CHICAGO — Nine out of 10 (91.7%) operators now use professional wetcleaning techniques in their plants, according to this month’s Wire survey. Half (50.0%) of the respondents still process less than 25% of their non-laundry garment processing in water, however.
More than a quarter (27.1%) of operators responding to the survey say they process 26% to 50% of their work using professional wetcleaning; 4.2% say they process 51% to 75% of garments in water. One in 10 operators (10.4%) now performs 76% to 100% of their work using professional wetcleaning techniques — more than those who report using no wetcleaning at all (8.3%).
Operators who wetclean are split evenly on what to tell customers. Asked, “When processing ‘Dryclean only’ garments using a wetcleaning process, do you inform customers?” 50% of respondents said, “Yes, an educated customer is a good customer,” and 50% said, “No, people come to us because we know what’s best for their garments.”
Asked to name the biggest challenge in using professional wetcleaning techniques to process garments, 19.4% cited finishing issues, 13.9% named garment classification, and 11.1% named proper staff training. “There are limits to wetcleaning, as with all cleaning,” says one operator.
“Wetcleaning helps our business a great deal,” another operator says. “It [lets] us clean clothes with a higher quality of stain removal. The downside is that there is some risk, and added time.”
“Wetcleaning is a great addition to the process,” another operator adds. “With the right chemicals and programs, you can thoroughly clean some garments that would have taken hours on the spotting board. I had a wool blazer in the other day that had chocolate milk spilled all over it, and after the wetcleaning process, it came out beautiful.
“I discussed this process with the customer, and he was glad that there was a way to save the blazer,” the operator says. “He thought it was a total loss.”
While the American Drycleaner Wire survey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific.
Subscribers to American Drycleaner’s Wire e-mails — distributed weekly — are invited to participate in an industry survey each month. The survey is conducted online via a partner website. Each survey is developed so it can be completed in 10 minutes or less. Readers are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define operator opinions and industry trends.