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Dry Cleaners definitions
Certain types of clothes, like leather, suede and other delicate fabrics don't do well when washed at home. This is where dry cleaners come in. Dry cleaners use professional machines to clean clothes (and rugs, blankets and other fabrics) and remove difficult stains that can't be done at home. Instead of using water to remove dirt and stains, the machines use a solvent for cleaning. Dry cleaners services use the following terms.
Tailor – A person who alters clothes professionally. Some dry cleaners employ tailors who work on-site to alter clothes. Tailors often work on clothes that need to fit perfectly, such as wedding dresses or prom gowns. Their rates vary, often based on the type of garment they are working on.
Clothing Alteration – The process of adjusting clothes so that they fit better. A tailor adjusts the size of the clothes by sewing new seams or removing them as needed.
Same Day Service – Sometimes for additional charges laundry can be dropped off, usually in the morning and be available for pick up later that afternoon.
Finishing – This service is also called pressing. After the laundry has been cleaned, steam is applied to make the item softer. It is then quickly dried until the steam is vacuumed out, allowing the item to be pressed into shape.
Environmentally Friendly – Sometimes called “green services” there has been a push for cleaners to be more responsible with the large amounts of cleaning fluids and solvents used in operating a dry cleaning business. New machines offer different cleaning solutions, for example, some using carbon dioxide instead of solvents to clean clothes. The result is there is less release of harmful toxic chemicals.
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Sometimes fabrics do not react well when cleaned with water. Fine silks, leather, and suede all obtain stains from the water that cannot be removed without extreme difficulty, if at all. When you have soiled clothing that needs special care, taking laundry to the dry cleaners is the safest method available.
Dry cleaning is done by using non-water based solvents to remove stains and dirt from apparel. Early methods included solvents made from gasoline, which was highly flammable. Because of the unfortunate combustible nature of the job, the government started regulating these laundry facilities. After World War I, chlorine became the main ingredient in the solution, but was replaced by tetrachloroethylene, called "perc," in the mid 1930s. While perc produced higher quality results than its predecessors, it was originally classified as a carcinogen, making it toxic over time. This classification has been withdrawn, but people are starting to replace the chemical in the industry anyway in favor of greener environment friendly chemicals.
The cleaning machines used at these facilities wash and dry clothing at the same time. Many facilities will use their equipment to allow garment pick-up on the same day for an increased price, but cheaper prices are available for longer turn around. Tailoring and altering services are often available at many locations, though the majority of sewing is done on wedding and prom gowns. Most alterations are done on machines.
Though most facilities will not deliver products to your home, home kits do exist for special projects like carpet care.