Our most frequently Asked Questions.

What is Dry Cleaning?

Dry cleaning is a method of removing stains and dirt from garments and fabric by using little or no water. Actually, dry cleaning is not "dry" because solvents or liquids are used to perform the cleaning but, with little water, thus the term "dry."

Dry cleaning machines are similar to front load washing machines in that a large tumbling basket is used to facilitate the cleaning process. Garments are placed in this basket, which is partially filled with solvent, and tumbled through the solvent. This agitation and flushing action of the solvent are responsible for the majority of the cleaning.

There are filters to pick up impurities, storage tanks for the solvent – hopefully one for white garments and one for dark garments – a distillation system to keep the solution clear like water, computer or card controllers etc. The solvents most widely used are percloroethylene and hydrocarbon. Some of the more difficult stains are removed with the use of chemical agents, water, steam, air, and vacuum on what is called a "spotting board." This technique is performed both before and after cleaning and the stains are removed individually.

What should the consumer expect from their dry cleaner experience?

Consumers should expect superlative customer service, outstanding quality, and a 100% Safe-Cleaning Guarantee™. Customers should be able to ask for advice about all fabrics, and expect accurate information about the proper care for clothing, household items, bridal, suede, leather, and heirloom items.

Today’s best drycleaners are continually educating customer service staff and production employees.

What new fabrics should be dry cleaned?

Most “better” fabrics should be drycleaned. Designers are readily using 4-ply polyester, organza, chiffon, taffeta, acetate, linen and linen blends and, of course, silk and satin. All of these fabrics require professional care.

What can the dry cleaning process do? What is the extent of its cleaning abilities?

Since we now know that the drycleaning process involves many steps, we’ll address the “cleaning” process first. Drycleaning removes body and food oils, wax, and most things that contain oil. Water-based stains such as soda, coffee, alcohol and perspiration require extra spotting prior to drycleaning, which is why it’s so important to select a cleaner with great technical skills. Leading Cleaners affiliates specialize in designer & couture clothing, so they know how to best remove water-based stains. Stains such as paint, ink, curry and superglue, as well as stains that have aged may not be completely removed.

The second part of the “process” is the finishing. A quality cleaner can “finish” a garment without incurring shine, fabric and button impressions, crooked pleats and such. A garment can be expertly cleaned but, if the finishing is sub par, the garment can look cheap and the longevity can be compromised.

What does dry cleaning involve?

The process encompasses; the acceptance and inspection of clothing, with special attention to fabric, design and construction; application of tags for identification and emptying of pockets; protection of buttons, zippers and accouterments; pre-spotting for stains that do not come out in drycleaning; the actual cleaning and classification (which can involve the use of drycleaning solutions and, at times, water); post inspection; hand finishing, ironing and steaming; “nuance” control and final inspection to catch missing or broken buttons, minor repairs and such; and, finally, luxurious packaging.

FYI: Drycleaning is becoming a bit of a misnomer, in that the “dry” in drycleaning is not totally applicable these days. The proper term is Fabricare. From the inception, drycleaning — which was discovered in France in the late 1800’s and originally used Kerosene — involved the use of either a petroleum product or a synthetic solvent, neither of which contained water. Today, there are so many solvents, of which water is one, that the term drycleaning is not totally applicable

Why do spots sometimes show up after dry cleaning that weren't visible before?

One of the dry cleaners worst enemies are "invisible stains," such as spray from a grapefruit or apple, hairspray and perfume. These are the stains that you may see on your freshly cleaned garments and exclaim, "That wasn't there when I gave it to you!"

These types of stains are not visible until the heat associated with the drying cycle or pressing made the stain visible. The sugar of the apple stain caramelized and the oil stains oxidized making them visible. Dry cleaning may not remove these, without the help of an expert technician, and some may never be removed.

If you know of any such “invisible stains,” be sure to point them out to the customer service representative so they can be flushed out before drycleaning.

What is spot cleaning?

Spot cleaning a garment is basically what the title implies. A garment is hand cleaned only in the areas where spots are noticeable. Spot cleaning is performed if portions of the garment are not capable of withstanding an overall cleaning method or if the garment is basically clean and a small area has a stain.

In addition to spot cleaning we do what we call "Freshen Up" a garment. In freshening up a garment, the garment is cleaned entirely by hand and then pressed. Cleaning includes servicing the under arms, wiping down the lining with a solution, spot cleaning and pressing.

What does it mean if my clothes smell of cleaning solvent?

If your clothes are returned to you from the dry cleaner and smell of solvent, it's time to change cleaners. This smell is a sign of impure solutions and bacteria growth in the system. Freshly distilled solvent should be used on every load to properly care for your clothes. A properly maintained dry cleaning system should produce odor free clothes with every cleaning.