Soda water?

Info Tolemans - Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Does soda water really work on spills? Everyone "knows" soda water is the ultimate remedy for instant stain removal, but is it really all it's cracked up to be? Our 107-year-old professional trade association, the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI), recently completed an in-depth study of the merits of soda water versus plain old water in stain removal, and as members, we're pleased to share their findings. The short answer is "yes" soda water can be a big help in the short term, but "no" it is not the end-all, be-all stain removal miracle it is made out to be. 

When applied immediately to 10 commonplace food stains DLI tested, both soda water and water removed anywhere from some to most of the stain. However, neither treatment will completely remove the stains and if left untreated the remaining stain residues can become permanent stains over time or when the garment is cleaned. On the 10 common spills that DLI's stain removal experts used for the test, they found that after blotting a spill with either soda water or water some or most visible traces of the substance were removed; however, an analysis under ultraviolet light showed that at least a portion of nearly every stain remained after soda water or water was used.

Therefore, although it is best to try and rinse out the stain with water immediately after contact with the clothing, it is then also advisable to take the garment to a professional cleaner who can completely remove the last traces. Point out to the cleaner the area of the stain, the type of staining substance, and what attempts you made to reduce the initial spillage. If this is not done as soon as possible, the invisible remaining residue can oxidize over time and leave a permanent discoloration later, which in many cases on some fabrics cannot be removed. 

For Best Results, Act Fast
When it comes time to remove the stain, the chances are greatly increased if soda water (or water) is used to rinse the stain before it dries. After it dries the degree of effectiveness drops considerably. In a coffee stain, for example, there may be sugar residue present that you may not be able to see, but it can carmelize during the drying or pressing processes, leaving a yellowish stain. A stain removal expert can remove this residue if he or she knows the stain was there in the first place. It is always recommended that customers mention any spills or attempts to remove stains at the counter. This way we will be better prepared to restore your garment to a like-new appearance.

There are also some stains that soda water actually makes worse. Ballpoint ink is almost always made up of water and solvent components. If water or soda water is used to remove this kind of stain, it could set the stain permanently into the fabric. So, with ballpoint stains, it is best to leave them to the professional stain removers.

Soda water or water will hold the stain off until you can get the garment to a cleaner: we can usually remove the stains completely if you bring it in without delay.

The Dry Cleaning process

Info Tolemans - Wednesday, September 30, 2015
How We Keep Your Clothes Looking Great

What happens to your clothes when you bring them to us?

Who handles them and how do they make them look renewed and refreshed? Your clothes are in the best care when they’re with us! Our professional garment handlers are trained to remove stains, solve problems, press out wrinkles, and make your clothes look the best they can. 

The process starts at the counter when you drop off your cleaning. This is the best time to let us know about any stains that may require extra attention, or to identify any other potential problems. That way we can be sure our garment experts will be able to give your clothes any extra care needed. 

We identify your garments with a tag system, then sort them by type, fabric content, color, and cleaning method. Some garments may need to be laundered, hand washed, or wetcleaned. Other specialty items such as leathers or furs require special care. Some garments may require some stain removal efforts before we clean them, and others may not. It all depends on each individual piece. 

Drycleaning cleans clothing without the use of water, it’s true, but liquids are involved. Drycleaning solvent is the primary cleaning force in the process, using a fluid that cuts through grease and oily stains but does not harm most fabrics. Special drycleaning detergents are added by a controlled system. Precision is of the essence to ensure properly cleaned clothing.

Wetcleaning resembles the home washing process because it uses water as the main cleaning agent, but that’s where the similarities end. Wetcleaning uses highly specialized equipment and detergents to clean clothing, giving them a renewed and refreshed appearance. 

After cleaning we check your clothes for any remaining stains that may not have come out in the regular cleaning process. This is called spotting or stain removal. Any lingering stains are removed as best as possible using the appropriate products. These items are then re-cleaned before we give them back to you. 

Dressed to Im-Press

Near the end of the production line you’ll find the pressing station. This is where your clothes are pressed and made ready to wear. Pressing is a job that requires an eye for detail, and it’s these details that help you look good when you’re wearing your professionally-cleaned clothes to an important function or for work or play. 

Following the pressing process, all of your garments are brought back together and placed in the inspection lineup. This is where we catch things like missing buttons, stains that may need extra work, and any undesired impressions from pressing equipment. Any item that does not pass this quality control inspection is sent back for additional care before being assembled with the rest of your order and bagged. 

That’s the process in a nutshell. Thanks for taking the tour! If you have any questions about the clothing care process, feel free to ask a customer service representative or a manager. We love what we do and we’re only too happy to talk about it. 

Looking forward to seeing you again soon.

That GQ article

Info Tolemans - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dry Cleaning and Laundry Institute's reply to a GQ article about not needing to dry clean your suit.  

Jim NelsonOctober 21, 2014

GQ Editor-in-Chief

The advice offered in your October article Don’t Get Taken to the Cleaners > The Smart Man’s Guide to Laundry would leave readers in the least GQ position possible: looking and smelling like a bum.

Not cleaning your clothes makes you stink. Not pressing them or ironing them makes you look like you slept on a park bench. We don’t want your readers to look and smell like bums.

As the world’s leading trade association for drycleaners and launderers, we worked with the U.S. government and military during World War II because drycleaning was considered “necessary and beneficial” to the war effort at home and abroad. Drycleaning kills disease-causing germs. Thus, we take particular offense to your calling our industry’s services “napalm for your clothes.” 

Our research technicians drycleaned a wool suit 1,000 times to prove that drycleaning does not wear out garments. In fact, the suit lasted longer than the regularly-cleaned control piece. What is really bad for clothes is dirt that wears down fibers and causes them to tear over time. Cleaning takes the dirt out of your clothes so it is not abrading fibers and causing holes. 

Cleaning a suit once a year is the best method we know to attract bugs to the fibers. Moths, silverfish and microscopic bugs feed on the sweat, sugars, and urine dribs that can get on suits. Men know that no one really has perfect aim. How will your readers feel when they discover holes in the crotches of their best suits on interview or board meeting day?

Washing jeans once every six months is one of the most disgusting things we’ve ever heard. Most jeans stink after the second wearing. What are you editors doing in these jeans? Sitting around in air-conditioned offices? 

Whatever axe your writer had to grind against hard-working garment care professionals is beyond me. We can go through your item point-by-point and explain how the advice offered in this item is the exact opposite of what men should do if they want to look (and smell) like a GQ model. We can only surmise that this article was designed to keep people who don’t know better from getting ahead in business and romance. 

Please contact us about any future articles you may wish to produce about clothing care. We’ve been in the business for 108 years and represent the world’s best clothing care professionals. The drycleaning process is far from the ripoff your article implies. Our Research, Analysis, Textile Testing and Education departments would be happy to help you produce an item that would serve GQ readers’ interests by providing sound advice on clothing care.


Mary Scalco, CEO

Drycleaning & Laundry Institute

Rubber backed curtains

Info Tolemans - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Damage to Drape Coatings


Sometimes either drycleaning or wet cleaning will soften the bonded coatings applied to the back of a drapes, curtains and other window treatment fabrics. In other cases, there is a separate lining attached that may have this coating applied to it.


The damage may appear as missing areas of coating, self-sticking or blistering of the coating or all of the above. In any case, when the coating dissolves and is removed from the base fabric, the drape loses it's opaque finish. If hung back up, light will shine through where the coating was disturbed and create a splotchy appearance


These coatings are applied to help block out light, as well as to increase insulating qualities. The coating material itself, the binder or improper application can cause the drape to not be resistant to drycleaning or wet cleaning. This damage may occur on new items even in the first care process or not until later in the life cycle of the drape after prolonged exposure to light and atmospheric gases. Also, coating damage may not appear until after multiple cleanings.


This damage can only be prevented by the manufacturer who must select component materials that can last for the expected life cycle of the drape, as well as perform without damage through repeated suggested care procedures. The cleaner cannot predict or prevent such damage prior to or during care.


The manufacturer is responsible for quality control of materials and construction methods. The drape must be durable to the accepted care process for the entire life expectancy (only 3-4 years for coated drapes). However, coatings can be sensitive to atmospheric conditions of prolonged hanging, thus damage that appears after the drape is well into or past its life cycle cannot be considered a manufacturer defect.


No. There is no restoration.

Fuzzy Issues (elastane)

Info Tolemans - Thursday, August 20, 2015



Some garments containing a percentage of "stretch" fibers appear faded or have a lint-like appearance after dry cleaning. The generic name for these fibers is spandex. It may also be listed on a care label as elastane and include trade names such as Cleerspan, Dorlastan, Linel, Lycra, or others.


Examination shows that the stretch spandex yarns have lost their color, appearing white, gold or tan. In other instances, these yarns have stretched out or broken, thus protruding from the surface of the fabric. In both cases, the fabric now appears fuzzy or looks like it has lint on the surface.


Spandex can be dyed effectively to match the other colors in the fabric blend. However, just like other fabric dyes, sometimes the color will dissolve in the dry cleaning solvent and be flushed away, leaving the goldish-tan, raw-colored spandex showing. In other cases, the stress from wear and the agitation of dry cleaning can cause these fine stretch yarns to slip out of the fabric, forming small loops on the surface. Sometimes, the spandex yarns actually break during dry cleaning, again leaving a "fuzzy" lint-like appearance.


Only the garment manufacturer can prevent the dyes from fading or damage to the stretch yarns by selecting dyes and stretch yarns with more resistance to conditions of wear and the recommended cleaning process. The dyes need to be properly set in order to avoid color fading during the recommended procedure. Excess tension applied to the spandex during fabric construction, insufficient heat setting, and the use of solvent soluble lubricants and/or incompatible fabric blends can all contribute to spandex yarn damage.


Only the manufacturer can be held responsible when one of the aforementioned problems occurs through normal wear and following the recommended care procedure in articles not past their life expectancy. Sometimes this damage will occur in a short period of time or during the initial cleaning, while at other times the damage is progressive and will not show up until much later or after repeated cleaning. The dry cleaner has no control over any of the factors that can cause such fading or damage and cannot prevent it during the accepted or manufacturer's recommended care procedure.


Faded, stretched, or damaged spandex used as a blended component of fabrics cannot be restored.


That bubbled look

Info Tolemans - Thursday, August 20, 2015

Separation of Fusible Facings


The problem arises when the material bonded to the shell fabric to add body to the garment begins to separate from normal wear and care.


Many garments have a separate fabric fused to the inside in some areas to give support, maintain shape, and add body. When this interfacing material separates from the shell fabric or shrinks, the garment appears puckered or blistered.


Interfacing separation can be caused by a number of deficiencies in manufacturing. It could be due to insufficient time, temperature, or pressure used in the fusing process. Another reason is that not all fusible materials are compatible with the base fabric and will not form a good bond. In other cases, the interfacing and base fabric used may have different rates of relaxation shrinkage that only show up after cleaning as bubbled fabric.


This damage can only be prevented if the manufacturer uses shell fabrics and fusible interfacing materials that are compatible. The methods used to bond them together must be durable to expected conditions of wear and the recommended care processes for a reasonable period of time. Pretesting by manufacturers will help avoid fusing problems.


In the case of newer garments, meaning garments that are within the range of their reasonable life expectancy, the garment manufacturer would be responsible for using materials and/or methods of construction that could not withstand normal circumstances of use and later cleaning without damage. The cleaner can neither predict nor prevent such damage during a proper cleaning process.


Although extensive professional pressing procedures may help some garments, others cannot be restored satisfactorily without risk of shine, seam impressions, or further distortions.