As regular readers will know, the search for truly old-fashioned craftsmen is one of the purposes of this blog. And while I would never recommend or compare services I had not personally experienced (an area where some of the style forums fall down), it is worth mentioning that Jeeves dry cleaners has a sterling reputation.
The services are apparently excellent, but then for the prices it charges they should be (£31 to dry clean a suit, £50 to replace half of a sole). The advice it gives clients is also worth highlighting. The more unique recommendations are:
– Hang your suits up in the wardrobe with just the shoulders covered, to prevent dust. Cut off the top of a dry-cleaning cover to do this. Do not hang fully covered. [I would prefer to use breathable, fabric suit bags I have to say.]
– Hang your suit outside of the wardrobe for two hours before putting away. [Probably effective but something I’m unlikely to remember.]
On the technical, stain-related side, the helpful tips are:
– Never rub a stain. Blot with a paper towel, one on each side. In particular, rubbing silk, wool or linen may result in the permanent removal of the dye. This may be accentuated by dry cleaning.
– Equally, adding any liquid usually makes things worse. Water-based stains are harder for the dry cleaner to deal with, so adding water creates this and helps the stain spread. It will also loosen the dye. The same applies to wine, soda water and salt.
– Heat helps create a ‘developed stain’, which can be more permanent. So do not press, iron or otherwise heat it.
– Watch out for clear liquids like lemonade or champagne, which might not appear to stain at first but will develop a yellow/brown stain over time from the sugar they contain.
The interesting point for me on these first two tips is that they reflect what is easiest for the dry cleaner. If you want to self-treat the stain, the old tips about white wine on red wine etc. apply. But the cleaner would always want to have an unadulterated stain to work with. So no water or rubbing, no matter how tempting it might be.
Two last tips for skin products (leather or suede):
– A small stain on suede may be removed with a hard Indian rubber using a gentle circular motion.
– If you are buying a skin garment, make sure all the panels inside and out are the same colour and texture. This is the key way to tell a quality garment.