What Exactly Happens to Your Clothes at the Dry Cleaners?

Washing clothes has been a chore since the dawn of time. The process has gone through many changes over the years, and dry cleaners created the option many people use to care for their fine clothes.

The actual term dry cleaning is a little misleading. Even though water is not used in the procedure, it is still a liquid chemical solvent. The solvent has very little, if any, water and does not penetrate into the fibers of the clothing.

This choice is made for certain fabrics that would not stand up well to the agitation and spinning of the average home washing machine and dryer. It preserves and protects the quality and shape of the fabric.

So, what goes into the whole dry cleaning process? Let’s take a look.

Garment Identification

Every piece of clothing is logged when you bring them in. Each facility has their own method, but each piece counted and identified.

A tag with your specific identification number is then placed on each piece of clothing so nothing is lost or given to another customer. This tag stays on the garment through the entire process.

Clothing Inspection by The Dry Cleaners

Each piece of clothing is inspected before the cleaning begins. The dry cleaner is looking for anything that may have been left in the pockets, missing buttons, or tears that need mending.

This is the time when any special requests are noted. If there is a specific stain that needs removing, it should be pointed out. If you know what caused the stain; wine, ink, grease, etc; please advise the dry cleaners so they will know exactly how to treat it correctly.

If there are any steaming or creasing preferences, please relay this information so everything can be handled to your specifications.

Pre-Treatment of Stains

Even if you don’t notice a stain, it is the dry cleaner’s job to check for them.

Before the actual cleaning begins, the cleaner may opt to pre-treat a stain that could be difficult to remove. While cleaning solvents are very effective, there are certain stains that need special attention.

The Actual Dry Cleaning Procedure

After all of the pieces have been tagged, inspected and pre-treated as necessary, it is time to load them into the dry cleaning machine with the chemical solvent.

While inside this machine, the clothing is agitated slightly. This movement causes the dirt to become loose from the fabric. In a few minutes, the cleaning solution is drained from the machine and fresh solvent is used as a rinse to wash away the dirt.

The drying cycle is actually done in the same machine as the wash cycle. Warm air is pumped in and circulated. Any solvent that is left is vaporized by the heat.

Did you also know the upholstery on your furniture can be professionally cleaned?


Post-spotting is the next step and involves double checking to make sure all of the stains were removed. Even the best equipment and solvents can sometimes leave stubborn stains on certain fabrics.

If a spot still remains, it is treated with steam or possibly a vacuum to get rid of any trace. A water-based stain would need treatment with a wet-side chemical, and a grease or oil-based stain would require a dry-side chemical.

The cleaner will use all methods possible to return your clothing as clean and spot-free as possible.


The last step includes preparing the clothing to be worn. This could involve removing all wrinkles using steam, repairing any tears and replacing missing buttons.

All of your clothing is then gathered together and hung in plastic bags that provide protection until they get back home. It is a good idea to remove them from the plastic as soon as possible to prevent any moisture damage to the fabric.

Your Clean Clothes

You invest in your wardrobe to make sure you have nice clothes that will last. Taking proper care of them goes a long way to ensuring your outfits will look good for years to come.

Reliable dry cleaners play an important role in the upkeep of your fine clothing. For more information on all of our services, including pick up and delivery of your dry cleaning, please reach out.

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