Making Decisions On Wetcleaning Or Drycleaning

Many claim to have a machine that will “do it all” for you. No decisions. Just chunk it in and go about your business. Much the same way drycleaners are taught today. When you place no investment in a person to train them, they just become machine changers. The startling part of that decision is leaving someone like that in charge of deciding what is cleanable or “serviceable,” as we say in the industry, and what should be put in water and what should be put in drycleaning fluid. I’d hate to say that a presser, who happens to be the last person on duty or the counter girl, would clean loads ahead. Either one of them becoming the machine changer in the afternoon is a scary thought. Yet, I see it done all the time. Most arguing that these people havehad “some” experience in the cleaning room. Scary.

Decisions made about how to clean clothes must include the counter looking out for potential trouble garments and the cleaner or prespotting person looking out as well. Only an experienced decision can send the garment the direction it needs to go in the drycleaning or wetcleaning department. A new department has emerged in recent years that calls for “gentle wash” or “cold water wash” that involves the home washer style method of cleaning tee shirts, golf shirts, khakis and sweat suits. The customer does not want drycleaning, does not want the cost of fully-fledged wetcleaning and can choose a gentle method and mid range price of a cold water wash. Frankly, many have been doing that for years, but only not charging a separate and appropriate price for it. I started promoting the idea at least fifteen years ago.

We must not forget the rule that if one is paying for drycleaning, that is what they should get, except when the care label or your experienced eye prevents it. In other words, wetcleaning items such as khakis, golf shirts, etc., need to be drycleaned first to remove greases and oils. This has been the appropriate method for cleaning clothes as long as I can remember. First you dryclean, then if necessary, you wetclean. Some like to skip that step arguing that the wetcleaning detergents of today and biodegradable spotters will do the work of drycleaning. I don’t believe it. Now, if the item does not look like it needs to be drycleaned and is barely soiled then yes, that would be appropriate to skip one step. Other reasons might be the delicate construction or dye of the hand washable item.

The bottom line, as they say, is that many qualified and no rush decisions have to be considered when prespotting, categorizing and a method of cleaning is decided. What galls me is to see these rush jobs with little or no thought process considered, just treating every garment the same.

“Consider Charging A Decent Price”
That can get you into trouble and also defeats the purpose of charging according to value, worth, cleanability and quality of service. All these must factor into any good cleaning process through any plant, irregardless of the price they charge. If it does not prove to be profitable to do it the right way…then consider charging a decent price. Not to worry that the customer will complain. It is my judgment that if you offered everything to clean for 25 cents on Monday, someone would gripe anyway. Charge for your service, competition, be damned. Sell quality and service, not price.

Wetcleaning in a professional manner would include all the right equipment. A sink or two for digesting stubborn aluminous body stains out with a leading digester is necessary. Another sink for soaking organic stained items in a sodium perborate bath overnight is necessary. A small machine to rinse and extract. A windwhip to properly blow dry the item out is needed.

Someone starting at the counter and all the way back to the cleaner has to think in terms of drycleaning fluids or water. They need to consider hand cleaning verses machine cleaning. Proper drycleaning and shaping for the finisher is considered. This is why we charge more for wetcleaning. It requires a lot of handling and shaping to return it to its natural and beautiful glow and shape.

Try these suggestions on for size and your work will improve and your profits will go up as you become known as a leading professional cleaner on your block

I’m headin’ to the wagon now, these boots are killin’ me!

About Kenney Slatten

Kenney Slatten Training Company is a Dry Cleaning and Laundry Consulting Firm Specializing in Environmental Training and Certification. Kenney Slatten Training Company, or KSTC, is based in Texas with offices in Arizona and California. Kenney Slatten is a certified instructor/trainer for the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI), is actively involved in the San Diego Drycleaners Association, the California Cleaners Association, is an Allied Trade board member of DLI, the Executive Director of Western States Drycleaners & Launderers Association, a member of the International Drycleaners Congress, and a columnist for American Drycleaner and Western Cleaner and Launderer magazines. The Kenney Slatten Training Company provides the only complete environmental training and inspection process. Started in 1987, Kenny became the first instructor for California E.P.A, OSHA, and state regulations. Kenney publishes a 36 point plant requirement every year in trade publications which is his guide for plant training and certification. We are the only company that provides dry cleaning and laundry specific environmental training. Kenney Slatten is a third generation drycleaner/laundryman from Houston, Texas. His company, KSTC, can teach you the skills you need to have a successful plant. His wagon is found all over the country parked under a tree just waiting for the next call to come to your plant. He can be reached at (800) 429-3990; e-mail: or go to: www.

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