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Todd Layne Cleaners describes the dry cleaning process in detail…

I don’t know about you, but before working for a dry cleaner I had no idea how it worked. I would drop off my dry cleaning at my usual spot (which happened to be TLC), wouldn’t have to give them my name or the details as to how I like my dry cleaning done, they just knew. Then two days later…Poof…Viola my dry cleaning is patiently waiting for my arrival. Like me, have you ever wondered how this happens? What happens to your clothes when you drop them off? How do they keep your clothes from mixing up with other customers? Or how your clothes make it to the place they get dry cleaned? Maybe you just sit there stooped at the very idea of how your clothes get cleaned when being dry cleaned? Mostly I wondered how it makes it back to me so quickly? Now that I am working for a dry cleaner all of these mysteries have been solved for me, so I thought it’s about time we solve them for you.

Let’s start off by you dropping off your garments. First they are inspected and entered into our computer system. We keep track of the color, brand and any damage or stains that we may see (we like our customers to know that all garments are under video surveillance and tagged so that we can prevent them from getting lost). We keep track of your garments by identifying them with an invoice number, customer code and piece count. For example, if a customer drops off 6 pieces of dry cleaning, we will attach tags to all garments with the number 6 and also a customer identifier number like 123. In this scenario, after all of the garments have been inspected and tagged they are then ready for their field-trip to our plant.

As for the cleaning process, all garments are inspected in our plant again for missing buttons, stains or damage. Any garments that have stains are treated by our Spotter, who is a Certified Specialist that is experienced in the safest techniques to remove all stains, including oils, ink, food, blood, perspiration, water rings, grass stains, etc. It is important to note that most dry cleaners do not have a Spotter in their plant. After the garment has been spotted, it is sent for cleaning with one of our two eco-friendly cleaning methods. One of these cleaning methods is called Wet Cleaning. While traditional dry clean machines immerse garments in a chemical solution like Perc, Wet Cleaning uses water and specialized detergents. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Wet Cleaning is the safest professional method of dry cleaning. The EPA states that it does not use hazardous chemicals, doesn’t generate hazardous waste or air pollution and reduces the potential for water and soil contamination.

Like most, I wanted to know more about Wet Cleaning so to explain the process in further detail; garments are placed in computer-controlled washers and dryers. It is important to note that these are very sophisticated machines and bear little resemblance to the washers and dryers found in a typical household. Natural detergents, fabric softeners, dye-setting agents (to protect color) and fabric-finishing agents (maintain garment body and crispness) are used to effectively clean the garments. Temperature and humidity levels are held at very specific levels to prevent any garment shrinkage, seeing that most people prefer that their clothes don’t come back to them in miniature size. Drying time is kept to a minimum and garments are hand-finished with specialized pressing equipment. In addition to the environmental benefits, there are many benefits for the consumer. Since the majority of stains are water-soluble, the Wet Cleaning process is better at removing these types of stains. White garments are whiter and darker colors remain brighter. There is no chemical smell and garments have a longer lifespan since they are not immersed in harsh chemicals.

After the cleaning process, the garments are steamed, hand-finished and placed on hangers with protective covers. The field-trip is now over and the garments are sent back to our store and inspected once again by our counter person. They make sure the garments have been cleaned, pressed, and inspected for any missing buttons, and for stains that hadn’t been removed. Then they proceed to separate the garments into either our delivery section or pick up section.

We always want to give 100% to the dry cleaning process and keeping it Green, as well as having a quick turn-around time. The other beauty behind our cleaners and what we pride ourselves in is that we get to know our customers. By this, I mean after a few times of dropping off your clothes our counter person tend to remember you and your order requests. We aim to have you in-n-out, but at the same time if you want to stop and chat we are ok with that too. We hope this is no longer a mystery for you! But if there are any questions you have been wondering about and I just didn’t get to them, please comment and let us know and we will be happy to answer them. Contact me at [email protected]

Todd Layne Cleaners is located on the Upper East Side, NYC, New York, NY and serves area codes 10075, 10021, 10022, 10065, 10028 and 10128.