|Why are shirts laundered rather than dry cleaned?|
Some folks who might not be that experienced with dry cleaners might think that it’s a one-size-fits-all policy that we have - that anything that comes into the store, we dry clean, because we are after all a “dry cleaners.” In truth, dry cleaning is only about half the business, from a numbers perspective. If you look at our main signage outside most of our stores, you will see that it actually highlights two things: dry cleaning and shirt laundering. And in fact, in terms of pure numbers, we actually do a higher quantity of laundered shirts in a given day than we have number of garments dry cleaned.
So what’s the difference? Well, as the term implies, dry cleaning is a process that doesn’t involve water, whereas shirt laundering is predicated around a laundry machine - just like the one at your home, except ours are larger and more powerful. So why, then, would you bring your shirts to the cleaners when it’s something that, seemingly, you can do at home? There are a couple of advantages to having your shirts done by a professional cleaner.
The first is that we are quite simply better at getting out stains. Our detergent is going to be more concentrated than the Tide or Cheer you get at the supermarket, and our spotting solutions - to get out specific stains or the most common enemy of shirts, perspiration and ring around the collar - are more potent than, for instance, Shout. Secondly, if you like starch in your shirts - we’ll get into that issue later on down the line - it’s a heck of a lot easier and better to get starch via our machines than via commercially available spray starch - it’s going to be a lot cleaner and a lot more uniform. And finally, and most importantly, is our shirt pressing. Shirts are going to have a lot of wrinkles when they come out of the wash. Either you can iron them yourself, which is really time-consuming, or you can have us press them. Using a machine press is fast - it’s the primary reason why shirt prices can be lower than dry cleaning prices - and a lot faster than if you were to have to iron all your shirts yourself. That doesn’t even get into the free bonuses you get, like free replacement of any broken or missing buttons.
So what does shirt laundering actually mean for you as a customer? Quite simply, laundered shirts are less expensive than if you were to dry clean the same shirt. And that’s basically how the entire dry cleaning industry has always worked. Cleaners don’t actually make much if any money on shirts - the margins are really low. Shirts are largely about getting customers in the door. We want to do good work on your shirts, but what we really want is to do good work on your shirts so that you also do your dry cleaning with us - because dry cleaned items are where all cleaners, us included, really make their money.