When you have clothing that needs to look sharp, like a suit, dress, sweater, or dress shirt, chances are you take it to the dry cleaners. But many nice articles of clothing don’t actually need to be dry cleaned—often, having your clothing laundered and pressed is a better choice.
So, what is the difference between laundering and dry cleaning?
The short answer - water.
Dry Cleaning: When your clothes are dry cleaned, non-water based solvents are used to remove stains, before they are crisply pressed.
Launder & Press: With laundered items, water and detergent are used. Your clothes are washed in a commercial-grade washing machine, emerge slightly damp, and then are individually pressed.
Why Launder & Press?
So what's the benefit of using Launder & Press?
• It's gentle on fabric: The chemicals used to dry clean your clothes can cause fabrics to deteriorate over time. Laundering, on the other hand, removes stains and everyday grime using water and gentler detergents.
• It's ideal for removing sweat, oils, and dirt: Laundering is actually more effective than dry cleaning at removing sweat and oil from fabrics, so it is typically the best choice for dress shirts and cotton blouses. After clothes are laundered, they are pressed and hung for that crisp, fresh-from-the-cleaner look.
High-quality laundry services like Rinse read the care label on your clothing and make the call between chemical dry cleaning and laundering to maximize the life of your clothes. When you’re the one making the call, read the label: if it doesn’t say “Dry Clean Only,” ask for Launder & Press. Your clothes will thank you!
Why Dry Clean?
You may be thinking - Why on earth would anyone choose to dry clean when Launder & Press is just as effective (if not more in some cases) and gentler on fabrics? Well, the truth is, it really depends on the fabric and the piece.
• It's ideal for clothing made of natural fibers, like silk or wool because water can have an adverse effect on the fabric. Water can cause the fibers in the fabric to become rigid and even cause the garment to shrink, fade, or lose its shape.
• It's often the only way to get out certain stains: When an item is dry cleaned, it also goes through the “pre-spotting” process where an experienced cleaner will examine each garment to locate stains and determine the source so that they can treat the stain with the appropriate non-aqueous solvent. It’s not uncommon for a pre-spotter to have decades of experience!
A helpful tip to extend the life of your clothes: If you know the source of any stain on your garment, let your dry cleaner know. Be it ketchup, wine, or a splash from a puddle, your dry cleaner will use that information to choose the right solvent and minimize the risk of damage.
There’s a reason both dry cleaning and launder & press are offered today—each serves a different, valuable purpose. Both are aptly named and both keep you looking sharp!
Learn more about How Dry Cleaning Works from our COO James. He grew up in dry cleaning!
Or, read Our Guide For Which Clothes You Should And Shouldn't Dry Clean.