Dry Cleaner

Dry Cleaner


Atlanta, GA

Male, 52

I have worked in the dry cleaning industry for almost 30 years. I worked in my family's dry cleaning operation as a manager and owner. Currently, I write a blog for those in the dry cleaning industry, as well as work for a manufacturer of dry cleaning chemicals. Over the years I have spent in the dry cleaning industry, I estimate that I have been in over 2000 dry cleaners in the US.

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87 Questions


Last Answer on February 12, 2018

Best Rated

I always ask my dry cleaner to hand press my cotton button downs, but they still come back over-pressed to the point where the fabric loses its original fit and structure. Is it silly to ask them NOT to press the shirts at all after dry cleaning?

Asked by Josh almost 11 years ago

I understand exactly what you are saying.  I have had the same problem with the dry cleaners I have used in the past too.  There are some shirts that do not come out well on the shirt units.  Usually it is just too hot of a temperature, you will see shiny spots on areas that the fabric is doubled up (the tips of the collars, cuff, etc).  

Are you asking for the shirts to be dry cleaned?....This usually is not a problem in dry cleaning as it is in laundry.  I am suspecting that your cleaner is just automatically sending them through laundry instead of dry cleaning.  If I were you, I would speak with the manager and ask specifically if the shirt can be dry cleaned and if so, will he make sure that it is.  If not, have him launder it and hand press the garment.  If the dry cleaner cannot follow these instructions for you, I would look for a different one.  

To answer your question, no it isn't silly to ask for just cleaning, just unusual.  


Hope this helps. 


i bought a dress overseas and it is a ballgown that you would use for prom. i am using it for my wedding. can a dry cleaner charge you differently based on where you wear it? also do they clean it differently from other formal dresses?

Asked by buritanii about 11 years ago

The cleaning of the gown is the simple part of this question.  Depending on the care label, that will pretty much explain how the gown will be cleaned.  Wedding gowns, very delicate items, items with sequins, prom gowns, beaded items, etc., are all dry cleaned in a very similar manner that is usually dependent of the care label.  When there is not a care label, then it is up to the dry cleaner to use his professional opinion as to the method to be used in the cleaning of the garment.  The second part of the dry cleaning process is actually tied to your question as to how the charge is arrived at. 

When a drycleaner sets his pricing for the various garments, a large percentage of his cost to process the garment is the labor that is involved.  This labor is mostly attributed to the amount of time required in the finishing of the garment (pressing).  Simple garments such as pants require little finishing time and are usually one of the lowest priced garments processed. Other garments such as fancy ball gowns and wedding gowns are some of the most time consuming and difficult to finish and therefore command a higher price from the consumer. 

If you were to bring a fancy gown into a dry cleaner and tell them it was a wedding gown, I suspect that most customer service/counter people would go to their price list and charge you their standard wedding gown price. The better approach for the consumer would be to not classify the gown and just ask how much it would cost to be processed.  This way the garment can be assessed as to how much labor would be required and a more accurate price could be arrived at.    

Unfortunately, it is often very difficult to just set one price for a garment.  There are so many variables in the construction and styles of garments that it is difficult to set just one price.  Therefore many dry cleaners will have a "base price" and then add upcharges for different things like type of fabric, trims, degree of difficulty in finishing and so on.   The bottom line is that dry cleaning is a very labor intensive job and if a garment looks like it would require more labor to process, then it most likely will cost the consumer more.  

how do you get bed linen so crisp

Asked by steffy about 11 years ago

They are processed in the laundry. Starch is used and usually are run through a press designed to press linens.

What's the deal with "wrinkle-free" shirts and pants? I thought they'd save me money, but they seem to need as much dry cleaning care as the non-wrinkle-free ones.

Asked by Rip van Wrinkle almost 12 years ago

I have not seen any garments that will have the same finish that you will receive as when you have your clothes professionaly dry cleaned or laundered. Often in the dry cleaning process, sizings are added to give the garment dimensional stability and help to prevent the wrinkles that occur during handling of the garments. During the pressing process the heat and steam that are used help these finishes to hold that shape of the garment. If you want your garment to look like new, take it to a professional dry cleaner using a fabric finish/sizing in the dry cleaning process.

how much do they charge to cut a little for my prom dress at the bottom?

Asked by andrea about 11 years ago

That is a tough question.  I really depends on the dress, the person doing the alterations and the amount of labor it would take.  I would recommend taking into a dry cleaners that has a person on premises that does alterations and can give you quote, as well as properly fit you for the length of the dress.  Do not forget to bring the shoes you intend to wear with it.  

I tried a new cleaner. I picked up my clothes to find them ruined. The silk dulled, not soft & thinned. My designer blazers had had a wonderful sheen to the outside & were lined with beautiful silk. The sheen was gone, silk dulled. What happened??

Asked by L.Sam over 10 years ago

It is difficult to say.  I would look at the care label on the garment and ask the cleaner how they processed the garment.  If the dry cleaner processed it in accordance with the care labelling of the garment, I would recommend that you return it to the place of purchase.  If they did not, it could possibly be the method that the drycleaner used when processing the garment and you should discuss this the cleaner.  It may be possible to restore the luster/sheen to the garment. 

How many paper garment covers does the average dry cleaner use every year?

Asked by Rjohns about 11 years ago

I am really not sure, but I will give you a guestimate.  I would say the average plant does about 250K in business. Garment covers are usually only used on dry cleaning and not laundry.  If laundry accounts for 40% of their business that means that 150K is dry cleaning.  At an average of $5.00 per piece, that would mean 30,000 pieces of dry cleaning cleaned.  If their is an average of 3 pieces of dry cleaning bagged together with one garment cover over them, I would say that the average dry cleaner would need about 10,000 garment covers per year. 

Like I said, just a guestimate.