Finding the best dry cleaners is vital to maintaining the quality of a wardrobe. Here’s how you know a dry cleaner cares about your clothes as much as you do.
Do you want your clothes to last as long as possible?
Of course, you do! Quality clothes are expensive. But, many people don’t realize that buying quality clothing is an investment.
Just like you spend time maintaining your car or maintaining your furniture, so too should you spend time maintaining clothes.
And the best way to maintain quality clothes is to take them to the dry cleaner.
But, not all dry cleaners are created equal. So how do you find the best ones?
Keep reading to learn the secret to finding the best dry cleaner (Hint: There’s more than one!)
Consider Your Wants and Needs
Before you begin your search for the best dry cleaners, you first need to think about your own wants and needs.
Make a list of requirements that you can’t do without. You can create this list by asking yourself some questions:
- Do I need the dry cleaners to be within walking distance?
- Does the cleaner need to be eco-conscious?
- What’s my budget?
- Do I need pickup and delivery service?
Budget and time play a huge role in picking the best dry cleaners. Make sure to consider these factors before narrowing down your options.
Find Out Where the Actual Cleaning is Done
Dry cleaning stores fall into two categories: ones that do the cleaning in their own facility and ones that ship the dry cleaning to a 3rd party company
A dry cleaning company that has one central plant along with several satellite stores, also known as drop or dry stores, can more closely monitor quality, ensuring you look your best.
The stores that do cleaning on site are known as package stores. These stores own their own equipment as well. With an operation that has several package stores, there is less oversight ensuring that quality standards are consistently met.
The other type of dry cleaners don’t have their own facility and send all of your items to a third party for processing. With this arrangement, the person you interact with has no say over the outcome of the final product.
Ask About Solvents
In order to select the best dry cleaners, it’s also very important to ask about solvents.
Some solvents are more environmentally-friendly than others. There is also the consideration of the cleaning power of the various solvents. The best cleaners utilize multiple cleaning solvents, and will do so responsibly.
Also, some dry cleaners use their cleaning fluids more than once. This means that dirt from previous loads could get deposited into your load. This is true for many discount cleaners. It’s too expensive for them to run the distillation machine on all of the solvent after each load. They will instead send a fraction to be distilled (separated from the impurities) and the rest (including all of the dirt) will go back to the tank to be used on the next load.
You should only work with dry cleaners who use freshly distilled or freshly purified loads for every wash cycle.
Ask About Equipment
Pressing is what gives clothes that professional, crisp look.
But, there are two ways to press clothing. And one way produces significantly better results than the other.
Clothing can either be pressed by hand or by a machine. Machine pressing involves blowing hot steam through a garment to smooth out wrinkles. Hand pressing takes a long time and can be very expensive.
It’s best to choose a dry cleaner who pre-treats your clothing with machine presses, then finishes by hand. This hybid model gives the best overall final quality.
Even the best dry cleaners make mistakes.
It’s rare, but clothing can get damaged during the dry cleaning process. However, most dry cleaners only offer you a mulitple of the cleaning price paid.
If the cleaning charge is $2, you may only be offered $20 for a damaged item. Full service establishments will offer you full price for newer items and a bit less for older or more worn items.
Pro Tip: Make sure to clean out the pockets before dropping off items. Most cleaners won’t be held liable for damaged goods that are left inside pockets.
Flexible Business Hours
Most of us work 9-5 jobs. Unfortunately, so do many dry cleaners.
If your boss is going to throw a fit about you leaving during the day to pick up your dry cleaning, make sure you pick a store that’s open on weekends or late nights.
Alternatively, look for a dry cleaners that will pickup and deliver your cleaning for free while you are at work.
Word of Mouth
News travels fast, both good and bad.
Make sure to ask your friends and your colleagues for recommendations.
They have nothing to gain or lose by offering you advice, so often times their input is the most valuable. Or, if you know someone in your neighborhood or friend circle who’s always sharply-dressed, ask them as well.
You should also check online reviews on both the company’s site and on review sites like The Knot.
Certificates and Affiliations
Likely, the counter attendant doesn’t have any special certification. But, you can ask them if anyone in the store does.
There are all kinds of affiliations dry cleaners can hold: Association of Wedding Gown Specialists, or affiliations with the International Fabricare Institute or the Dry Cleaning & Laundry Institute.
Observe the Counter Clerk
Of course, the counter clerk shouldn’t be overlooked.
Although they’re likely not the ones doing the cleaning, they still should be professional. A quality counter clerk will inspect your garments carefully and ask about any stains that need special attention.
If the counter clerk shows indifference when you walk in, it could be a bad sign for the rest of what’s to come.
When searching for the best dry cleaners, don’t forget to ask about extra perks as well.
Dry cleaners that offer tailoring or alterations can be a huge bonus!
Put Their Skills to the Test
Once you’ve found a dry cleaner who meets your needs, it’s time to put their skills to the test.
But, don’t bring in your whole work wardrobe all at once or a specialty item like a wedding dress.
Instead, bring in one item that you don’t really care about as a trial run. It’s a good idea to pick one that has a stain or that could use some extra love.
If they do a good job with this item, then you can start bringing in your regular wardrobe.
Finding the Best Dry Cleaners: Wrap Up
We hope this guide helps you select the best dry cleaners in your area.
Please let us know how your search turns out. If you have any questions about treating specific clothing items, please drop a comment below.
Janet Davis Cleaners, Detroit’s Best Dry Cleaners, services all your dry cleaning needs in Southeastern Michigan, with delivery throughout Oakland and Wayne Counties. We have locations in Berkley (near Royal Oak) and Bloomfield (near Birmingham). We clean casual, professional and specialty garments and are specialists in wedding gown preservation, gown cleaning and pressing, and garment restoration. Also, in business since 1938, you can trust Janet Davis Cleaners to clean your finest designer and couture garments. our dry cleaning for free (you pay the same as you would in our stores). Call us at 248-543-0340 or signup for our pickup and delivery service online.