04 August 2012

let's talk about dry cleaning!


what exactly is dry cleaning? / as the phrase implies, the act of of cleaning clothes without water but rather with special solvents.  the most widely used solvent is "perc," which is known to have both environmental and health impacts {source}.  there are some dry cleaners out there exploring other methods or those that offer some "wet cleaning" if requested in addition to spot cleaning.  there are also ways for cleaners to maximize their efficiency to be more "green."

my experience / way back in january {oh my gosh} i mentioned how i was thinking about purchasing a local groupon type voucher to a dry cleaners.  i was hesitant as i had never been to a dry cleaner before and didn't know what to expect, but i knew that i wanted one of my winter coats cleaned.  i ended up purchasing the voucher, but i waited until the day before it expired to use it.  the voucher was for $20, so i did some sleuthing online to try to anticipate what the average cost is for the garments i wanted to bring in to be cleaned.  the dry cleaner's website was defunct so i looked at other random dry cleaner websites who had price lists available.  this might sound crazy, but i am such a planner and researcher and i like to know what to expect/what i am getting myself into so i'm not blindsided or taken advantage of.  i like being a smart & educated consumer.  i decided that i would get my most frequent winter coat cleaned as well as my j crew gateau skirt, as it wrinkles before you even look at it and i had a difficult time ironing the pleats properly.  i figured that these two items would bring me to that $20 mark.

the cost / i dropped my items off around 7am on a monday.  i was told they would be ready after 2pm that thursday.  wow, really?  i assumed that they were either an extremely busy dry cleaner or they ship the clothing out to be processed elsewhere that would account for the 3+ day wait.  when i picked up my items on friday morning, my total was $6.81 after the $20 voucher.  i was pretty pleased with this, expecting the coat itself to cost at least $20.  my receipt showed that the skirt cost $7.05 to clean + 80c {i'm assuming for the pleats} and the winter coat was $15.20, plus taxes.  taxes?  this particular dry cleaner charged $2 for the environmental fee and then our local tax.  compared to the prices at another local dry cleaner i found online, i feel that these prices are pretty high.

the result / i felt that both garments were cleaned and pressed nicely.  there was a stain on the coat that i noticed was removed and it definitely looks like it's been given new life, considering it's worn through harsh minnesota winters.  the skirt was pressed properly with nice pleats although it certainly doesn't look like it could appear in a j crew catalog.  i imagine that pleats are difficult to press perfectly and they did a better job than i could, so i'm not too concerned.

my takeaways / i don't yet have a fully formed opinion on dry cleaning.  i have washed garments that specify "dry clean only" in the regular washer {and then line dry} and haven't noticed any terrible effects.  i can see the process being beneficial for garments like the ones i had cleaned - heavy winter coats or pieces that are difficult to press or made of specialty fabrics.  it is also beneficial if a garment has a stain that cannot be removed with standard detergent and water.  because any stains or odors that my clothing incur can be removed through standard washing in my home, i don't see myself becoming a regular patron at a dry cleaner.  if i were to frequent a dry cleaner again i'd find a different establishment that clearly has their prices online and that does their cleaning on site for quicker turn around.  finally, i'd consider the necessity of whatever item i wish to have dry cleaned and the impact this process takes on the environment.

your thoughts / i'd love to hear about your experience going to dry cleaners and your thoughts about the process as a whole.  what items of items do you like to get dry cleaned?  was this post informative or interesting?  i learned a lot throughout the process, so i'm hoping you all have something you can take away from it as well.

1 comment:

  1. There are kits sold in stores that allow you to dry clean at home! Love it!!!!