TODAY   |  August 08, 2013

Expert shares what the dry cleaner wants you to know

“Clothing Doctor” Steven Boorstein reveals how to get the best results when you drop off your dry cleaning, explaining when to ask for starch and offering other tips.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> called ask the expert. everything you need to know about dry cleaning and getting the best care possible for your favorite items.

>> this is steve bore stein, a third generation dry cleaning professional and the creator of clothing steve , nice to see you.

>> thank you.

>>> do you think people know what dry cleaning means?

>> no, i don't, really. it's a misnomer. dry cleaning is not "dry." it's like a front load washer with water and detergent. goes around and around. the dry part came from the old days when somebody spilled kerosene on a tablecloth and noticed that the stains came out. it is dry in that it's not water soluble , but it is wet.

>> let's get your expertise here. dropping off your clothes, what is the most important information to exchange with the dry cleaner ?

>> the most important information is to tell them what the problem is. where is the stain, what is the stain? how long has it been there? how did you get it? that sort of thing. be specific. because you're not going to get what you want unless you --

>> special instructions are okay. the dry cleaner likes it when you're specific?

>> absolutely, yeah.

>> where do the clothes go then? do you do it right here?

>> tell the truth.

>> that's a really good question. after they take them in at the counter, then they take them in back, affix a tag, something like that. that will tell them their special instructions. they check the pockets. which is important for the dry cleaner and at home so you don't have gum or lipstick or vaseline or something that ruins all the clothes. then it goes into the back where the super spotter removes any stains on there. they put it in the machine, it actually washes and dries in one cycle. comes out, gets reinspected, goes to be pressed or finished and hand ironed if necessary. inspected again, packaged. and then back to the rightful customer.

>> real quick, should i pre treat a stain? should i try to take care of it before i bring it in?

>> in most cases i say no. it's not a cop out. they're the professionals.

>> a lot of garments have a little label that says dry clean only.

>> right.

>> do you really have to adhere to that?

>> that's a good question. this is one of those items. 93% silk. the bottom line is, if you're comfortable hand washing something, go ahead. but why would you take a custom made suit or a garment like this and take a chance by doing it yourself.

>> are there any fabrics or items that should never be dry cleaned?

>> they usually say do not dry clean .

>> at home, dry clean kits, do they work?

>> i think that consumers should be given every power they can. the fact is, i think they work well at freshing up clothing. they remove water-based stains like juice and soda and coffee. but they do not remove oily stains. olive oil , fish oil , stuff like that, you need the dry cleaner .

>> you've heard this question before. why is it so expensive?

>> were is it more expensive for women's clothes?

>> clean and quick. if it's tailored the same, your suit and a woman's suit, exactly the same, same prices. however, if it's got pleats, buttons, trims, embellishments, something to make it more difficult than that suit, it's going to be more. takes more time.

>> you've got some shirts over here. starch? a lot of people like starch on a hanger, they like it really stiff. does it damage the clothing it.

>> it does. long-term, starch is not a good idea. however, if you love starch, then you should think about starch for three weeks, then three weeks wash them without starch. let it flush out so it doesn't turn the fabric brittle.

>> let's get real about if something is damaged, it doesn't come back the way you think it was, realistically, what happens? will dry cleaners refund money or pay for the item?

>> it's like good restaurants and bad restaurants. a good dry cleaner will take responsibility and pay you. lesser dry cleaner is going to use a fair claims guide from the government, diminish the price based on the value of the garment based on age and condition.

>>> final question. savannah wanted to ask this. when you deliver something to her house that doesn't belong to her, does she get to keep it?

>> sometimes. i ended up with a rain coat in the same situation.

>> you're not giving that back.

>> the customer didn't want it.

>> really important, the dry cleaner , you quickly return that to get it to its rightful owner?

>> definitely. we try to do everything we can for the consumer.

>> steve , thank very much. appreciate