Dry Cleaner

Dry Cleaner

AtlSoapGuy

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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85 Questions

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Last Answer on February 12, 2018

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what does it mean to work in production in a dry cleaners. what would the job entail/

Asked by linda over 7 years ago

The dry cleaning operation is a production environment, not much different than a factory that produces goods.  The clothes come in dirty and need to be tagged in for identification.  From there the garments will have stains removed, then be cleaned, pressed, inspected, bagged and then placed on the conveyors for the customers to pick up.  In most cleaners this will be the process for several hundred pieces each day. So as you can see, this salsa small factory that takes a dirty garment and turns it into a "like new" garment.

The front counter or point of sale is just that, point of sale or customer service. This position can often assist those in the production department, too.

Hi, I have a PERC dryclean machine that I have used for the past 10 years. Recently the clothes coming out have an aweful smell that I can't figure out. We have changes all carbon filters, put in new PERC, cleaned water separator but no change. Help!

Asked by Ray over 7 years ago

I would do a couple things.  First you want to make sure that your solvent has not become acidic.  I would take a small amount of distilled solvent from the machine and an equal amount of distilled water.   Mix them up, allow them to seperate and then check the PH of the water portion to make sure you do not have an acidic condition , usually less than 6 ph will be problematic.  Personally, I have only seen this happen a couple of times, so i doubt that this will be the case, but it is a good starting point.  

I would check the steam pressure on the still, making sure that you are not distilling at more than 50psi.  Distilling at higher steam pressures could allow contaminants to come over in the distilled solvent.

Review spotting procedures making sure that whoever is doing the spotting is using correct procedures, rinsing out wet side spotters and levelling.  Use POG's correctly, either using no flush POG's, rinsing them with VDS or at the least, using POG's sparingly.

Inspect the condensing coil on the reclaiming portion of the dry cleaning machine, making sure that it is clean and that air flow is not impeded.

Inspect the still condensing coil. This is one area that is often overlooked on machines with a little age on them and especially those machine using spin disc filters. In PERC machines especially, I find this to be the biggest source of odor. Over a period of years, contaminants such as lints, fibers, hair, etc. can accumulate on the condensing coil.  These contaminants can be breaking down, carrying over to the water seperator and giving you a foul odor in your distilled solvent. Often your seperator water will have the same smell as your solvent.  I would recommend pulliing the coil out, inspecting and cleaning it. 

Once you have the coil cleaned, start cleaning up your solvent by distilling the DISTILLED tank first (you need to have an empty tank to send your newly distilled solvent to so that it will not mix with solvent that may have had some odor in it, that is why I start with the distilled tank).  Distill all the solvent in the machine and the filter housings.  I would add a charge detergent just for the first week (helps with any free moisture that may be in the system), then go back to whichever type of detergent you were using.  You may also want to add a product like Freshtex to add a fragrance to the solvent.  

I know that sounds like a lot, the distilling will take the most time, but I am pretty confident that your problem will be taken care of.  

How many hours do dry cleaner owners work? do they have to work 7 or 6 days a week at least 12 hours a day? or can employees be hired so that the owner can work 40-50 hours per week and still make a good profit?

Asked by Ali over 7 years ago

The owners of dry cleaners hours tend to vary.  I see some owners that will work upward of 80 hours per week and then there are the absentee owners who are rarely in the plant.  I have seen dry cleaners be successful either way. With that in mind, I also find that the owners of dry cleaners tend to get trapped into the labor end (pressing, assembly, etc.) of running the business when they should be concentrating more on the management side of running their business.  I feel that this is the bigger problem. 

Most dry cleaners are open for 60-70 hours per week, so I do feel that good employees can be hired that will allow the owner to comfortably work a 40-50 hour week.  Training your employees to know their jobs and provide the service that you are looking for, using your time to work on managing and marketing your business, and not allowing yourself to become tied to a production job in the plant will all help to move you towards making a profit.  

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 almost 7 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. 

I had a tiny stain (?origin) on a silk dress. My DC has successfully removed stains from this garment before, but this particular stain morphed into a large discolored blotch. Another client's dress was ruined due to my stain! What stain does this?

Asked by ReactiveStain about 7 years ago

I suspect that the discoloration and subsequent dye transfer to another garment was either a result of improper stain removal procedures or failure to pre-test the stain removal agent used for safety on your dress.  

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

Asked by Rjohns over 7 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. 

How difficult/simple is it to get environmental insurance for a dry clean plant in the state of California? What is the procedure and how costly is it?

Asked by Lola over 7 years ago

You got me on that one.  Unfortunately, I have no experience working in the state of California.