Why being “green” is fundamental in dry cleaning

Dry cleaning is essential if your wardrobe is full of clothing made from different fabrics and textiles. If keeping your garments looking fresh and new is important to you, dry cleaning is fundamental.  

If you take a look at the labels of all your jumpers, suits, coats, blouses and shirts, it’s highly probable that they’ll all say “dry clean only”. But, before we start talking about why being “green” is so important in dry cleaning, let’s first establish why dry cleaning is necessary. 

After all, frequent dry cleaning can be quite costly if you’re heading off down to the local dry cleaners every weekend with a sack full of dirty laundry.

Why Do You Need Dry Cleaning?

Dry cleaning is necessary to protect fabrics that would otherwise be damaged by the heat or water of your traditional washer and dryer. In addition, dry cleaning removes stains that are not removed by a “wet” cleaning process, such as grease and oil.

Heat and water can damage delicate fabrics by altering their structure during the cleaning process. Water can swell and stretch fibres which can cause the fibre to lose its original shape. 

In addition, stain removal often requires a water-based detergent and a high degree of heat to dissolve stains effectively, further increasing the potential to damage the fabric. As such, dry cleaning is the appropriate cleaning method for delicate or stained fabrics that shouldn’t come in contact with water.

Environmental Concerns

Some areas of dry cleaning have caused controversy because of the toxicity of the chemicals used. Tetrachloroethylene, for example, is a common soil and water contaminant that is extremely difficult to clean up. 

Thankfully, modern day regulations are strict regarding solvent emissions, so most modern dry cleaning machines extract and recapture 99.9% of the solvent used in the process.

At American Dry Cleaning Company, we’re immensely proud to be the only operator in the world to have invested and trained our whole team, across the board, in the latest cutting edge non-toxic and odourless environmental biodegradable solvent technology.

What’s more, we only use detergents which are 100% free of phosphates and all our dry-cleaning machines use heat pump technology to generate energy savings. We also configure all the machines used in our dry-cleaning processes to use the least amount of steam, energy and water as possible.

What Clothes Should You Dry Clean?

Clothing labels are usually the best place to check for the cleaning method, but there is a little room for interpretation. Note that some labels will read “dry clean only” while others will simply read “dry clean.” 

Since manufacturers are only required to list one method of cleaning the garment rather than all the options, by bringing your garments to the dry cleaners is a sure-fire way of playing it safe.

American Dry Cleaning Company is your local expert in managing all different types of fabric, from fabrics that are difficult to clean like suede, leather, and fur to everyday fabrics like cotton and nylon. 

If you’re unsure, we recommend always bringing in anything made from silk, leather, acetate, suede, velvet, and wool. Cotton, linen, cashmere, polyester, acrylic, and nylon can usually be washed at home, but when it doubt, bring it to American Dry Cleaning Company.

When considering the category of the garment, as a rule of thumb you should always dry clean suits, office wear like smart trousers or skirts and dresses, formal wear and overcoats.

Some Advice To Stay “Green”

As being “green” is so important to American Dry Cleaning Company, we’ve come up with some tips to help you stay environmentally friendly;

  • Wear washable undergarments (underwear and undershirts) to protect dry clean only garments from sweat and deodorant
  • Consider wearing washable dress shirts under ‘dry clean only’ jumpers to extend their wear between cleanings
  • Hang ‘dry clean only’ clothes outside or by a vent to air them out after wearing, prior to returning them to your wardrobe
  • Avoid spraying perfumes and after-shaves directly onto ‘dry clean only’ clothes, as it will linger long after it’s worn off your skin
  • Avoid spraying ‘dry clean only’ clothes with “fresheners”. They contain alcohol and other chemicals specifically designed to latch onto odours but the product itself will linger and build in clothes over time
  • Use a clothing brush to freshen dusty clothes or to remove dry dirt or lint

Staying Green And Keeping Clean

At American Dry Cleaning Company, we back ourselves to be the best option in London as your “green” dry cleaner. With over 30 stores all over London’s high streets, one of our branches is never far away and we’re always willing to help with cleaning, altering, repairing, tailoring, pressing or restoring your favourite garments – all in a green and environmentally friendly way.

Our services include getting your clothes picked up, getting them back to looking “store new” again, and then even getting them back to you before you’ve had time to even spill tomato sauce down your next white shirt!

We take being green so seriously, we don’t even want you throwing anything away that you think is damaged. We’ll restore shoes, curtains, rugs, bed linen, cushions, soft toys, niche ski wear, designer handbags, and even house keys.

By showing innovation and a desire to prove that a business can still be successful whilst also being willing to change to better suit the environment, makes for us to be recognised amongst our peers on the high street as the market leader in “greener” dry cleaning.

For greener dry cleaning in London, American Dry Cleaning Company is the best option out there.

The three wise men may have come and gone but at American Dry Cleaning Company, we’ve still got more Winter-related wisdom to impart.

How to best look after your Winter woollen clothes is often a common topic of debate, even amongst the experts. How often should you wash wool? Should you dry clean or hand wash? What’s the best way to store woollen clothes over the periods they’re not being used?

Whichever magazines you read, you’re likely to find a different answer each claiming to be the definitive source of wisdom. You’ll no longer be in any doubt at all – until the next magazine you read!

So at American Dry Cleaning Company, we’ve set out to be as objective as possible and to offer you twelve pieces of useful advice for the twelve days of Christmas, in order to keep your jumpers and scarves in the best condition that they can be.

One – Wash your woollies every five wears

You may be surprised as five wears of a woollen jumper may seem like a lot, but here’s why. The woolly jumper is almost always an outerwear layer of clothing so it’s not really in contact with your body, holding sweat and bodily bacteria. What’s more, a woolly jumper is not really subjected to outdoor dirt like an outer winter coat is or inner clothing layers are.

Cotton, silk and cashmere should obviously be washed much more frequently since these pieces are more delicate and come into closer contact with your skin. However, wool and other durable man-made blends like acrylic and polyester can withstand up to five wears.

Two – Always dry clean your woollen clothes

Dry cleaning is essential for wool or wool blends, hence most labels will say “dry clean only”. We’re not just saying that as a dry cleaning company either. Washing wool at home in your washing machine will damage the fabric and probably ruin your jumper as well as shortening the life of the clothing by not using the correct processes that woollen objects need.

At American Dry Cleaning Company, we specialise in the specific treatments that woolly garments require in order to keep them fresh and like new.

Three – The proper way to dry woollen clothes

If you choose to wash your woollen scarves or gloves at home via hand, never wring them out when you take them out of the sink as you’ll really damage the fabrics by twisting them. Gently squeeze all the water you can out of the garments and then lay them flat on a towel.

The trick is to then roll the towel up like a sleeping bag, really squeezing out the excess water. Then, leave them all to dry properly on a drying rack.

Four – Keeping your jumpers looking new off the shelf

Obviously, the best way to keep your jumpers looking completely new is to get them dry cleaned at American Dry Clean Company. We’ll always return them in pristine condition.

However, the unavoidable truth is that after a few wears, you may start seeing woollen bobbles accumulating on your jumpers. These little bobbles are called pills and what you see happening on the fabric is called pilling. Wool pilling is quite common, and a natural process of many products made out of wool. Wherever there is friction applied to the garment, short or broken fibres start to intertwine with each other and form little knots.

You can remove pills easily by holding the sweater flat with one hand and slicing them off one at a time with a simple razor or comb.

Five – Fixing a snag in the wool

Again, American Dry Cleaning Company is the best choice in London for repairing and restoring minor rips, tears and snags in your garments and accessories. You’d be amazed at the range of things we can fix!

But, as it’s the season of goodwill, here’s another piece of advice about how you can fix a snag in your jumper within a minute.

Find a crochet hook and turn the garment inside out. Insert the crochet hook into the same stitch as the snag and gently pull it through. To keep the stitch in place, tie it in a knot a few times. Then, turn the jumper back right side out. Hey presto! The snag is now on the inside of the jumper and no one can see it.

Six – Avoid stretching your jumper by hanging it correctly

Wool is quite heavy and as a result, when you hang your jumpers in the wardrobe, they can stretch under their own weight. This means that the next time you put the garment on, it looks much too long and suddenly your favourite jumper makes you look as you did on your first day of school.

Here’s a trick though; fold the jumper in half. Then, place the hanger hook in the armpit and fold the waist and sleeves over the hanger. This way, the jumper won’t stretch at all and you’ll save space in your wardrobe too!

Seven – A safe way of shrinking a stretched-out jumper

If you have just taken your favourite jumper out of the wardrobe and it looks more like a dress than anything else, don’t despair. There is a safe way of shrinking the garment back down to its original size.

Wet it by spraying cool water over the jumper and then put it in the tumble-dryer on a very high heat until it’s bone dry. You can gauge how much you want to shrink the jumper by determining how wet it is to start with: if it’s completely soaking it will shrink more while only dampening it with a fine spray will shrink it less.

Eight – Keep the sleeves in shape

Quite often, the cuffs of your woollen jumpers will get stretched while the rest of the garment stays the same. To tighten the cuffs, dip the stretched area in hot water and blot it dry. Then, place the wet cuffs on a white towel and dry them with a hair dryer set on the hottest setting. This will slightly felt the fibres and tighten the cuffs to match the rest of the jumper.

Nine – The best way of storing your Winter woollies

When storing your woollen garments for longer periods of time, usually over the Summer months, always use cotton or linen bags, not plastic ones. Cotton and linen allow air to flow through naturally while plastic can cause garments to sweat and smell, particularly in warm weather.

To prevent moths from getting near your woollen jumpers, store them in bags with proper closures such as zips or strong and secure fasteners. Moths prefer wool and cashmere to cotton and synthetics but if you’re going to store them together, it’s important that all the clothes have been dry cleaned properly or they will attract moths.

Ten – Keep moths at bay

Moths can cause significant damage not just to your clothing, but also to your carpets and curtains. That’s why it’s necessary to take steps to keep them at bay very seriously.

Usually, the first sign that you have a moth problem is when you pull out your Winter jumpers and discover they’re laced with tiny holes. Clothes moths are real pests and will happily munch their way through your finest clothes with no sense of guilt. They like to lie low in dark corners, snacking on your designer labels.

It’s actually not the adult moths but the larvae that cause the damage as they lay their eggs in dark, quiet spots where there is plenty of food. So where is this dream banquet? In the back of your wardrobe.

Moths love woollen garments, so in theory cottons and synthetics should be safe. However, that won’t stop them gnawing through them in their hunt for something woolly. They particularly love clothing that comes with a side of sweat, dirt or dust, so it’s wise to have your Winter clothes professionally dry cleaned before storing them in the Spring, and when unpacking them again at the beginning of the Winter.

Eleven – Don’t go bonkers, look for conkers!

It may sound far-fetched and slightly crazy, but placing conkers inside your wardrobes actually helps keep moths away. The horse chestnut seeds contain a chemical called triterpenoid saponin that pests like moths just hate. It will ward them off and should keep your Winter clothes in much better condition.

If you’re not too keen on spiders either, this trick also works when placing conkers behind the sofa in Autumn when they start invading the house!

Twelve – Give American Dry Cleaning a visit and let the professionals take care of it

Our last piece of advice is our soundest piece yet. Bring your warm Winter clothes, your curtains, your linen, your snazzy Summer wear and anything else around your else that you think needs a clean to us and we guarantee we’ll get it looking better than new.

We’re London’s premier dry cleaning company and we simply offer the best service available for the widest range of products. We pride ourselves not just on being green, but continuing to develop our environmentally friendly processes so that we’re greener every time you visit us, and we promise to mix sustainability with the best quality available.

We’ll never compromise on our reputation, and if we see any additional repairs that need doing, we’ll fix them for free before returning your items to you as close to new as it’s possible to get them.

We’ll obviously take care of any of the other eleven problems we’ve detailed, and with us, your clothes and other items are in the best hands. Now that sounds like the best piece of advice we’ve given yet!