True Quality CleaningStraight talk about caring for fine garments & household textiles from an expert who calls it like it is. In plain English.

Restoring your yellowed collars and cuffs to brilliant white

In one of last week's posts, I mentioned that, instead of buying new dress shirts, you ought to consider replacing the collars and cuffs.

This is an option when the body and sleeves are in good condition but the collars and cuffs are worn, frayed at the edges, discolored beyond restoration, shrunken, fabric shined by the dry cleaner, hard pressed by the dry cleaner, or otherwise damaged in some manner.

In today's post, I want to focus on white dress shirts with collars and cuffs that have discolored but can still be restored to brilliant white.

One of the most frequent complaints I hear from new clients is that the collars of their white shirts have turned yellow. Ironically, this is often the case where the client has been using a "professional shirt laundry."

And the reason for this yellowing?

Actually, it's quite simple: Their dry cleaner's shirt laundry process is NOT removing the body oils that build up in the collar and cuffs over time. As a result, when your shirts are MACHINE PRESSED after washing, those body oils are oxidized by the heat of the machine pressing and turn yellow.

Consider these three shirts for example:

Collars 2218

Here's what happens in a typical dry cleaner ....

Your shirts are sorted into lights and darks and again by starch level, tossed into a shirt washer and the cleaner hopes that a combination of hot water and harsh, caustic, industrial grade detergents will miraculously dissolve the body oils in the collar and cuffs.

Sometimes this works. Mostly it doesn't.

Which is why, at RAVE FabriCARE, we soak your shirts using TWO separate processes - one to emulsify the oil-based stains (such as body oils, creams, lotions and other grease deposits), and one to release the water-based stains (such as perspiration, soda, juice, coffee, wine and beer). All this, before your shirts ever see the inside of our washers.

Now, there are some cleaners around the county and in the Phoenix metro area who "claim" to soak their shirts in order to remove any staining.

But they only claim to use a single soaking process in a water-based "solution" - a soaking that does absolutely nothing to emulsify the body oils in the collars and cuffs. Even subsequent washing in the hottest water with the very best detergents in the most sophisticated wet cleaning machines won't eliminate this problem.

At RAVE FabriCARE, by contrast, we use a two soak processes - the first to emulsify the oil-based stains, the second to release the water-based stain.

Using this two soak process is the only way to ensure that, when your shirt is finally pressed ( hopefully by hand and not by machine), those body oils, creams and lotions, and grease deposits don't transform or oxidize through heat into difficult-to-remove yellow stains.

And the dry cleaning fluid we use? The same type of fluid - siloxane - that we use to clean your "dry clean only" bespoke, made-to-measure, designer, high fashion, specialty and couture garments.

Fact is, siloxane dry clean fluid is so gentle it's been used for decades as a base ingredient in many of the personal care products you drip into your eyes and rub into your skin on a daily basis. Personal care products such as shampoos, antiperspirants, deodorants and moisturizing creams. It's even in the cooking oil McDonald's uses for their french fries. But that's a story for another day.

So next time you drop off your shirts at your local dry cleaner, ask them if they use a two-step process to soak your shirts clean - before your shirts ever see the inside of their shirt washer.

If the answer is no, they're only doing half the job. In which case, they ought to be charging you half price and, when the collars and cuffs turn yellow, buying you a new shirt.

If the white collars and cuffs on your white dress shirts have already yellowed over time, we have a very good track record restoring those shirts to pristine condition.

Take these Borelli, Zegna and Ricci shirts pictured above, for example.

That photo above shows the yellowed collars on those white shirts. The photos below show those same shirts restored to brilliant white.

After 2419 After 2422
After 2420 After 2423
After 2425
After 2426


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