Dress Shirt Dry Cleaning vs. Laundry

Has this ever happened to you?  You take your cotton dress shirts to the dry cleaner expecting to pay to have them laundered (after all, the care label says the shirt is washable).  Instead, the dry cleaner recommends that the shirt should really be dry cleaned.  Confusing?  You bet.  However, there are good reasons why you should heed your cleaner’s advice. You will protect your shirt and your appearance if you follow it.

Your dry cleaner is an expert at what he does, and he knows it’s not the actual washing that can damage your shirt, it’s the pressing.  When laundering a shirt, it gets pressed wet at high heat and pressure – up to 80 PSI (pounds per square inch).  Pressing at these extremes can adversely affect some shirts.  For instance, certain dark colors like black and maroon can end up with a “shine” to the fabric, while textures on some higher-end shirts can be altered beyond repair.  In addition, high heat and pressure can crack and break buttons.

When a couture cleaner advises dry cleaning, the cleaner suggests a gentler process that will safeguard the appearance and condition of a shirt.  When dry cleaning a shirt, it gets pressed.  This means that cleaning professionals utilize hand-held irons, with gentler pressures and heat settings, to hand finish shirts and guarantee that the customer gets a perfectly pressed garment.

Not every shirt needs dry cleaning — just like not every shirt needs laundering.  When your dry cleaner suggests one treatment or another for your favorite shirt, listen to him.  After all, he’s the expert.