how long does dry cleaning take

How Long Does Dry Cleaning Take? Detailed Facts

Dry cleaning is an incredible solution for fabrics that are not water-friendly. Common examples include silk, wool, cashmere and rayon. However, you do not have to know them physically. They are easy to identify using the care label that comes with all kinds of garments.

Also read: how do to iron dry clean only clothes

Factors determining the turn around time for dry cleaning

clothes in a dry cleaner

After determining that a garment requires dry cleaning, a major concern is how long the process takes. Generally, most dry cleaners provide a timeline of up to 48 hours for regular garments. However, there are items that remain in their facilities for much longer.

Overall, the following factors can influence the length of the turnaround time.

  • The dry cleaning process
  • On or off premise services
  • Number of garments
  • Type of garment
  • Company terms
  • Nature of services

The Dry-Cleaning Process

The term dry-cleaning implies a process that does not bring garments into contact with liquid. Accordingly, it commonly creates the perception of an instant cleaning process whereby clothes remain dry throughout.

To demystify the misconception, dry-cleaning involves the use of liquid solvent. The solvents may vary but the common one is known as perchloroethylene.

As it is with machine and handwashing, dry-cleaning has a procedure that takes time and effort. divide the process into four major steps. They include inspection, pre-treatment, cleaning and finishing.

Inspection: After taking clothes for dry-cleaning, professionals receive and inspect them. Firstly, they have to check whether the fabric is suitable for dry-cleaning. Secondly, they determine whether the clothes have accessories such as buttons and belts. Other things that can be done at the inspection stage include sorting and putting tags on garments.

Pre-treatment: Often, dry-cleaning facilities receive garments that have stains. Pre-treating the stains is fundamental. It helps ease the process of dry cleaning. Additionally, it increases the chance of laundry coming out the machines in pristine condition.

Finishing up: The garments have to be inspected again after cleaning. Ideally, the aim is to ensure that all the dirt and stains are removed. Furthermore, garments such as shirts are checked to determine whether all the buttons are there. Some service providers replace broken and missing buttons and clips for free.

Other important things that happen in this step include ironing, steaming and folding clothes.

On or Off Premise

The general assumption is that dry cleaning facilities carry out the cleaning process on-site with the exemption of drop shops. However, this is not always the case.

Some cleaners outsource services from larger plants. Ideally, this depends on factors such as type of laundry, level of expertise and the available equipment.

Overall, on-site dry cleaning is likely to take less time. You have to factor in time spent outsourcing services and transporting garments when it comes to off-premise cleaning.

Number of Garments

Taking one shirt for dry cleaning is not the same as having a load of laundry. Generally, more clothes require more time for inspection and cleaning.

A critical factor that comes into play is variety. For example, if your laundry contains items such as handbags, clothes that feature embellishments, leather items and so on, it can potentially take more time to clean.

Some garments might require spot treatment. On the other hand, others might need the attention of specialists who are not readily available.  

Type of Garment

There are dry cleaners that handle specific types of garments on site and others are cleaned off-premises. Generally, this depends on specialization, expertise and equipment.

For example, a facility might only specialize on leather cleaning and double as a drop shop for other types of laundry. Accordingly, the team must liaise with a cleaning company that gets the actual job done, before providing customers with turnaround times.

Company Terms

Different dry cleaners have unique terms that govern their operations. For example, a facility might operate with a 24 hours rule while another one might prefer to have laundry picked after 48 hours.

Mostly, larger facilities with a lot of workload operate under longer deadlines.  

In essence, this does not mean that your garments cannot get ready earlier. In fact, this happens most of the times.

Nature of Services

Some dry cleaners provide premium services such as pick up and delivery. There are also others that provide repair services for free.

As much as these services are enticing, they require time sacrifice.

What happens if you pick up dry cleaning late?

Sometimes the customer might be the one that extends the time for picking up laundry from a dry cleaner. With a busy schedule and the struggle to balance between work and personal affairs, it is completely understandable.

Most companies address the challenge by providing a grace period of up to two weeks. Furthermore, they also make follow up calls.

Ideally, it is important to keep the dry cleaner contacts and call if you are late. Effective communication can help protect your relationship with the company.

What happens if you forget to pick up your dry cleaning?

Forgetting to pick clothes from a dry cleaner is normal. However, there is a duration within which you can pick the items. In most cases, it varies with companies and states.

If you completely forget to pick your laundry and the deadline nears, the company will attempt to reach you. However, if the deadline reaches and you are completely unavailable, most dry cleaners donate the clothes to churches and charity organizations.

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