Helpful Info and Tips
How are clothes cleaned?
At St. Croix Cleaners, we use one of three types of cleaning for your garments: dry cleaning, wet cleaning, or laundering.
Dry cleaning uses solvent to remove soils and stains from fabric in specially designed machines. In fact, the term "dry cleaning" is misleading: it is called dry cleaning because the solvent contains no water and does not penetrate the fibers as water does. The main advantage of dry cleaning is its ability to dissolve greases and oils in a way that water cannot, while protecting delicate fabrics that do not respond well with water.
The dry cleaning process begins with the pretreatment of spots and stains using special cleaning agents. The garments are then loaded into a machine resembling an oversized front-loading washer. It produces similar mechanical action to loosen embedded dirt. Throughout the cleaning process, the solvent is filtered or distilled to ensure its clarity. The garments are dried in the same machine and have no residual solvent odor after cleaning.
Wet cleaning is the professional process of removing soils from garments and other textile items using water. The American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) definition for Professional Wet cleaning is: A process for cleaning sensitive textiles (e.g., wool, silk, rayon, linen) in water by professionals, using techniques which minimize the potential for adverse effects. It is followed by appropriate drying and restorative finishing procedures.
Professional laundering for shirts and other "washable" items is another process we use to keep your garments looking their best. Special detergents, additives, and finishes set commercial laundry apart from home laundering. Collars come cleaner and professional pressing offers a crisper finish. We offer different levels of starch: no starch, light, medium or heavy.
Professional Cleaning Steps:
- We check the labels for adequate care instructions and fiber content.
- We classify the garment according to fabric type, color, degree of soiling, and cleaning process, drycleaning, wetcleaning or laundering.
- We remove spots and stains using special equipment, special stain removal agents, and water.
- We reapply any sizing, water repellent and other finishes when necessary and possible.
- We finish the garment on professional pressing equipment to restore its original shape and appearance. We replace missing or damaged buttons and perform minor repairs whenever possible according to plant policy.
- We package the garment neatly in a protective wrapping.
All About Stains
Stains are one of the main reasons people bring their clothes to us. With our special solvents, equipment, and training, we can remove some of the worst stains with relative ease. Of course, not all stains come out. Some stains, like ink and dried paint, may be impossible to remove. Also, some fabrics and dyes are not made to withstand the use of cleaning or stain removal agents.
Many stains that are caused by food, oily substances or beverages may disappear when they dry. But left untreated, a yellow or brownish stain will appear over time. This is caused by the oxidation of the sugar in the staining substance. It is the same process that makes a peeled apple turn brown after exposure to air.
Sometimes the oil from stains like this make an irregular "cross pattern" when it follows the fabric fibers. Oily substances are successfully removed in drycleaning unless they are left to oxidize. Once they become yellow or brown, they become much more difficult to remove.
You can help us do a better job by pointing out such stains when you drop off your clothes. Then we can treat these stains before cleaning, since the heat of drying or finishing may set the stain in further.
Perspiration can also cause problem stains, particularly on silk and wool garments. In addition, perspiration can react with the dye or sizing in the fabric, making it even more difficult to remove the stain.
This is why it's best to have frequently-worn clothing cleaned often.
Color Loss - Possible Causes
Perspiration - Perspiration left in a silk garment can eventually cause deterioration of the silk fibers. Repeated exposure of a garment to perspiration and body oils can create permanent yellow discoloration and an objectionable odor.
Alcohol - Perfumes, colognes, skin fresheners, aftershave, hair spray, lotions, medicines, and alcoholic beverages can cause a stain which appears as a white or cream center with a dark dye ring around the edges. These personal care products also may cause discolorations of fabrics, especially around collars.
Bleach - Home bleaches, hair care products, disinfectants, acne preparations, skin lotions, medicines, and cleaning products can cause a change or loss of color depending on the types of dyes used in the fabric. For example, blue dye can turn orange or white.
Acids - Perspiration, deodorants, hair preparations, and fruit juices appear as an orange or red discoloration in areas contacted by an acid. The color change usually appears after a period of time or with exposure to heat in cleaning or pressing.
Alkaline - Cleaning products, toothpaste, soap, detergents, shampoo, skin preparations, and in some cases, perspiration, may appear as a yellow, green or cream color on many fabrics. This type of color change may not appear until the stained area has aged or the item is exposed to heat in a cleaning process.
Salt - Medicines, perspiration, beverages and foodstuffs, gutter splash, and salty water from the ocean or snow removal slush can result in a change in color on wool fabrics.
Hair Preparations - Perm solutions, hair relaxing solutions, or other hair care products can result in a change in color and is easily recognized by the location in the neckline, shoulder or back of a garment.
What You Can Do
To help us care for your clothing and remove stains the best we can, we ask the following:
- Never store a garment with spills or stains on it. The warmth of a closet and exposure to natural or artificial light can contribute to setting a stain.
- Bring in a stained garment as soon as possible, within a few days, to prevent the stain from setting.
- Do not iron stained or soiled clothes. This will set stains and drive the soil deeper into the fabric. Always have soiled clothes cleaned before ironing.
- Do not attempt home stain removal without testing first for colorfastness. Wet a hidden area, such as an inside seam, and blot with a paper towel to make sure the color is fast.
- Never rub a stain, especially when attempting to remove a stain from silk. Instead, blot the stained area. This will help remove the substance without spreading the stain and will avoid damaging the fabric.
- Show us where stains are and tell us anything you have done to try to remove them, even if the stains are no longer visible. Be sure to point out light-colored or invisible spills, such as soft drinks, fruit juices or white wine.
Tips for Getting the Best Results:
• Allow perfumes, hair sprays, lotions, deodorants, etc. to dry before you get dressed since these products can contain ingredients that may stain your clothes.
• Protect your garments, especially silks, from excessive perspiration, because it can cause many dyes to discolor.
• Have matching pieces cleaned together