Detailed Quality Standards

Every cleaner – the value cleaner, the ordinary cleaner and the wannabe cleaner – talks about their quality standards

Every cleaner promises it.

And every cleaner claims to meet or exceed the “industry’s highest standards” (whatever that phrase may mean).

But when you ask what those specific standards are, you’re typically met with a blank stare or some general mumbo jumbo.

Truth is, the vast majority of ordinary cleaners pay mere lip service to true quality.

By contrast, a fabricare specialist or true quality cleaner will put their standards in writing. And in detail.

It’s how they hold their fabricare associates accountable. And how their clients, in turn, hold them accountable.

On every order. On every item.

So before you select a cleaner, ask the cleaner for a detailed list of their quality standards. In writing.

You might find their response instructive.

Here are our dry cleaning and shirt laundry quality standards:

Dry Cleaning Quality Standards

  • No staples, pins and clips
  • No heat sealed or glued “uniform rental” bar code labels
  • Foreign matter removed from pockets and cuffs
  • Each garment individually examined
  • Delicate or decorative buttons either securely protected or removed and replaced
  • Garments disassembled before cleaning and then reassembled after cleaning where necessary (e.g., a black and white dress with a white bodice that turned grayish as as result of improper prior cleanings)
  • Dry cleaning, wet cleaning, hand cleaning and multi-process cleaning regimens to be employed tailored to each specific garment
  • Odor remediation technologies and processes to be employed tailored to each specific garment
  • Each garment pre-spotted (to the extent practicable) prior to any cleaning in a dry cleaning machine, a wet cleaning machine, or soaking in a water-based solution
  • Loads separated by color, weight and fragility
  • Delicate, fragile, specialty and couture garments and ties dry cleaned separately from all other garments – often with no tumbling after being placed inside a dry cleaning machine
  • Trims – sequins beads and rhinestones, plastic and vinyl, paint and glitter, suede leather and fur, feathers, and the like – expertly and safely handled
  • Dermatologically-friendly, odorless, fabric gentle, chemically inert/non-dye stripping dry cleaning fluid
  • No relatively aggressive chlorine-based solvents (perchloroethylene aka Dowper), hydrocarbon-based solvents (synthetic petroleum aka DF 2000 or EcoSolv) or formaldehyde-based solvents (formaldehyde dibutyl acetal aka K4 or SOLVON)
  • Dry cleaning fluid freshly purified before and after each load of cleaning (in other words, as clear as bottle spring water prior to use)
  • Dry cleaning fluid filtered throughout the dry cleaning machine’s “wash” cycle
  • Top-of-the-line Sanitone ® dry cleaning detergents
  • No moisture added to the dry cleaning machine’s “wash” cycle
  • No perfumes, fragrances or other odor masking chemicals added to the dry cleaning machine’s “wash” cycle
  • Brightest whites, creams and pastels
  • Intense colors
  • Soft, revitalized fabric textures
  • No dye bleeding of potentially unstable dyes
  • No static or lint
  • No “dry cleaning solvent” odor
  • No “dirty dry cleaning solvent” odor
  • No perspiration odor
  • Each garment (including linings) meticulously hand finished – inside and out
  • No fabric shine or seam impressions (to the extent permitted by pre-existing conditions)
  • Sweaters and knits measured before cleaning and blocked to original specifications during hand finishing
  • Sweaters and knits de-pilled
  • Perfectly rounded, non-rippled, factory formed collars and lapels on suit jackets, sport coats and blazers
  • Lapels perfectly rolled (whether 2 button, 3 button, 3 rolled to 2 or 3 rolled to 2 ½)
  • Each garment inspected – inside and out – top to bottom
  • Zippers lubricated
  • Hems and seams checked
  • Repairs completed (to the extent possible and/or authorized by client)
  • Missing snaps, hooks and eyes replaced
  • Loose snaps, hooks and eyes reinforced
  • Missing and cracked buttons replaced
  • Loose buttons reinforced
  • All dry cleaner identification tags removed
  • Each garment cushioned with soft, white, non-logo printed, unbuffered acid-free tissue paper (the inks on logo printed tissue can potentially bleed onto garments if the tissue becomes damp or wet)
  • Premium packaging materials, including heavy duty trouser/slacks hangers (with soft plastic clips, not metal clips) and contoured, wide-shouldered suit jacket, sport coat and blazer hangers
  • No thin, straight line or wishbone-shaped wood, chrome or other metal hangers on blouses, suit jackets, sport coats and blazers
  • Extra wide, heavy duty poly bags
  • Each garment individually and elegantly packaged

Shirt Laundry Quality Standards

  • No staples or pins
  • No heat sealed or glued on “uniform rental” bar code labels
  • Foreign matter removed from pockets
  • Ink spots/steaks at bottom of pocket removed (depending on the color of the shirt, permanent inks and ink spots/steaks previously worked on by ordinary cleaners may not be removable)
  • Each shirt individually examined
  • Dry cleaning, wet cleaning, hand cleaning and multi-process cleaning regimens to be employed tailored to each specific shirt
  • Odor remediation technologies and processes to be employed tailored to each specific shirt
  • Each shirt pre-spotted (to the extent practicable) prior to any soaking in a dry cleaning fluid, soaking in a water-based solution, and/or laundering in a wet cleaning machine
  • Cuffs of french cuff shirts individually hand cleaned
  • Each shirt soaked in siloxane dry cleaning fluid to dissolve oil-based stains, including body oils in the collars and cuffs and oils and fats from food spills
  • Each shirt soaked in water-based solutions to relax the fibers and dissolve soil and water-based stains, including perspiration (up to 8 hours for barrel cuffs and up to 12 hours for french cuffs)
  • Top-of-the-line Sanitone ® shirt laundry chemistry
  • Cold or cool temperature water washes for no longer than 5 minutes (no warm, hot or boiling water washes) followed by 2 short rinses to remove any detergent residue
  • pH controlled buffered sour
  • Premium, natural wheat starch (no synthetic starch or corn starch)
  • Choice of 3 different starch levels – none and light; medium if you’re absolutely adamant (any request for heavy starch requires serious discussion)
  • Brightest whites, creams and pastels
  • Each shirt meticulously hand ironed (paying particular attention to collar and cuffs, front and sleeve plackets, side and sleeves seams, underarms, body to sleeve seams, sleeve to cuff seams, pockets, pocket flaps and epaulets)
  • No collar stay impressions (collar stays removed prior to laundering and replaced after ironing)
  • Bent or missing collar stays replaced after ironing
  • Collars rounded and correctly turned all the way down at the back of the neck
  • Wrinkle free, rounded collars and cuffs (to the extent permitted by shirt construction and prior launderings by ordinary cleaners/shirt laundries)
  • Sleeves rolled, never creased (any request to crease the sleeves of any shirt requires serious discussion)
  • No puckered seams or wrinkled underarms
  • Reverse side of french front plackets carefully hand ironed
  • Choice of french cuffs flat or rolled (any request to crease a french cuff requires serious discussion)
  • Each shirt thoroughly inspected
  • Repairs completed
  • Missing and cracked buttons replaced
  • Chipped buttons replaced with a complete new set of buttons (requires client approval)
  • Loose buttons reinforced
  • Choice of shirts on hangers or hand folded in an air-cushioned, heavy duty poly bag
  • Extra wide shirt hangers
  • Extra wide, heavy duty poly bags
  • Each shirt individually packaged


So next time you visit or call your cleaners, don’t forget to ask them for a detailed listin writing – of their quality standards.

If they provide you with a detailed list, compare what they say they do to what they actually do.

And who is best positioned to know what they actually do?

That person is you, of course. After all, you’ve experienced the quality of their product over time.

On the other hand, if they can’t provide you with a detailed list, don’t forget to ask them why not.

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