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How Dry Cleaning Works


The Process

When you drop your clothes off at the cleaners, the employees follow a pattern that holds true at just about any dry-cleaning operation running today. Your clothes go through the following steps:

  1. Tagging and inspection - Some method, whether it is small paper tags or little labels written on a shirt collar, is used to identify your clothes so they don't get mixed up with everyone else's. Clothes are also examined for missing buttons, tears, etc. that the dry cleaner might get blamed for otherwise.
  2. Pre-treatment - The cleaner looks for stains on your clothes and treats them to make removal easier and more complete.
  3. Dry cleaning - The clothes are put in a machine and cleaned with a solvent.
  4. Post-spotting - Any lingering stains are removed.
  5. Finishing - This includes pressing, folding, packaging and other finishing touches.

The following sections look at each of these steps in detail.