Originally Posted by farfisa23
The debate begins:
At 2 bucks a pop to clean a shirt, I can deal with that, but dry cleaning near me at 5 a shirt adds up.
What is some advice on cleaning your work dress shirts? Would you dry clean your Purple Label, but not your Blue Label?
I dry clean sometimes, but really, can I launder my Egyptian cotton Burberry button downs without problems?
To the floor it goes.
NEVER EVER NEVER EVER DRYCLEAN YOUR SHIRTS. This is coming from someone who has worked at a drycleaner washing/ironing (and drycleaning upon request) shirts for 8+ years.
Few top reasons:
1. Unlike water, drycleaning solvent needs to be reused. Even if distillation and recycling of the solvent goes perfectly, your solvent isn't 100% clear. This means that for bright white shirts, it can come out looking duller (in addition, many white shirts actually add a flourescent dye to make it look brighter white; this flourescent dye is very soluble in drycleaning solvent, but not as much in water)
2. Drycleaning solvent doesn't do a good job on water-based stains. Most stains are "combination," which means that there's both a oil-based component and a water-based component (e.g. food stains), and it's much easier to pre-treat oil-based stains that will go in the laundry than water-based stains that are going in the drycleaning machine.
3. Drycleaning machines need to use a super-high heat (I think ~180F ish?) to "dry" the clothes to take out all the solvent whilst in the machine. This high heat inevitably breaks down the integrity of the cotton and reduces the life of the shirt.
There's a few more minor reasons, but those are the big ones; drycleaning costs more and it's worse for your shirts. So why bother?
Maybe I've always gotten lucky with my drycleaners, but generally, I don't find that my shirts get damaged much (although I have mostly Jantzen and RLPL, if that matters) whether it's the fabric or buttons. I've had a recent thing where black extra-thick plastic buttons broke on a shirt, but I completely understand why (since I know the process and the machines involved in pressing the said shirts), and considering I pay $2 a shirt in Manhattan, I am okay replacing those buttons with something that I know won't break in the ironing process. (incidentally, I'm going to experiment with contrast "crow's feet" pattern stitching on the buttons)
I think it's great to wash/iron at home, but I think for some people, it not something that's practical; for those that can't do it at home, I think a little exploring in your local drycleaners will usually yield at least one good place that will do it at reasonable cost.