Dry cleaning stinks!

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by NY Hockey, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. NY Hockey

    NY Hockey Member

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    Hi all,

    I've read some older threads on this and found some different info on it. I do love my cleaners as they just treat me well in general, but it is getting a little frustrating.

    It seems my shirts come out fine, but my pants come out with a distinct odor. After picking them up it doesn't seem that bad, but once I wear my pants, especially outside, the odor just seems to be fairly strong. Enough where I actually keep fabric softeners at my desk so I can just do a quick sweep of my pants after taking a walk (forget it if they get a hint of sweat).

    Is this common? I actually just had to get a pair taken in and it seems they pressed the pants as well and the smell is quite strong just from that.

    Any help is appreciated for a better cover up, etc. Airing out only seems to work so much. Not many cleaners around my area. should I hang the pants when I take a shower tomorrow?

    Thanks!
     


  2. stubloom

    stubloom Senior member

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    There are 2 primary reasons why your pants might smell after dry cleaning....

    1. WATER-BASED STAINS

    There are 2 primary types of stains: oil-based stains (such as body oils, lotions, creams, salad dressing, steak sauce, pizza drippings, etc.) and water-based stains (such as juice, beer, wine, perspiration, urine, etc.). Dry cleaning is excellent at emulsifying/dissolving oil-based stains but does absolutely nothing for water-based stains. Water-based stains must be removed by a dry cleaning technician BEFORE the garment ever enters the dry cleaning machine.

    Given that the overwhelming majority of cleaners just load their dry cleaning machine and hope for the best, is it any wonder why water-based stains (which constitute the majority of stains a dry cleaner sees) remain in or on your garments?

    For more information on this subject...

    Blog post: My dry cleaned garments still smell of perspiration! Why?

    Blog link: http://www.ravefabricare.com/true-q...ed-garments-still-smell-of-perspiration!.aspx

    2. DIRTY DRY CLEANING SOLVENT/FLUID

    All garments must be cleaned in dry cleaning solvent or fluid that is as clear as bottled water. Which means that you clean and purify/distill, clean and purify/distill, clean and purify/distill...all day long. You can't clean, clean, clean, clean all day long and then purify once or twice a week.

    As I explained above, dry cleaning solvent/fluid is an emulsifier of oils. So if you don't continuously clean and purify all day long, the oils and fats that are emulsified by the dry cleaning solvent/fluid build up in the solvent/fluid. Your garments, particularly those made of natural fibers such as wool, cotton, linen, silk, etc., then absorb that gunk from the solvent/fluid like a sponge. That's why your dry cleaned garments smell. It's like washing your clothes in the effluent from your dishwasher.

    For more information on this subject....

    Blog post: My dry cleaned garments smell of dry cleaning solvent! Why?

    Blog link: http://www.ravefabricare.com/true-q...ments-smell-of-dry-cleaning-solvent!-why.aspx

    Bottom line: You mention that you like your dry cleaner. Smiles and greetings are the icing on the cake but are meaningless in the absence of technical competence. That would be like selecting a bespoke tailor on the basis that he (or she) is a "nice guy". Clearly, your cleaner has zero command of the most basic fundamentals of garment care.

    It's time to change outfits. Dry cleaning outfits.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012


  3. Frankie22

    Frankie22 Senior member

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    For those of you that live in Boston, French cleaners is tops.
    Cold water machine wash, air dry, iron by hand.
     


  4. Snedley

    Snedley Senior member

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    Take it to Jeeves for dry cleaning. And what sort of stink is it? From the cleaning chemicals?That's from improper drying.
     


  5. NY Hockey

    NY Hockey Member

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    Thanks for the responses.

    Stubloom- Pretty informative...Good stuff. It's definitely from the cleaning solution since my pants have no stains to speak of. The second reason makes perfect sense and I see what you're saying. It seems unless you find a fairly high end place, you are pretty much damned then since many cleaners will go for the cheaper route and not change the solution batch/base much? But yes, I may definitely try some others, at least for the pants.

    Why no smell on my shirts though? Just wondering if there is a different method they use or reason? My pants are wool, shirts are cotton.

    Snedley- Hard to describe the smell. It's unique. It does have a type of solution smell to it though combined with something else, and just very strong.
     


  6. TheButler

    TheButler Senior member

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    Are they actually dry-cleaning your shirts or laundering them? Usually you bring a cotton shirt to a cleaner it gets laundered unless you ask for something different or it has a dry-clean-only tag.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2012


  7. stubloom

    stubloom Senior member

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    Response to Snedley:

    In its virgin state, dry cleaning solvents (perc used by about 85% of dry cleaners and siloxane used by about 4% of dry cleaners) are ODORLESS. In its virgin state, synthetic petroleum (used by about 10% of dry cleaners) may have a little "gasoline" odor.

    So if a garment has an odor, it's more likely to be the result of dirty solvent than the result of insufficient drying time.
     


  8. F. Corbera

    F. Corbera Senior member

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    What most people today know as dry cleaning is the soaking of dirty clothes in dirty solvent, then fragrantly steamed on a mannequin presser and stuck into a non-breathing plastic bag, hung on a wire hanger.

    "That'll be $18 for your suit, sir."
     


  9. a tailor

    a tailor Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    why no smell on the shirts? thats because they are being laundered with soap and water.

    if your trousers "look clean" and are just being pressed, then they will smell.
     


  10. Xenon

    Xenon Senior member

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    THis morning I spilled my wife's espresso all over my wool pants justs as I finished making it and you can bet there is more than just a small spot.:censored: (this was a god shot with beautiful tiger stripe and all my wife could do is laugh!)

    What is the spot treatment that is used to clean hydrophilic stains and is there a way to treat the whole garment. I suspect the answer is no and all of the cleaners in my region suck. As such I am really tempted to wash these at home and if they shrink I will just redo the hem since there is more than 2 inches of allowance. This is an S110 at roughly 8oz and I think they might do well with a medium cycle washing, am I crazy?
     


  11. buzzron

    buzzron Well-Known Member

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    That never happened to me before - at least not yet - but the chemical or solvent they used might be the culprit.
     


  12. newyorknoir

    newyorknoir Senior member

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    I've always been weary of Dry Cleaning, first off because it's hard on the fabric of your clothes and will wear them out, and secondly because it's not very environmentally friendly. Usually I only take my clothes to a dry cleaner to get them pressed, and the rest of the time I have them hand washed at a specialty cleaners who do hand wash, line dry, and hand pressing. The ladies who wash the clothes have all worked in the fashion industry prior to starting this business and have their own line of detergents that I've seen promoted by J. Crew. Suits rarely need to be cleaned anyway. From what I've seen of dry cleaning though, I've never noticed an unusually strong smell on the clothes themselves aside from maybe a lingering scent that you notice when you walk into the place (after all, it doesn't smell like country air when you walk into a dry cleaners). Take it to a different cleaners and see if you notice the same odor.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012


  13. DryCleaner

    DryCleaner New Member

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    Your Shirts are washed with Soap and Water and typically will not pick up a smell unless they are left overnight wet waiting to be pressed the following day. Your pants though may be left overnight wet since there are usually less pants to press than shirts? Maybe the person that washes the clothes washes the pants ahead of time and the pressor has already left since their work load was less? If on the other hand your pants are being dry cleaned with a Hydro-Carbon solvent....it is very possible that the hydro-carbon is contaminated with bacteria that is growing inside the tanks. It is very common for this to hapen if the operator isn't maintening the cleanliness of their tanks and system in whole. Once the bacteria developes in the system it is very difficult to remove. The bacteria in the system is very bad smell. If your pants are washable....I would recommend you wash them at home and see if the smell disappears? If it does and the smell returns on the next trip to the cleaners....I would definitely share these ideas with the cleaner. Be sure that you talk to the owner and not just the manager. The manager doesn't usually care if you take your business elsewhere. The owner might not know about the problem is he or she is an absentee owner. Good Luck.
     


  14. Snedley

    Snedley Senior member

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    Just rub the stain when fresh with seltzer and let it dry. I wouldn't wash the pants unless they are a washable wool.
     


  15. NY Hockey

    NY Hockey Member

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    Thanks for the additional info, folks.
     


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