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Dry cleaner used "sizing" on my suit

cloud

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I just got a suit back following a first visit to a dry cleaner. When I removed the plastic, the suit felt extremely stiff and rough, as if it had the hell starched out of it. I called the cleaner to ask what they had done, and the woman told me it was "sizing," not starch, and pitched it as good for the suit. Is anyone familiar with this? I can't find a lot of info on the web other than the technical description in page 9 of this file:

http://www.drycleancoalition.org/che...Operations.pdf

Sounds like sizing is sometimes used in the manufacture of a fabric or garment, but I have never heard of a cleaner just applying it to a suit as standard procedure (or applying it upon request, for that matter). Aside from the aesthetic issues with respect to the way the suit now drapes and feels, is sizing good or bad for the fabric?
 

MBreinin

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This is why my suits and SCs only go to the drycleaner if they have a visible stain, or can stand on their own.

Mike
 

Tyrone MacStiophain

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I'm curious about this too. One of the shirt care videos I watched warned to never use starch, and to use "at most a little sizing on the collar and cuffs". I've seen it for sale, but I don't know how it works.
 

nringo

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I've used it on shirts once in a while, I was under the impression it wasn't as harmful to the shirt as startch. It basically worked the same way though.
 

Autococker07

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I ran into sizing while posted to a small base in germany.... the PX there had no starch for my uniform shirts, but they had a can of "sizing" and they explained to me that it was like "starch light"... well, I ironed my uni with it, and it was indeed like a lighter coat of starch.... I have never seen or heard of a cleaner applying something like this without asking however... mine is very good about asking before applying any additional product...

Also, the sizing washed out of the shirt (obviously) and did no damage, but I do think I would be very happy if someone put it on a jacket.... ymmv! Good luck!
 

stubloom

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The use of sizing in the dry cleaning process (coupled with the machine pressing of your fine wools) is the dry cleaning equivalent of assault and battery. Ordinary dry cleaners love sizing. So they add or inject sizing, a starch-like finish, into their dry cleaning solvent during the dry cleaning wash cycle. In much the same way that you add detergent or softener to your home washer. (Starch is used in laundry, sizing in dry cleaning; different product, same function). Dry cleaners will tell you that they add sizing to their dry cleaning during the dry cleaning wash cycle because it keeps each garment feeling "new and crisp". Hogwash! Your fine garments look and feel like cardboard for one reason only: the more sizing that's added, the stiffer the fabric; the stiffer the fabric, the quicker and easier it is to MACHINE PRESS your wools, cottons, linens, silks, rayons, etc. The bottom line is that ordinary cleaners are far more interested in THEIR productivity than they are in the "hand" (texture) or the longevity of YOUR fine garments. At most ordinary dry cleaners -- and even at many so-called "quality cleaners" -- pressers are paid by the piece. The addition of sizing to their dry cleaning solvent or fluid helps those pressers push more garments per hour out the door. One cleaner in the Phoenix/Scottsdale market, who markets themselves as one of America's "best cleaners", has a mind-numbing standard of 23 dry cleaning pieces per hour. That's less than 2.5 minutes per garment! If it wasn't for the sizing that they add to their dry cleaning solvent their pressers would never stand a chance of meeting their hourly quotas. By contrast, a true quality cleaner would NEVER add sizing to their dry cleaning solvent or fluid. Apart from the negative impact on the "hand" and life of your fine garments, there's simply NO NEED for sizing. At a true quality cleaner, there are no hourly quotas and your fine wools will be PRESSED BY HAND. No matter how long it takes. Remember this: it's not what dry cleaners say they do, it's what they actually do. For further information on these subjects see..... Blog post: Why your wools, silks, cottons and linens feel stiff and crusty http://ravefabricare.com/true-qualit...nd-crusty.aspx Blog post: Why your light starched shirts feel stiff http://ravefabricare.com/true-qualit...eel-stiff.aspx Blog post: It's not what ordinary cleaners say. It's what they do. http://ravefabricare.com/true-quality-cleaning/2010/7/16/it's-not-what-ordinary-cleaners-say-it's-what-they-do.aspx
 

JayJay

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Originally Posted by stubloom
The use of sizing in the dry cleaning process (coupled with the machine pressing of your fine wools) is the dry cleaning equivalent of assault and battery. Ordinary dry cleaners love sizing. So they add or inject sizing, a starch-like finish, into their dry cleaning solvent during the dry cleaning wash cycle. In much the same way that you add detergent or softener to your home washer. (Starch is used in laundry, sizing in dry cleaning; different product, same function). Dry cleaners will tell you that they add sizing to their dry cleaning during the dry cleaning wash cycle because it keeps each garment feeling "new and crisp". Hogwash! Your fine garments look and feel like cardboard for one reason only: the more sizing that's added, the stiffer the fabric; the stiffer the fabric, the quicker and easier it is to MACHINE PRESS your wools, cottons, linens, silks, rayons, etc. The bottom line is that ordinary cleaners are far more interested in THEIR productivity than they are in the "hand" (texture) or the longevity of YOUR fine garments. At most ordinary dry cleaners -- and even at many so-called "quality cleaners" -- pressers are paid by the piece. The addition of sizing to their dry cleaning solvent or fluid helps those pressers push more garments per hour out the door. One cleaner in the Phoenix/Scottsdale market, who markets themselves as one of America's "best cleaners", has a mind-numbing standard of 23 dry cleaning pieces per hour. That's less than 2.5 minutes per garment! If it wasn't for the sizing that they add to their dry cleaning solvent their pressers would never stand a chance of meeting their hourly quotas. By contrast, a true quality cleaner would NEVER add sizing to their dry cleaning solvent or fluid. Apart from the negative impact on the "hand" and life of your fine garments, there's simply NO NEED for sizing. At a true quality cleaner, there are no hourly quotas and your fine wools will be PRESSED BY HAND. No matter how long it takes. Remember this: it's not what dry cleaners say they do, it's what they actually do. For further information on these subjects see..... Blog post: Why your wools, silks, cottons and linens feel stiff and crusty http://ravefabricare.com/true-qualit...nd-crusty.aspx Blog post: Why your light starched shirts feel stiff http://ravefabricare.com/true-qualit...eel-stiff.aspx Blog post: It's not what ordinary cleaners say. It's what they do. http://ravefabricare.com/true-quality-cleaning/2010/7/16/it's-not-what-ordinary-cleaners-say-it's-what-they-do.aspx
Good post, thanks.
 

mphotsprings

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I have to respectfully disagree about this NO QUALITY DRY CLEANER WOULD ADD SIZING. I own and operate a dry cleaners in Arkansas, and I have used sizing in my dry cleaning fluid for years. The proper concentration of sizing is very beneficial to the customer as well as the cleaner. TOO MUCH is well, as you say stiff. Yes it does make the garments easier to finish as the garment will hold a press much better than without it. I don't impose any quotas on my pressers for production rates. I simply ask that they do the best job they are capable of doing as far as pressing goes. The shortest time a presser has worked for me is 10 years. I obviously don't push them too hard. The benefits of sizing in the proper concentration is obvious. The garments will have an as new appearance. I like to call it a shine to the material. The sizing also contains optical brighteners that cause the materials to reflect more light so that they appear more vibrant. The sizing fills the pores of natural fabrics making them much more stain resistant. This helps you the customer wear the garment for a longer period of time before re-cleaning is necessary, and helps me, the dry cleaner remove stains that are not set in because they cannot penetrate the fabric to the degree that they would if no sizing was applied. This is especially important for linens, silks and such as stains will not readily come out of these materials like plain old polyester, which is basically a type of plastic, so nothing really sticks to it. In Arkansas we have high humidity, especially in summer, and summer wool, cottons and linens absorb a great amount of moisture from the air causing them to wrinkle very quickly, even on the hanger before customers pick up their cleaned garments. As a result I add slightly more sizing in the summer months than in the winter months. Sizing allows parts of shoulders on suits and wrinkle prone materials, as well as many other areas of garments, such as creases in pants to remain in their pressed positions for longer periods of time, creating a longer wearing garment for the customer. Many of my customers remark on the fact that if they wear a pair of dry cleaned pants for an hour or so, they can rehang them and wear them again 2 or three times yet they still have a sharp crease and resist wrinkling and dirt. These customers understand the benefits of proper amounts of sizing in their dry cleaned garments. Why?
Because I have spent many years educating them about properly cleaned garments, and I make sure that the products I use in my processes are used correctly. Yes, that's right, I said CORRECTLY. Unless you've worked in a cleaners you would have no idea what we are doing back there or how we are doing it. So, I do something novel, I tell my customers what I'm doing and why. On another note, sizing costs more than the detergent does anyway, and I have found that there is no real increase in the amounts of garments my pressers put out per hour, sized or not sized. However, if I were to quit using sizing in my operations, my dry cleaning chemical costs would be roughly cut in half. At the volumes I am cleaning this would result in another $1000 per month in my pocket! I would say this would be a good reason for some in the dry cleaning business to say OH NEVER NEVER USE SIZING. All that being said, ultimately it's up to the customer. Some prefer a very soft feel to everything they wear, and don't mind the fact that the clothes they are wearing look "floppy" or just somewhat neat. Others desire a more crisp look and prefer to wait longer between cleanings. If you don;t like sizing, ask for it not to be put in your clothes. If they can't do that then find a cleaners that can do that, or is too cheap to use it and then problem solved. However, if they're too cheap to use any sizing, they're probably to cheap to buy solvent or filters or detergent for that matter, and then you will have a load of other issues with your cleaning. Like that other post said, it's not what they say they are doing, but what they're actually doing back there behind the counter.................. By the way, the sizing will come out in the next cleaning so don't worry. Your suit is not going to be stiff forever. GOOD LUCK.
 

GBR

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I have to respectfully disagree about this NO QUALITY DRY CLEANER WOULD ADD SIZING.  I own and operate a dry cleaners in Arkansas, and I have used sizing in my dry cleaning fluid for years.  The proper concentration of sizing is very beneficial to the customer as well as the cleaner.  TOO MUCH is well, as you say stiff.  Yes it does make the garments easier to finish as the garment will hold a press much better than without it.  I don't impose any quotas on my pressers for production rates.  I simply ask that they do the best job they are capable of doing as far as pressing goes.  The shortest time a presser has worked for me is 10 years.  I obviously don't push them too hard.  The benefits of sizing in the proper concentration is obvious.  The garments will have an as new appearance.  I like to call it a shine to the material.  The sizing also contains optical brighteners that cause the materials to reflect more light so that they appear more vibrant.  The sizing fills the pores of natural fabrics making them much more stain resistant.  This helps you the customer wear the garment for a longer period of time before re-cleaning is necessary, and helps me, the dry cleaner remove stains that are not set in because they cannot penetrate the fabric to the degree that they would if no sizing was applied.  This is especially important for linens, silks and such as stains will not readily come out of these materials like plain old polyester, which is basically a type of plastic, so nothing really sticks to it.  In Arkansas we have high humidity, especially in summer, and summer wool, cottons and linens absorb a great amount of moisture from the air causing them to wrinkle very quickly, even on the hanger before customers pick up their cleaned garments.  As a result I add slightly more sizing in the summer months than in the winter months.  Sizing allows parts of shoulders on suits and wrinkle prone materials, as well as many other areas of garments, such as creases in pants to remain in their pressed positions for longer periods of time, creating a longer wearing garment for the customer.  Many of my customers remark on the fact that if they wear a pair of dry cleaned pants for an hour or so, they can rehang them and wear them again 2 or three times yet they still have a sharp crease and resist wrinkling and dirt.  These customers understand the benefits of proper amounts of sizing in their dry cleaned garments.  Why?
Because I have spent many years educating them about properly cleaned garments, and I make sure that the products I use in my processes are used correctly.  Yes, that's right, I said CORRECTLY.  Unless you've worked in a cleaners you would have no idea what we are doing back there or how we are doing it.  So, I do something novel, I tell my customers what I'm doing and why.  On another note, sizing costs more than the detergent does anyway, and I have found that there is no real increase in the amounts of garments my pressers put out per hour, sized or not sized.  However, if I were to quit using sizing in my operations, my dry cleaning chemical costs would be roughly cut in half.  At the volumes I am cleaning this would result in another $1000 per month in my pocket!   I would say this would be a good reason for some in the dry cleaning business to say OH NEVER NEVER USE SIZING.  All that being said,  ultimately it's up to the customer.  Some prefer a very soft feel to everything they wear, and don't mind the fact that the clothes they are wearing look "floppy" or just somewhat neat.  Others desire a more crisp look and prefer to wait longer between cleanings.  If you don;t like sizing, ask for it not to be put in your clothes.  If they can't do that then find a cleaners that can do that,  or is too cheap to use it and then problem solved.  However, if they're too cheap to use any sizing, they're probably to cheap to buy solvent or filters or detergent for that matter, and then you will have a load of other issues with your cleaning.  Like that other post said, it's not what they say they are doing, but what they're actually doing back there behind the counter..................  By the way, the sizing will come out in the next cleaning so don't worry.  Your suit is not going to be stiff forever.  GOOD LUCK.  

We'll ignore this as you are new and purely by chance have found such an obscure subject as this which reflects your interests....
 

GBR

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That is why I avoid dry cleaning unless desperate. The average dry cleaner does not know his job and takes little or no care with the garments through ignorance and desire for profit.
 

mphotsprings

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Hey man, just my opinion, just like stubloom's. Ignore if you want to. No skin off my back either way.
You didn't build my business, and you won't destroy it.
 

agprkr

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I have to respectfully disagree about this NO QUALITY DRY CLEANER WOULD ADD SIZING. I own and operate a dry cleaners in Arkansas, and I have used sizing in my dry cleaning fluid for years. The proper concentration of sizing is very beneficial to the customer as well as the cleaner. TOO MUCH is well, as you say stiff. Yes it does make the garments easier to finish as the garment will hold a press much better than without it. I don't impose any quotas on my pressers for production rates. I simply ask that they do the best job they are capable of doing as far as pressing goes. The shortest time a presser has worked for me is 10 years. I obviously don't push them too hard. The benefits of sizing in the proper concentration is obvious. The garments will have an as new appearance. I like to call it a shine to the material. The sizing also contains optical brighteners that cause the materials to reflect more light so that they appear more vibrant. The sizing fills the pores of natural fabrics making them much more stain resistant. This helps you the customer wear the garment for a longer period of time before re-cleaning is necessary, and helps me, the dry cleaner remove stains that are not set in because they cannot penetrate the fabric to the degree that they would if no sizing was applied. This is especially important for linens, silks and such as stains will not readily come out of these materials like plain old polyester, which is basically a type of plastic, so nothing really sticks to it. In Arkansas we have high humidity, especially in summer, and summer wool, cottons and linens absorb a great amount of moisture from the air causing them to wrinkle very quickly, even on the hanger before customers pick up their cleaned garments. As a result I add slightly more sizing in the summer months than in the winter months. Sizing allows parts of shoulders on suits and wrinkle prone materials, as well as many other areas of garments, such as creases in pants to remain in their pressed positions for longer periods of time, creating a longer wearing garment for the customer. Many of my customers remark on the fact that if they wear a pair of dry cleaned pants for an hour or so, they can rehang them and wear them again 2 or three times yet they still have a sharp crease and resist wrinkling and dirt. These customers understand the benefits of proper amounts of sizing in their dry cleaned garments. Why?
Because I have spent many years educating them about properly cleaned garments, and I make sure that the products I use in my processes are used correctly. Yes, that's right, I said CORRECTLY. Unless you've worked in a cleaners you would have no idea what we are doing back there or how we are doing it. So, I do something novel, I tell my customers what I'm doing and why. On another note, sizing costs more than the detergent does anyway, and I have found that there is no real increase in the amounts of garments my pressers put out per hour, sized or not sized. However, if I were to quit using sizing in my operations, my dry cleaning chemical costs would be roughly cut in half. At the volumes I am cleaning this would result in another $1000 per month in my pocket! I would say this would be a good reason for some in the dry cleaning business to say OH NEVER NEVER USE SIZING. All that being said, ultimately it's up to the customer. Some prefer a very soft feel to everything they wear, and don't mind the fact that the clothes they are wearing look "floppy" or just somewhat neat. Others desire a more crisp look and prefer to wait longer between cleanings. If you don;t like sizing, ask for it not to be put in your clothes. If they can't do that then find a cleaners that can do that, or is too cheap to use it and then problem solved. However, if they're too cheap to use any sizing, they're probably to cheap to buy solvent or filters or detergent for that matter, and then you will have a load of other issues with your cleaning. Like that other post said, it's not what they say they are doing, but what they're actually doing back there behind the counter.................. By the way, the sizing will come out in the next cleaning so don't worry. Your suit is not going to be stiff forever. GOOD LUCK.
Thanks for this informative answer. Good to hear a professional's perspective.
 
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WorldWideWafflz

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I have to respectfully disagree about this NO QUALITY DRY CLEANER WOULD ADD SIZING.  I own and operate a dry cleaners in Arkansas, and I have used sizing in my dry cleaning fluid for years.  The proper concentration of sizing is very beneficial to the customer as well as the cleaner.  TOO MUCH is well, as you say stiff.  Yes it does make the garments easier to finish as the garment will hold a press much better than without it.  I don't impose any quotas on my pressers for production rates.  I simply ask that they do the best job they are capable of doing as far as pressing goes.  The shortest time a presser has worked for me is 10 years.  I obviously don't push them too hard.  The benefits of sizing in the proper concentration is obvious.  The garments will have an as new appearance.  I like to call it a shine to the material.  The sizing also contains optical brighteners that cause the materials to reflect more light so that they appear more vibrant.  The sizing fills the pores of natural fabrics making them much more stain resistant.  This helps you the customer wear the garment for a longer period of time before re-cleaning is necessary, and helps me, the dry cleaner remove stains that are not set in because they cannot penetrate the fabric to the degree that they would if no sizing was applied.  This is especially important for linens, silks and such as stains will not readily come out of these materials like plain old polyester, which is basically a type of plastic, so nothing really sticks to it.  In Arkansas we have high humidity, especially in summer, and summer wool, cottons and linens absorb a great amount of moisture from the air causing them to wrinkle very quickly, even on the hanger before customers pick up their cleaned garments.  As a result I add slightly more sizing in the summer months than in the winter months.  Sizing allows parts of shoulders on suits and wrinkle prone materials, as well as many other areas of garments, such as creases in pants to remain in their pressed positions for longer periods of time, creating a longer wearing garment for the customer.  Many of my customers remark on the fact that if they wear a pair of dry cleaned pants for an hour or so, they can rehang them and wear them again 2 or three times yet they still have a sharp crease and resist wrinkling and dirt.  These customers understand the benefits of proper amounts of sizing in their dry cleaned garments.  Why?
Because I have spent many years educating them about properly cleaned garments, and I make sure that the products I use in my processes are used correctly.  Yes, that's right, I said CORRECTLY.  Unless you've worked in a cleaners you would have no idea what we are doing back there or how we are doing it.  So, I do something novel, I tell my customers what I'm doing and why.  On another note, sizing costs more than the detergent does anyway, and I have found that there is no real increase in the amounts of garments my pressers put out per hour, sized or not sized.  However, if I were to quit using sizing in my operations, my dry cleaning chemical costs would be roughly cut in half.  At the volumes I am cleaning this would result in another $1000 per month in my pocket!   I would say this would be a good reason for some in the dry cleaning business to say OH NEVER NEVER USE SIZING.  All that being said,  ultimately it's up to the customer.  Some prefer a very soft feel to everything they wear, and don't mind the fact that the clothes they are wearing look "floppy" or just somewhat neat.  Others desire a more crisp look and prefer to wait longer between cleanings.  If you don;t like sizing, ask for it not to be put in your clothes.  If they can't do that then find a cleaners that can do that,  or is too cheap to use it and then problem solved.  However, if they're too cheap to use any sizing, they're probably to cheap to buy solvent or filters or detergent for that matter, and then you will have a load of other issues with your cleaning.  Like that other post said, it's not what they say they are doing, but what they're actually doing back there behind the counter..................  By the way, the sizing will come out in the next cleaning so don't worry.  Your suit is not going to be stiff forever.  GOOD LUCK.  
Good info but having stiff and shiny wool seems like a bad thing to me. As a customer I'd rather pay to have a presser have to take some extra time than pay for a chemical that adds stiffness and shine to my garment.
 

mphotsprings

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Just to clarify........TOO MUCH will definitely make things stiff. The right amount is hardly noticeable as far as "body" of the fabric is concerned, even on something soft like a cashmere sweater. The idea is to adjust the amounts in the solvent until there is just enough and then keep it at that level. This involves daily testing with a solvent testing kit, I purchase from the chemical supply company. I don't know about other places, but I don't charge any extra for sizing. It's part of the processing of all our dry cleaning. However, we will run loads without, if requested, and it's not how long it takes to press the garment, it's how long will it stay pressed after final inspection, final assembly,bagging, hanging on the conveyor, making a couple hundred revolutions around the conveyor if it doesn't get picked up right away, riding home in your car, hanging in the hot car in the summer all day if it was picked it up on the way to work and not on the way home, jamming it in a closet that's too small and already packed with clothes, riding in a suitcase in the belly of an airliner for hours on that all important business trip, finally wearing it, and so on....
 

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