Dry Cleaning FAQ

Q. My husband buys all 100% cotton oxford, button-down shirts. I am starting to notice some tiny holes here and there. What is causing this?

A. The oxford cloth weave consists of two, thin warp yarns to every soft, thicker yarn in the filling direction. The unbalanced construction causes the thin yarns to break, leaving tiny holes. Manufactures could use a high twist in the yarn to retard the development of holes, but eventually any oxford weave will develop tiny pinholes.

Remember all the yarns in an oxford shirt receive the same care, but the constant abrasion in wear cause only the thin yarns to weaken and tear.

Q. I like to have all of my clothes dry cleaned. If the care label says "washable" can it be dry cleaned?

A. Not necessarily. The dyes and/or sizing may be solvent suitable and may require wet cleaning for best results. Yet again there may be other safe methods of processing a garment. The manufacturer is required to list only one safe method. Rely on your professional drycleaner! With the experience, training and expertise of our dry cleaning technicians we can properly test each of these garments to ensure that your clothing wardrobe is properly cared for.

Q. Does dry cleaning shorten the life of a garment?

A. On the contrary, dry cleaning prolongs a garments life. Not only do stains set with age, making the garment unwearable, but ground-in dirt and soil act as abrasives, causing rapid wear of fibers. Insects are attracted to soiled clothes and cause further damage.

Q. Should I have all matching pieces together?

A. Absolutely! As professional drycleaners, we can never be sure of what types of dyes and or sizing the manufacturer or importer has used. Quality standards in foreign countries are not the same as we've come to expect here in the U.S. If all pieces are cleaned together, the color and sheen will always match. This applies not only to garments, but to bedroom ensembles and drapery treatments as well.

Q. Should I store my clothes in the bags my cleaned clothes are returned in?

A. The bags we provide are intended to protect your garments until you get them home. Fabric needs to breathe. It's best to store clothing uncovered or in fabric garment bags.

Q. I recently purchased a dress with a care label that says, "French Clean Only" what does this mean?

A. A firm in Paris, France was credited with being the first to use an organic solvent in dry cleaning garments. This process became known as "French Cleaning". Some garment manufactures are using the term to suggest that the garment be hand cleaned in solvent. The term may also imply that the garment can only be spot cleaned because no immersion methods are acceptable. This instruction does not meet the FTC Care Label Rule, nor is it practical because it would not produce a clean garment. As a consumer you should be aware of the risks of cleaning such a garment. Often there is no safe way to care for these garments.

Q. What causes a "puckering" and excess fabric in shirt collars and cuffs?

A. This is caused by excessive shrinkage of the interfacing within the collar and cuffs. The manufacturer must select an interfacing, which is compatible with the shirt fabric.

Q. Why do shirt buttons crack or break as often as they do?

A. Buttons may crack during the pressing process, even though we keep our press padding in excellent condition. The majority of buttons are made from a polyester resin. The strength of the buttons depends on the amount of polyester in the resin; some importers use off-quality buttons.

Off quality buttons do not meet the requirements in one or all of the following criteria; color, visual inclusions, chips or cracks, and uniformity of size. Manufactures use these off-quality buttons to save money, but this results in higher than average breakage. We do our utmost to replace all missing and cracked buttons.

Q. I purchased an expensive Tommy Hilfiger multi-colored shirt and the colors have bled. Should this have happened?

A. If the dyes in a multi-colored shirt are not colorfast to water, bleeding will occur. This migration of the dye into the surrounding areas is not acceptable unless the fabric is madras (plaid or stripe that is guaranteed to bleed). The FTC Care Label Rule states that the color in a garment must withstand the recommended care procedure. Our experience in laundering Tommy Hilfiger shirts has been exceptionally good.

As an aside, in March of this year, Tommy Hilfiger was fined $300,000.00 for violations of the Care Label Rule. His company has since joined the International Fabricare Institute (IFI) with hopes to avoid future problems by working with the industry to address customer complaints, solve cleaning problems and test garment construction to ensure appropriate care labeling.

Q. How long can I expect a shirt to last?

A. Industry experience shows that, on average, shirts have a two-year wear life expectancy. However the number of laundering is a better measuring method. The average shirt should have a wear life of 35 to 50 washings. This can vary depending on the amount of abrasions and strain placed on a shirt during wear, the fiber content, the type of fabric, and the laundering procedure.

Q. I think my shirts are shrinking. Other than how they feel when I wear them, how can I be sure?

A. Industry standards allow for a normal shrinkage of two percent. This is usually not enough to notice. Shrinkage beyond this is usually due to poorly stabilized materials. To be sure, measure the collar and sleeve length. Measure the collar from the beginning of the button hole to the center of the button. Measure the sleeve length in a straight line from the center of the back of the collar to the end of the cuff. If these measurements correspond to the shirt size, it has not shrunk.

Q. When a care label says "Machine Wash Warm" what temperature of water is considered warm?

A. "Warm" water should be 90-110 degrees Fahrenheit,. "Hot" water should be 120-150 degrees Fahrenheit. "Cold" water should be 85 degrees Fahrenheit or water for a cold tap. In our shirt laundry, the washing machines are computer controlled, to bring the water temperature to the exact temperature required for the specific type of garment being laundered.

Q. Does dry cleaning shrink clothes?

A. No, not if the dry cleaning process has been carefully controlled. We have the latest in dry cleaning equipment in each of our operations. They are all computer controlled with specific programs for each different garment and fabric type. Our dry cleaning technicians have been fully trained and have years of experience in handling even the most problematic and difficult fabrics and garments… You can have confidence when you leave your clothes in our care.

Q. Will my dry cleaned garments be odor-free and ready to wear?

A. Most definitely! We are professional drycleaners and are skilled in keeping the dry cleaning solvent clean and pure. We are also intent on using proper drying procedures.

Q. It seems most of my blouses and dresses are either rayon or silk. Should they be dry cleaned or washed?

A. Both silk and rayon fibers clean very well. However once the fiber has been woven into fabric and it is dyed and treated with various sizing, it becomes a whole different ballgame. It is important that the care label instruction on the garment be followed. This is where we, as your professional drycleaner, are best in making that decision. We’re the drycleaner you can trust!

Q. My friends keep telling me that club soda and hair spray are two of the best things for me to use in trying to get spots out. It that true?

A. I see trouble! Even water can cause problems on certain fabrics, dyes and sizing. If you want to try anything, please pre-test an unexposed seam. Wet the fabric and blot it with a white cloth. Rubbing while wet during home spotting can distort the yarns, causing light areas or chafing. Allow the area to air dry to determine if the dye or sizing have been disturbed.

Q. I’ve noticed some "dark spots", almost like raindrops on the shoulder area of my favorite silk blouse. What can they be?

A. Some silk dyes bleed or change color when exposed to solutions containing alcohol. Use deodorant, perfume and hair spray before you dress. If you need to pull your blouse over your head before using hair spray, protect your garment with a towel around your shoulders. Here’s another silk tip: Never leave a silk garment exposed to sunlight or high wattage artificial light. When transporting your silks to and from the cleaners, keep them in a bag or lay them in your trunk.

Q. Why did the beads on my silk sweater lose color when I had it cleaned?

A. The dyes used to color beads, buttons, and sequins, do not always perform the same way as the dyes used in the fabric of a garment. Some dyes are not resistant to dry cleaning fluid. General fading, dulling of the finish or even entire color loss can occur. Worse yet, in some cases, the color transfers from the trim and permanently stains the garment. The Care Label Rule clearly states that the care instructions must apply to all component parts of the garment, including any attached decorative trim. Do not hesitate to return this garment to the retailer for an adjustment. The retailer should likewise return it to the manufacturer.

Q. How long should I expect my draperies to last?

A. Experts tell us three years for unlined draperies and five years for lined draperies. There are several things you can do to extend the life expectancy, however. Dry clean draperies regularly to keep soil and grease from damaging fabrics. Rotate draperies, if possible, so that exposure to intense sunlight is varied. Guard carefully against water damage from open windows. Water rings develop and are almost impossible to remove, unless the fabric can be wet cleaned. This is usually not the case.

Q. My son got bubble gum all over his jeans. How can I get it out?

A. Kids do have a way of getting gum stuck to themselves and their clothing! Try this cure: put the jeans into a plastic bag and place in the freezer for 24 hours. Next, carefully scrape the gum from the fabric. Should traces remain, rub a little egg white on the stain before you launder them. As always, try this home remedy only on durable, everyday clothing. Your finer garments should come to us for professional cleaning care. We’re the drycleaner you can trust!

Q. Can I wash my wool blanket?

A. It’s always best to follow the manufactures instruction. Although the FTC does not require labels on blankets, care instructions are usually provided on permanent labels or temporary hang tags. Wool blankets can be made of either a woven or knit fabric construction and they require special precaution when cleaning. Hot water or hot drying temperatures can cause wool blankets to shrink and feel harsh and stiff. Wool blankets can be drycleaned successfully, or they can be machine washed in cold water on a gentle cycle with mild detergent, then line dried or tumble dried on low heat. Even thought you may follow the recommend care instructions, some wool blankets may still experience shrinkage. Industry standards allow for as much as 6% after five laundering! For example, a wool blanket that measures 81 x 108 can shrink as much as 4 ½" in the width and 6 ½" in the length. For ease in caring for your wool blankets, just bring them into us. Remember: We’re the drycleaner you can trust.

Q. A dress of mine was dry cleaned and after cleaning, the shoulders were a lighter shade than the rest of the dress, what happened?

A. The dyes on acetate and other blends of fabric are sensitive to the effects of nitrogen oxide gas found in the air. These gases are formed when air comes in contact with a heated surface, such as a furnace in the home. The gases collect on the fabric as it is stored in a closet. This type of color change may not be noticed until the garment has undergone the cleaning process. This color change cannot be reversed.

Q. I've been seeing commercials on TV about a product called Dryel. They make it sound like I can dry clean all my clothes at home in my clothes dryer. Is that possible?

A. Oh, if it were only that simple! That depends on what the word "clean" means! When you launder your clothes at home, you immerse them in water containing agents to aid in soil removal and retention of whiteness and brightness. You choose hot or cold water, normal or delicate cycle, and also select the length of agitation time, and decide whether to rinse once or twice. When your garments are professionally dry cleaned they also are totally immersed not in water but in solvents with the addition of detergent, brighteners and sizing. The dry cleaning cycle is computer controlled to ensure that each type of fiber, fabric, garment or household item receives the proper amount cleaning time, "rinsing" extraction, and just the right amount of drying time at the right temperature.

Dryel offers you spotting solutions and a bag to put your garments in and then instructs you to put it in the dryer for a specific amount of time .. Your garments are not totally immersed in a solution containing cleaning agents, they are not rinsed. We have found that the spotting solution can be effective on many water soluble stains. It is not effective on solvent soluble stains or combination stains. Dryel will give your garments a "fresh" odor after they have been tumbled. If that's what you're looking for, I would suggest to you that a fabric softener sheet would have the same effect!

Q. I have a pair of pants I want to be hemmed. Should I pin them myself or do you have someone to do it for me?

A. We have expert fitters at all of our locations to ensure you get the proper fit.

Q. My favorite pair of jeans have a in tear in the knee, what can you do and how will it look?

A. We will patch the hole for you by inserting a similar fabric on the backside and sewing neatly matching stitches in matching thread on the front. This process secures the hole and prevents it from getting larger.

Q. My friend gave me one of her old dresses which is a size 12, can you take it in to fit me (I'm a size 6)

A. The most any garment can usually be taken in is 1 to 2 sizes. Trying to take in garments any more will distort the line and style of the piece.


Sparkle Cleaners is a family owned and operated business with strong ties to the local community

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