporting metal hangers

 

True Quality Cleaners: Does not use cheap, thin, straight or wishbone shaped, non-contoured, non-shoulder supporting metal hangers on suit jackets, sport coats and blazers.

Ordinary Cleaners: Sure, we do.

Ordinary cleaners typically use thin, metal hangers that are not designed to support the drape of your garments.

Why do they use these hangers?

Because these hangers are the cheapest available. After all, why waste money using premium hangers to showcase poor to mediocre cleaning and pressing? 

Don’t you just love the way they destroy the contour of your shoulders and overall drape of your suit jackets, sport coats and blazers by hanging your garments on flimsy plastic or cardboard thingamabobs that clip on to the top edge of the metal hanger?

Learn more about the packaging of garments…

Learn more about the importance of hangers…

48. Cushions your garments with soft, white, non-logo printed, acid-free tissue paper

 

True Quality Cleaners: Cushions your garments with soft, white, non-logo printed, acid-free tissue paper (inks and dyes on colored or logo printed tissue can potentially bleed onto garments if the tissue becomes damp or wet).

Ordinary Cleaners: Ridiculous.

A minority of ordinary cleaners use regular tissue — white, colored or logo printed.

Truth is, the reason they use tissue is not to cushion your garments and support their pressing. Instead, they use tissue as a tangible cue to tell you “we care”. In much the same way that Motel 6 folds the ends of bathroom tissue into a triangular shape to convey the fact that your bathroom has been “cleaned and sanitized”.

What’s the point in packaging your garments with tissue paper if their cleaning and pressing is poor to mediocre in the first place and if they’re going to stuff multiple garments into an ultra thin, narrow poly bag anyway? 

And what’s the point of using colored or logo printed tissue that could potentially bleed dyes (from colored tissue) and inks (from logo printed tissue) onto garments if the tissue becomes damp or wet?

If the intent of tissue is to serve a functional purpose, they should be using soft, acid-free, white, non-logo printed tissue in all strategic areas of their packaging such as sleeves and collar. Just like True Quality Cleaners next door.

Learn more about the packaging of garments…

49. Uses extra wide, heavy duty poly bags

 

True Quality Cleaners: Uses extra wide, heavy duty poly bags.

Ordinary Cleaners: Not.

Extra wide, heavy duty poly? Sorry, but ultra thin, narrow poly is far cheaper. What’s more, no one has complained about stuffing multiple garments into a single poly bag.  So what’s your problem?

If you’re looking for expert, individual packaging of your garments, try True Quality Cleaners next door.

Learn more about the packaging of garments…

50. Moves your garments around their facility by hand

 

True Quality Cleaners: Moves your garments around their facility by hand. Gently.

Ordinary Cleaners:

Ordinary dry cleaners need to control their costs. So they substitute automation for human labor wherever possible — in the pre-cleaning preparation, in the pre-spotting, in the cleaning, in the pressing, in the inspection, in the packaging, etc.

They know that the quality of their pressing is marginal at best.

So why would they care if your garments got smashed moving them from point A to point B?

What’s the point of moving garments around by hand when roller coaster-like garment movement systems never call in sick and just keep on running?

Learn more about bar codes…

51. Doesn’t offer same day or next day in-store service

 

True Quality Cleaners: Declines to offer same day or next day in-store service on your garments.

Ordinary Cleaners:

Customers of ordinary cleaners demand same day and next day service. This requires that ordinary cleaners eliminate any and all standards in the never ending quest to speed up the “cleaning and pressing process”.

Learn more about the negatives of quick turnaround…

52. Doesn’t offer 2 or 3 day pick up and delivery service

 

True Quality Cleaners: Declines to offer 2 or 3 day pick up and delivery service on  your garments.

Ordinary Cleaners: 

Customers of ordinary cleaners demand 2 or 3 day pick up and delivery service. This requires that ordinary cleaners we eliminate any and all standards in the never ending quest to speed up the “cleaning and pressing process”.

Learn more about the negatives of quick turnaround…

53. Charges a price that reflects the quality of their work

 

True Quality Cleaners: Charges a price that affords them the opportunity to concentrate solely on the quality of the product they deliver. 

Ordinary Cleaners: 

The vast majority of the customers of ordinary cleaners are buying “cleaning and pressing”, not technically skilled garment care. 

In other words, very few consumers patronize ordinary dry cleaners because of the “quality of their work”. Instead, they patronize ordinary dry cleaners because of convenience and low prices.

Ordinary cleaners know this. So they cater to that market with conveniences (same day and next day cleaning, 2 and 3 day pick up and delivery service, drive throughs, nylon garment bags, mints, etc.) and low prices (what ordinary cleaners call “competitive prices”).

Ordinary dry cleaners live and die by the prices charged by the cleaner across the street or across town. 

If the cleaner across the street requires their service representatives to wear polo shirts with the cleaners logo, they follow suit. If the cleaner across the street extends their hours of operation, they follow suit. If the cleaner across the street offers drive through customers dog biscuits, they follow suit. If the cleaner across the street offers hangers with the message “We love our customers”, they follow suit. If the cleaner across the street offers poly imprinted with a “Happy Holidays” message, they follow suit. 

If the cleaner across the street lowers their prices and/or offers specials, coupons and reward programs, they follow suit.

Consider this quote from an article in the March 2017 issue of American Drycleaner, the dry cleaning industry’s trade magazine:

 

Most cleaners are basing the charges for their service on a phone call to the guy down the street.

(Summary of the author’s advice to the owners of ordinary cleaners:) make a commitment to educate yourself and your employees, set yourself apart in the marketplace and (create) a pricing structure to reflect your new position on quality.

 

Learn more about a true quality cleaner’s philosophy on pricing…

Conclusion

 

There you have it: A blunt comparison between extraordinary (true quality) dry cleaners and value (discount) dry cleaners, ordinary (middle market) dry cleaners and wannabe (illusion) dry cleaners.

Yes, we know we have a bias.

At RAVE FabriCARE we believe that it’s more important to mean something to a few than nothing to anyone.

In other words, it’s far more important to cater to the few who have a significant investment in their fine garments and who appreciate true quality cleaning than cater to the many who don’t give a proverbial damn.

In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, we believe that dry cleaners face two choices:

  1. Create more value for their customers with nationally respected quality standards, technically skilled artisans, at a higher cost, or
  2. Do just enough to keep the doors open with zero quality standards, minimal skills, at a lower cost.

For almost 30 years, we’ve focused on one goal: Creating value for our clients by delivering extraordinary care for fine garments, household textiles and accessories. Nothing — absolutely nothing — will cause us to deviate from that goal. 

In the today’s marketplace, dry cleaners are in a race: a race to the top (extraordinary or true quality cleaners) or a race to the bottom (value or discount cleaners). It’s a choice every dry cleaner consciously or subconsciously makes.

There’s no middle ground anymore for ordinary (middle market) or wannabe (illusion) dry cleaners with no strategic focus. There’s no middle ground anymore for cleaners who fool themselves into believing that it’s possible to cater to anyone and everyone who walks through their front doors.

The only positive for ordinary (middle market) or wannabe (illusion) dry cleaners is that most consumers of dry cleaning services still assume that the quality of the work delivered by all dry cleaners is relatively equal. And that the only basis for competition is convenience and price. 

And the reason most consumers of dry cleaning services assume that the quality of the work delivered by all dry cleaners is relatively equal is because they don’t understand or don’t care about the difference between value (discount) cleaners, ordinary (middle market) cleaners, wannabe (illusion) cleaners and extraordinary (true quality) cleaners.

 The purpose of this post has been to highlight some of the differences between extraordinary (true quality) dry cleaners and ordinary (middle market) dry cleaners and the operating philosophies underlying these differences. 

Now, you have the information to make your own choice.

And to make that choice even easier, we’ve designed an easy-to-use checklist titled Grade Your Dry Cleaner.

 

Author’s Comment: There are approximately 26,000 ordinary dry cleaners in the USA. It’s impossible to identify every possible combination of operating procedures and processes followed by all these dry cleaners. Nonetheless, there are numerous threads that are common to most ordinary cleaners. This post is based on those common threads.

What’s been your experience? Do you believe that dry cleaning is a commodity and that all dry cleaners are basically the same? Do you distinguish between value (discount) cleaners, ordinary (middle market) cleaners, wannabe (illusion) cleaners and extraordinary (true quality) cleaners. Do you use different cleaners for different garments in your wardrobe?

 

Photo credit: pixabay.com/tpsdave

Share this blog post:

 

Filed Under:

Dry Cleaning,Dry cleaning industry,Garment Care,Quality Standards

Author

Stu Bloom

Stu Bloom is Founder and President of RAVE FabriCARE. RAVE FabriCARE, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, cares for fine garments, household textiles and accessories and serves clients throughout the USA and Canada. Stu is the author of various ebooks on these subjects, all of which are available from www.ravefabricare.com/freestuff. He is an evangelist for true quality cleaning and is a contributor to and editor of True Quality Cleaning, RAVE FabriCARE’s blog. You can find Stu on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Comment on this blog post:

Leave a Reply

Notify of
avatar
wpDiscuz
Sign up to receive our blog posts:

Did you find this blog post informative? Subscribe today to receive our blog posts delivered straight to your inbox. We'll never share your email. No spam. Unsubscribe whenever you want.

Sign up to receive our quarterly newsletter:

Get tips, ideas and information you can use. Subscribe today to receive our quarterly newsletter, the RAVEreview® delivered straight to your inbox. We'll never share your email. No spam. Unsubscribe whenever you want.

Looking for more great resources?

Check out our Resource Library for over 60 expert Ebooks, Position Papers (short discussions) and White Papers (longer in-depth discussions) spanning all aspects of caring for your fine garments, household textiles and accessories.

Connect with us:
America's True Quality Cleaner and Fabricare Specialist For Almost 30 Years