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In the dry-cleaning plant the garments are placed in a cleaning machine that is actually very like a large washing machine. However instead of water they use solvents and as the machine revolves the solvent goes through the clothes. Then it goes through various filters that purify the solvent so it can go back into the machine again. As these solvents are expensive they are used over and over again and in fact much of the size of the dry-cleaning machinery is the complex piping and filtering systems used to recycle the solvents rather than a large washing machine style drum.

The solvent is mixed along the way with detergents that help loosen the dirt so it can float away. The clothes tumble gently in the mixture until the dirt is removed and then they are rinsed out in fresh clean solvent. Detergent is not used in the rinsing process.

The machine then spins the clothes at high speed so that the solvents are spun out of them until most of the formulation has been removed. A dryer then tumbles the clothes loosely in warm air. This warm air helps evaporate the solvent.

After drying, the garments go to “a spotter.” His job is to take the stains that are left. To do this he must first find out what the stain is, and what chemicals will loosen it. He also tests the fabric to make sure the colour will not run. The next step is pressing, and this is usually done by machines, though dresses may be “touched up” with a hand iron.

When you get dry-cleaning done always go for the 3 -5 day service as they will then group your garment in with similar garments over that period so you get a better quality job.

Never use the 1 hour services (unless its an absolute emergency) as your clothes will be tossed in together with all sorts of other colours, textures and levels of dirt that you would rather not know about. The slower option is much safer.

Always refer to your care instructions inside the garments if unsure. Some Tailored Jackets can be machine washed but this is very rare. Always check first– as even if the fabric is machine washable the jacket may not be, as washing can affect the interlining and fusible inside that stiffen and support the exterior fabric so jackets sit and drape well.

Getting to know a good drycleaner can be a really good thing as an expert can save your clothes, make them look better and last for much longer. A bad one can wreck things really easily. Ask for recommendations and look around. Check if their windows are clean – a really great sign if they show they are serious about cleanliness.

If you ever need more specific advice on drycleaning- our team will be more than happy to help out. Just email sales@uniforms.nz and our team will get in touch!