Dry cleaning is often associated with those clothes you know you can’t wash at home. You don’t often question it, just assume that if clothes are “dry-clean only” they need to be dropped off down the street, and 4 days later they will be fresh and clean. Like a magician, dry-cleaners often keep their ways a secret hidden behind closed doors. Well, we want to give you an idea of what is actually happening when your suit jackets and dresses disappear down the carousel. Dry cleaning is actually a simple process, and it’s important to us that you know what we are doing when you trust us with your clothes.
Tagging and Pre-Treatment
When you drop your garments off with us, the first thing we do is tag the items. We take the item and create a tag and respective invoice to ensure the proper item is returned to you. If there are special directions for certain pieces, we separate those with a colored tag unique to the service required. Then, we take a look at the clothes and pre-treat any stains, which are probably the reason you brought it to us in the first place! Since stains are usually dried in by the time we receive an article of clothing, we treat it with a solvent that will help to break down any grease or oil from the culprit.
Dry Cleaning: Mystery Solved
So,here we are, the big reveal. After we pre-treat the clothes, they head into a machine that uses solvents and/or carbon dioxide instead of water, so there is no need to worry about water damaging your clothes. Even though they are liquid, the solvents are water free, hence why it is called dry cleaning. Other than that, however, the process then becomes very similar to that of a normal washing machine. The garments are placed into the drum of the dry cleaning machine and are agitated while gradually having the solvent’s pumped into the basin. This solvent draws out any soiling or staining. Clean solvent is continually pushed through as used solvent is cycled out, keeping your clothes free of stains while in the machine. Once the solvents dissolve any stains, the clothing is moved to its drying cycle. Often in the high 130s to low 140 degrees Fahrenheit, your items are dried so as to ensure any remaining chemicals are evaporated and your clothes are looking brand new.
Returning to You
Now that your clothes have been cleaned without using water (hence the reason we call it dry cleaning) it’s time to get them ready for pickup. We press your items to remove any traces of solvent, as well as any wrinkles. When you arrive to retrieve your garments, they will look as good as the day you purchased them.
Washing your clothes shouldn’t be a hassle, but we know life happens. If you run into a stain or have those precious few pieces you know are dry clean only, Concord Cleaners are here to help. Dry cleaning isn’t a magical or mysterious process, but we do it with care. Stop by one of our three St. Louis locations for your dry cleaning needs today!