Garment Preparation

Unique identification

Garments entering any dry cleaning facility must be uniquely identified so that ownership of every garment is clear. All cleaners do this in some fashion or another.

Hopefully, the identification method used is temporary and does not involve gluing or heat sealing a bar code onto any of your garments as if they were a uniform or a rental garment.

After all, these garments belong to you. When you dropped off or sent in your garments, did you give the dry cleaner permission to glue or heat seal a bar code onto your garments?

Thorough review of issues

At the overwhelming majority of cleaners, your garments are now dispatched for “cleaning”.

What should happen, instead, is that every garment should be carefully reviewed – inside and out – for issues that are unique to that particular garment – given it’s fabric, color, trims, soil and staining, overall condition and age.

While it’s not possible to compile a list of every possible issue that might be encountered, here are some of the more common issues that every cleaner should review – before a garment is transferred to the stain removal technician:

Fabric issues

  • Tears, rips and cuts in the outer fabric and lining
  • Scuffing and pilling
  • Pulls and snags
  • Yarn slippage (distortion of the symmetry in the weave of the horizontal and vertical threads)
  • Crushed fabric nap
  • Deteriorating fiber strength
  • Dry clean only garments that appear to have been washed or wet cleaned
  • Faded colors (unless an integral part of the design)
  • Knits that are misshapen
  • Insect damage (such as moth larvae damage)

Pressing issues

  • Shine
  • Seam impressions
  • Crushed fabric nap
  • Moire-like press pad impressions
  • Improper pressing of pleats, cuffs, ruffles, etc.

Stain and color variation issues

  • Common (but often difficult stains) such as various types of inks, old blood, etc.

  • Unusual stains such as blood, urine, dye transfer from another garment, etc.

  • Old yellow or brown caramelized sugar stains and oxidized oil stains

  • Crocking (whitish streaks on darker colored fabrics)

  • Dye bleed

  • Color loss and/or sheen loss due to rubbing or wiping of the fabric using water, club soda, lemon juice, and other “miracle potions”

  • Color loss due to chemical interaction with perspiration, deodorants and antiperspirants

  • Color loss caused by ordinary dry cleaners who are unschooled in basic stain removal techniques and who compensate for this fact by attempting to “remove” stains with a “little of this” and a “little of that”
  • Color fading due to exposure to artificial or natural light

Button, hardware and trim issues

  • Chipped, cracked or scratched buttons, logos, zipper pulls, and other hardware
  • Missing buttons
  • Missing or loose sequins, beads and other trims
  • Discolored or de-lustered sequins, beads and other trims

Next steps

This begs the question: what should your cleaner do about any of these issues?

  • Should they remove all the buttons that could possibly chip, crack or scratch and replace them after cleaning and hand ironing?
  • Should they cover the buttons with foil or in some other manner?
  • Should they remove any trims or other embellishments and replace them after cleaning?
  • Should they design and attach custom-made, cushioned, protective covers for the trims and other embellishments and remove the covers after cleaning?

The answer to all these questions should be “yes”.

Of course.

Corozo nut buttons

A special comment on corozo nut buttons on fine mens and ladies garments is necessary.

Many high-end manufacturers, particularly the Italian brands, use corozo nut buttons on their jackets, blazer and trousers. Typically, these buttons have been custom dyed to match the color of the fabric swatch submitted by the manufacturer.

The problem is that these buttons chip and crack very easily – even when covered in foil – and should be removed before each cleaning and then replaced after cleaning and pressing.

Corozo nut buttons are, in many cases, irreplaceable. If any of your corozo nut buttons chip or crack, your dry cleaner may have to substitute a set of new buttons (unless you have your own set of spare buttons).

So the best approach is to tell your dry cleaner not to play russian roulette with your corozo nut buttons. Tell them to remove and replace them!

At RAVE FabriCARE, we remove and replace 200 to 300 such buttons every day. Which is probably the reason why your cleaner doesn’t remove and replace your Corozo nut buttons – as a matter of routine.

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