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Shirt Laundering

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by curt222, Mar 3, 2005.

  1. curt222

    curt222 Active Member

    Messages:
    25
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Following the excellent advice I received on this forum, I washed my dress shirts last week and brought them to my cleaner for ironing only. Well... when my wife picked up the shirts today the owner told my wife that he laundered and ironed them. She expressed concern letting the owner know that I did not think the chemicals the launderer used were good for my shirts. He told my wife the following - he washes the shirt in hot water with very little detergent. His experience is that shirts will last a very long time if only laundered. He agreed with my wife that we should not dry clean the shirts. He also said that washing the shirts at home is actually worse for the shirts because of the spin cycle. His laundering does not "spin" the shirts.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on this? I actually like the dry cleaner. I've brought my shirts there for about a year and have never had a broken button or other issues that many seem to encounter. I don't mind laundering my shirts with these folks (heck it is cheaper than having them iron only) but I want to make sure my shirt investment doesn't go down the toilet.
     
  2. Phil

    Phil Senior member

    Messages:
    596
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    Dec 30, 2003
    Your dress shirts should under no circumstances, ever, be dry cleaned. They should be laundered. The spin cycle on home washers doesnt seem all that dangerous to shirts, but maybe I am wrong about that. Most launderers dont really dry the shirts, like the guy said. The press machine holds the wet shirt and the heat and pressure dries it, thus no spin cycle. Dress shirts, most of them at least, are made of cotton. After enough launderings they willl fade, fray, and fall apart. Such is life. If you were really set on extending the life of your shirts as long as humanly possible, I would wash them at home with woolite on the gentle cycle in cold water. I would iron them gently also.
     
  3. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Senior member

    Messages:
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    Dec 22, 2003
    Location:
    East Hampton & New York
    curt222
    You may have lucked out into a good launderer ... but I cannot be sure.
    Firstly, the spin cycle can do absolutely no harm to the shirts. I would dispute that entirely.
    Secondly, washing in hot water is not advised. Warm is better. Hot water can be around 200° whereas warm should be about 120°. There is quite a difference.
    Thirdly, that serves to not answer the question of how he is drying them. If drying is accomplished by pressing on a pressing buck, your shirts are being ruined. If he is hanging them up on plastic hangers (I would be shocked) and ironing by hand, then that part is fine.
    Finally, a small amount of what detergent? Cheap, high strength commercial detergents or a more gentle one like Tide?

    The only question left unanswered by your statement is, "What constitutes enough?" In my opinion, if the definition of enough is fewer than 100, I would strongly dispute the definition. I would be more comfortable at 125 or 150.
     
  4. Phil

    Phil Senior member

    Messages:
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    Dec 30, 2003
    Thats a good question about the amount of launderings. Its tough for me to say. I have about 45 dress shirts, so its hard for me to accurately guess how often I truly launder each one. I suppose, in theory, that I may only launder certain shirts a few times a year, if I wear them sparingly. Others that are in a more regular rotation get laundered once a week id guess. So 50 times a year, give or take. That sounds right, since after about 2 years they start the fraying process. Luckily for me, I love when my shirts fray, so I just go with the flow. My T & A shirts especially fray on the end of the collar points, I think becuase the spread of the collar makes it so the ends rub alot on my collarbone area.
     
  5. stache

    stache Senior member

    Messages:
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    Oct 1, 2004
    If I take a shirt to the cleaner and say "press only", and then I pick up the shirt only to be told that it was rewashed I would find a new service. The time for the storekeeper to disagree with the client is before the service is performed.
     
  6. Fashionslave

    Fashionslave Senior member

    Messages:
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    Oct 4, 2004
    I agree.The service should not be performed unless disclosed to the client and approved by him.I think they feel slighted to simply press a shirt.I was told they need to have them wet to press them.All sorts of stories.Secondly,I HATE it when,without permission,they scrawl your name with laundry marker on the label.I had that happen to a group of shirts,some of them my favorite Hilditch & Keys.The liberties taken without clients consent are pretty outrageous.These aren't a bunch of Old Navy shirts,though it makes me wonder if they even differentiate. [​IMG]
     
  7. Drinkwaters

    Drinkwaters Senior member

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    Nov 1, 2004
    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    Cold water wash, gentle or delicate cycle, hang to dry on plastic hangers and find a launderer that listens to your requests and knows how to iron a shirt. He's full of #*%@, and thats how I really feel.
     
  8. MilanoStyle

    MilanoStyle Senior member

    Messages:
    1,674
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    Apr 22, 2004
    I do not own 'fine' shirts yet. But if I do, I would wash them by hand in warm water with a shampoo. This will be the safest way. Since you have wife, maybe get her a new diamond ring and have her to hand wash your shirts for the rest of your marrige?

    When I wash my shirts with the machine, I reverse shirts in and out and button them. My shirts are doing just fine that way. I never take washable clothes to a cleaner.
     
  9. familyman

    familyman Senior member

    Messages:
    219
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    Feb 18, 2005
    When shirts fail to exceed 100 washes how is one to determine whether it's the quality of the shirt or the skill of the launderer that is to blame?
    I'd hate to talk down on a shirts quality if it's really all my fualt.
     
  10. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Senior member

    Messages:
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    Dec 22, 2003
    Location:
    East Hampton & New York
    If you follow the instructions here: http://www.customshirt1.com/ASK/laund01.html the fault is the shirt.
     
  11. Phil

    Phil Senior member

    Messages:
    596
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    Dec 30, 2003
    Great article on laundering and pressing. The only problem I see is I would have to quit my job in order to have time to follow these instuctions. Then ofcourse I wont have any money to buy the shirts to iron. A vicious cycle. I wonder if my wife would object to a blonde swedish shirt nanny that would take care of this for me?
     
  12. curt222

    curt222 Active Member

    Messages:
    25
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Thank you all for the great responses. Looks like I need to find a new dry cleaner. While I'd love to iron on my own I simply do not have the time.
     

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