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Dry cleaner horror story.

NewYorkBuck

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I recently brought a custom shirt to a NYC dry cleaner. When it returned, there was a large bluish-green ink spot under the left arm (the shirt was blue). Upon returning to the cleaner - not only did he claim he was not responsible, but he didnt even offer to rewash the shirt. I could take the SOB to court, but really taking a day off of work isnt worth it for me for a $100 shirt with only half of its life left. (BTW - the cleaner was KM Tops cleaners at 84th and Bway on the upper west).

Even switching to new cleaners, it seems that even time I get shirts back, buttons are cracked or missing. The only places that seems to do it right is Paulette or Hallack, but paying $5 to clean a shirt gets steep.

Any one else have an incident like this?
 

j

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Hmm.. maybe take an afternoon to go stand outside his shop with the shirt in question for passersby/potential customers to examine. That might be more enjoyable and rewarding than court.
 

Patrick Bateman

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If you're at 84th & Broadway, why not walk 1 block south to Oxford Cleaners? It's just off the SE corner of 83rd and Broadway, in the bottom floor of an apartment building. (They have many more locations throughout NYC as well.)

They do a good job but be sure to ask for the shirts to be hand-ironed. The price is $3.50 compared to the $1.50 they charge for machine-pressed shirts.

I don't know about the machine-pressed shirts, but for the hand-iron ones, they do not staple the ticket to the label of your shirt, or mark it with permanent ink, etc.
 

j

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When looking for a cleaner, does anyone ask to see some of their shirts waiting for pickup? It seems like it would be pretty easy to see how they treat them, at least as regards writing, stapling (
), shiny cuffs & collars, etc.
 

montecristo#4

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Launder and iron your own shirts.

A little detergent (not a full cup); delicates cycle; hang until damp; warm iron. It's therapeutic, and your shirts will love you.
 

Horace

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My horor story:

just paid $19 to have a formal shirt cleaned.

and $35 for a cashmere sweater
 

stache

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Horace, where? Methinks they saw you coming -
 

The Clothing Doctor

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I apologize for the long posting here, but I can't answer this without some depth ... I'm a 3rd-generation drycleaner, clothing store owner, author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping and Caring for Clothing and Executive Director of Leading Cleaners Internationale (LCI), of which Hallak Cleaners & Meurice Garment Care are members. We also have very qualified LCI affiliates all over the country that guarantee their work. I hear your complaint and I feel your frustration. There are an inordinate amount of poor drycleaning and laundry services out there. In most cases, you get what you pay for. You may also want to take your "better" clothing to a better cleaner. First, most stains that are visible after laundering are the result of a consumer issue; perspiration, a spill, or some unkown disaster that surfaces after the heat of pressing. I see it everyday. With a color-change like you describe, it could be a consumer issue, and there's a small chance that it could be a chemical used in the laundry. It's unlikely that the stain came from the laundry because they rarely do any extra spotting to have caused it. It sounds like an "acid" color change. If the cleaner is a member of IFI (Internationale Fabricare Institute) or NCA (National Cleaners Association - based in NYC), they could have the stain analyzed. In fact, if your cleaner will not offer this service, both Hallak & Meurice will do it for you. There is a fee but, for your own edification, it might be worth it. The report, if it finds in your favor, may not mean anything to your unprofessional cleaner, but it may set you at ease a bit or teach you something valuable. When looking for a great cleaner, ask to see some sample orders of shirts, suits, rayon & microfiber etc. Look for shine, cracked & missing buttons, more than one crease in the legs. If none of these eixist, then you have found the "beginning of a beautiful relationship." For whatever it's worth, water-based stains and spills have a ring around them -- like a road map -- and oily-type stains have NO outline. Secondly, if you rinse out the underarm of your dress shirts after wearing (using 1-part vinegar, 1-part clear liquid dishwashing detergent and 6-parts water), it will remove a lot of underarm stains, making it easier for the laundry to do the rest when you take shirts in a week later. If I can be of service to anyone on the Forum, you are welcome to write me at [email protected] or check out www.clothingdoctor.com I hope this helped you. Best, Steve Boorstein The Clothing Doctor
 

kabert

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The Clothing Doctor. Sir, I know you were formerly associated with the best cleaner in the DC area, Parkway Cleaners on Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase, MD, just inside the Beltway. I wonder if you might be able to give those of us in DC (and elsewhere if you know), the names of the best cleaners in your opinion -- perhaps the top 3? Parkway isn't convenient to some of us and it's very, very expensive. Thanks, and welcome to SF.
 

RJman

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The Clothing Doctor.  Sir, I know you were formerly associated with the best cleaner in the DC area, Parkway Cleaners on Connecticut Avenue in Chevy Chase, MD, just inside the Beltway.  I wonder if you might be able to give those of us in DC (and elsewhere if you know), the names of the best cleaners in your opinion -- perhaps the top 3?   Parkway isn't convenient to some of us and it's very, very expensive.  Thanks, and welcome to SF.
Peninou is the best in SF.

Kabert, Parkway picks up and delivers for free all over the area.

Of course, I only use them on things I think are really delicate or tough jobs.
 

NewYorkBuck

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Steve -

Thanks for your help. To finish the story - I brought the shirt to 4 other cleaners, and all of them said that the stain could not be removed. With nothing to lose, I decided to try to remove it myself. I used oxy-clean, and it did in fact remove the stain - only to have the fabric so weakened that it washed away when I rinsed it.

As far as a consumer stain, I doubt it for the following reasons -

1) I always examine my garments before sending them to the cleaners to identify stains so they can spot clean. It was not there when I brought it in.

2) The location of the stain. It was under the left arm on the body, almost in the arm pit. It could not have been a pen, as I am left handed and would instead have marked my right side. Also, it is in an area that is covered by my left arm for 99% of the day. (It is these reasons why I think I would have won in court).

All in all, it was his attitude that really pissed me off the most. Ive had subtle problems before over the years with other cleaners, but nothing like this and never this type of response. I guess he didnt care about losing $2500+ worth of business per year for a $100 shirt. What a fool.
 

LA Guy

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retronotmetro

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Do it.  It is completely worth the peace of mind.  The best cleaners I knew were the "French Laundry" in Pasadena.  Yes, they will also take you to the wash for jobs like pleated formal shirts, but a $15 fee to ensure that an infrequently worn $460 formal shirt is not ruined seems pretty sensible.
My suits and my good shirts go to French Laundry. They are very good, but they are expensive. One can dull the sticker shock by walking around the corner to have lunch at Pie 'n' Burger or across the street for a cup of Peet's.
 

philosophe

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Perhaps we need a "recommended cleaners" thread. Gem Cleaners here in Philadelphia is great. Whenever I'm in the shop, I'm struck by the volume of business done via FedEx. Some of that is the snowbirds, but some of it must be faithful (desperate?) customers who've moved someplace without a good drycleaner.
 

Horace

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The only places that seems to do it right is Paulette or Hallack, but paying $5 to clean a shirt gets steep.
Do it. Â It is completely worth the peace of mind. Â The best cleaners I knew were the "French Laundry" in Pasadena. Â Yes, they will also take you to the wash for jobs like pleated formal shirts, but a $15 fee to ensure that an infrequently worn $460 formal shirt is not ruined seems pretty sensible.
Yes, French Laundry is brillant. Worth doing for detachable collars and formal shirts and hard to remove stains. I've sent by post laundry to them. I have been paying at another cleaner US$6.00 per shirt -- for my expensive stuff -- but have taken recently (or rather re-taken) to simply throwing the old Brooks oxfords in the wash.
 

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