I know that dry cleaners can get a bad rap – the services are expensive, no one likes having to drive their clothes somewhere else to clean them, and if we’re honest, they seem to ruin clothes on a pretty regular basis.
That said, they do know a thing or two about cleaning – and here are 10 secrets every clean freak need to know.
10. Try the basics first.
Bryan Stoddard, founder of Homewares Insider, says that no matter the stain, try the basic steps for removing it first.
“Start by soaking in cold water. Then use a detergent with lukewarm water, and simply immerse your clothes in the resulting mix. Don’t rub the clothing, especially since you don’t know how the stain actually formed. Instead, lightly tap the stain until it fades away.”
If that doesn’t work, it might be time to consult a dry cleaner for more help.
9. You don’t need to bring in your jeans.
Your jeans don’t need to be washed all that often, and according to General Manager of house cleaning service Emily’s Maids Abe Navas, they don’t need to come along to the dry cleaner, either.
“Even if you have a nice pair, you shouldn’t bring jeans to a dry cleaner. You are better off just using your washing machine.”
But only every fifth or sixth wear. You want them to relax on you first!
8. Your bedding probably needs a commercial machine.
One of the things that should regularly go to the dry cleaners is your comforter or quilt, shams, and maybe even your sheets and blankets, too – this according to Andrew Taylor, director of Net Lawman.
“Dry cleaners do more than clothes!
I have brought in blankets and duvets before because they are difficult to do otherwise.”
They don’t have to go every time they need a wash, but a couple of times a year would make everyone feel better.
7. Don’t take chances with your delicates.
Navas says while you can leave the jeans at home, your delicates are another story.
“Delicates are difficult to work with. You need proper techniques and equipment.
If you stain them, please abstain from using a DIY solution.”
A professional will have a better chance of getting out stains without damaging the fabric.
6. Less is more.
Taylor says the best way to make sure your clothes last a long time is to take care of them as well as you can at home.
“I have become a quality-over-quantity kind of person, investing in a couple of nice shirts and jackets that last me and making sure I care for them accordingly. When we have a lot of everything, we tend to leave clothes dirty for several days on the floor.
I have reduced my wardrobe significantly so I take more pride and effort in ensuring that the items I have are treated correctly.”
It’s something to think about, for sure.
5. If it’s a tough stain, bring it to a professional.
Natalie Barrett, a supervisor at Nifty Cleaning Services and a former dry cleaner herself, says there are some situations where you just shouldn’t touch it before you consult a professional.
“If you suspect that your stain is really severe, don’t perform DIY treatments at home. Many times, people destroy their fabrics trying to clean the stains.
If it was so easy for everyone to do it, there wouldn’t be any dry cleaners at all.”
Basically, you could cause more harm than good if you’re not careful.
4. “Green” cleaning might not be the wave of the future.
Barrett says to beware of “green” labels, because not only are they often not as environmentally friendly as they want you to think, but regular detergents really aren’t that terrible to begin with.
“The truth is that most green alternatives still have chemicals. Since people are concerned if the cleaning agent has the dreaded perchloroethylene, they overlook that the green solutions also have chemicals inside.”
Also, drying machines capture most residue, so you’re not wearing those chemicals around town.
3. Always have some baking soda on hand.
Baking soda has some serious cleaning power, and it’s often a convenient and low-cost solution to stains.
But, Navas says, not always.
“Baking soda is great, but it can cause some damage in specific fabrics.
Our recommendation is to try it on a small part of your clothing and then expand to the rest of the surface.”
It’s almost always a good idea to try cleaning solutions on a swatch first!
2. Communication is key.
Clare Moore, Director of Franchising at Tide Cleaners, says having a conversation with your dry cleaner can help make stains disappear faster – and they might be willing to share even more secrets once you’re friendly.
“It’s helpful to discuss stains with your dry cleaner.
That way we can focus the best process on the stain.”
It doesn’t have to be such a mystery!
1. Try to identify your stains.
Stoddard joins thousands of other dry cleaners in agreeing that knowing what exactly caused a stain makes it that much easier to remove.
“Stains caused by food or drink usually appear on the front of the clothing, and mud and other similar stains such as dirt and dust are more likely to be on the lower half of your clothes.”
Whatever you think it is, do your best to identify it for your dry cleaner when you drop it off.
I don’t know if I’m brave enough to try many of these on my own, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
What about you? Do you have any secrets for cleaning stains out of clothes? If so, we’re all ears!