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Take It To The Cleaners

How can you find a dry cleaner who will keep your clothes looking just perfect?

Wayne Edelman, president of Meurice Garment Care and president of the Certified Restoration Dry Cleaning Network of metro New York, gave some dos and don'ts of dry cleaning. He'll try to help you get Just Peferct clothes back from the cleaners.

For more information on clothing care, go to the NCA Web site.

First of all, "dry cleaning" isn't actually dry.

"People are under the misconception that dry-cleaning is a dry process," says Edelman. "It's very similar to washing, only we use a solvent instead of water."

Stains come out the way they go in. For instance, a meat stain is animal protein and a wine stain is a plant protein.

"A solvent is a good degreaser," explains Edelman. "Water is a good means of removing watery stains… A good cleaner will pre-treat trains prior to putting it in the machine." One kind of garment that should definitely be taken to a dry cleaner is a garment with an interfacing, a lining and shoulder pads. But something more unstructured, like a silk blouse, might carry a care label that says you can hand-wish it and dry at home.

What are the toughest stains to remove?

"Mustard is a tough stain," states Edelman.

If your garment has a stain and it's even worse after you get it home from the cleaner, what is the obligation of the dry cleaner?

"The obligation is to return your garment back to you as close to new as possible. If the stain is still there, and the stain became worse, you should bring it back," says Edelman, adding, "We tell our clients if we can't get the stain out, no one is getting it out."

Edelman says that picking a good dry cleaner is like picking a good restaurant.

"We all use the same things, same machinery" he explains. "It's how we implement them and the attention to detail during the process. There are dry cleaners, bang and hang cleaners. They bang it on a press and put it on a hanger … There are other cleaners that have numerous inspection steps to make sure your garment comes back in good condition."

What about one-day service?

Edelman says that if the garment simply needs to be freshened, that's fine. "But," he adds, "with a particular stain, that garment might need to be cleaned numerous times, and there's not enough time to get the stain out. We will tell the client if they need the garment, they will have
it back but still might have the stain."

When you get your garment home, do not leave it in its plastic because, Edelman say, plastic "creates an acid which fades and discolors over a period of time. When you put the garment in your closet, take the plastic off and do not use wire hangers.

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