One Hour Cleaners
What is Drycleaning?
Drycleaning most simply said is cleaning garments without water. This is where the word "dry" comes into play, as the opposite is "wet" which means with water. The process is not really "dry" at all, because the garments are wetted with solvents that clean the garments. After this "washing in solvents", the garments are then "dried" where the solvent is reclaimed and used over again. The solvent is filtered and more than likely distilled to make it pure.
Drycleaning is said to have started back in the 1700's when a person tipped over an oil lamp with kerosene in it, and saw how when it dried, the cloth was clean. In the early 1900's all drycleaning was done in petroleum solvents which had a high fire risk... Later benzene and carbon tetrachloride was used. In the late 1940's a synthetic solvent was developed that is used today by over 85% of the drycleaners.
In the drycleaning solvent, there are usually detergents that help to suspend the soil off the garment and to carry a small amount of moisture to aid in the removal of "sweet" stains. The cleaning process itself (not counting finishing (pressing) can take between 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the cleaning equipment, solvent used and a few other factors.
Back in the 1960's, many coin operated laundries installed little 8 lb drycleaning machines. These machines did not have proper solvent purificaiton systems on them and garments came out looking dingy and smelling. In a properly operated system, this does not happen.
One Hour Cleaner prides itself on the purity and quality of solvent it uses. The experts recommend that for every 100 lbs of garments cleaned that 8 to 10 gallons of solvent be distilled. Distillation removes all the greases, oils, dirts (and detergents) that was in the solvent. With the special machine that OHC has, they distill between 24 to 30 gallons per hundred pounds cleaned, so the solvent is exceptionally clean. This is more expensive because of the additional amounts of detergent and sizing needed to "re-charge" the solvent, but feel your garments are worth the very best.
Now, when garments are made, actually when fabric is made, they are treated with textile finishing agents called sizing. Regular drycleaning and home washing removes these sizing, causing a garment to look limp and lifeless over time. One Hour Cleaners adds a special sizing to their cleaning solution that not only replaces the sizing the garment had when it was new, but has fluorescent brightners that make the garments look their best. Why do this? Besides your garments being important to us, this helps the garments to hold their "pressing" better, it helps to prevent stains and spots from getting deep into the weave meaning easier spot removal, and the brightners make your garments look better. Combined, it can make them look better and last longer. This is a very expensive additive and that is why most cleaners do not do this. We are the only cleaners in Peru to have done this since 1980 (and maybe the only ones doing it at all....). Your garments are important to us. Remember regular drycleaning removes this sizing, we add it back!
But there is more...
Since the drycleaning solvent cannot remove all spots and stains (only those that are insoluble, meaning that won't dissolve in solvent or water; or solvent soluble, meaning only those that dissolve in solvent (like greases and oils), garments are many times pretreated with special stain removing chemicals or worked on a device called a spotting board. It doesn't "spot" stuff as the name might imply, but at this board are chemicals along with steam, air and water and the professional spot removal technician with the use of the chemicals and steam, water and air, removes these spots and stains. Those that are not removed either before or after cleaning, probably will get continued work after the cleaning process.
Not all stains are removable. But with good skills, many can be removed. This is why it is important to select a drycleaner who is a member of the International Fabricare Institute, which One Hour Cleaners is. If we get stumped on a spot or stain, we can call upon the experts at IFI. Also our staff goes to training seminars and gets monthly technical bulletins to keep them abreast of the changing fabricare world. This is very important. Do you really want to trust your garments to a drycleaner who won't spend about $1 a day to be a member of IFI and have all this information at their fingertips?
After cleaning, then the garment is finished. We call it finishing, not pressing as finishing implies returning it back to its original shape, which not only includes pressing but other techniques as well. After finishing the garment is inspected and then bagged ready for the consumer to pick up. Of course this is a simple overview of drycleaning. In reality, garments are inspected at the counter by the counter personnel for stains and spots and anything else unusual. Then they are inspected by the person called the drycleaner, the one who determines the process to be used on the garment. Garments just aren't all thrown into the machine together. They are separated by color, by material, by weight. Then they are inspected when they come out of the machine. They are inspected while they are being finished and then at the time of bagging.
Of course what I have described here is what happens in a High Quality plant, such as One Hour Cleaners.
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