Clothes Clinic and Columbus Cleaners offer dry cleaning and related services to customers in greater Boston. Known under two brand names, the family business is operated by the husband-and-wife team of Vassilis Vassiliadis and Maria Kamperides. Started in 1990, they have four dry cleaning locations: two Columbus Cleaners in Boston and one Clothes Clinics laundry each in Braintree and Whitman, Massachusetts.
Columbus Cleaners/Clothes Clinic has always used both dry cleaning and wet cleaning washers. Dry cleaning isn’t really a dry process, but instead uses a chemical to clean the clothing. Wet cleaning uses water and detergent, much like washing machines at home.
Unsatisfied with the quality of results from his initial wet cleaning machine, Vassiliadis started researching options, including Miele Professional equipment. “We looked at Miele because they seemed more dependable,” he says.
He purchased his first set nearly four years ago. That included a Miele PW 6321 (71-pound capacity) washer and Miele PR 8507 (55-pound capacity) steam dryer. Approximately two years ago he added the Miele PW 818, a 45-pound capacity washer. The machines are located at their Braintree location, which handles all processing. (The other locations are satellite stores.)
The Miele Professional system has proved to be very versatile, Vassiliadis says. His team regularly wet cleans dress shirts, cotton pants, down products (jackets, comforters, pillows), silks, leathers, small area rugs, designer sneakers and even UGG brand sheepskin boots.
As one would expect, Clothes Clinic’s business was affected significantly by the pandemic. While it has improved lately, their business is still about 50% below pre-pandemic levels. Vassiliadis estimates that his operation’s pre-pandemic volume typically looked like this:
3,000 laundered shirts per week
80 pounds of cotton pants per day
60 lbs. of knit/golf shirts per day
In winter, they often do 45 comforters a week
A wide variety of specialty items, including:
– UGG brand boots: 5 – 6 pair per week in winter
– Lambskin and shearling coats: 4 per week
– Area rugs: 4 per month
– Irish knit wool sweaters: 3 – 4 per week
– Wedding and formal gowns: Upwards of 5 or 6 per week
Vassiliadis points out several important benefits of the Miele Professional system:
Lower water bills: The Miele Professional washers are much more efficient than earlier brands, cutting his water consumption as much as 30%. The Miele Professional washers are configured to accept steam injection. That steam heats a small portion of the water needed for a wash cycle (typically five to 10 gallons). “It heats up the water very evenly,” Vassiliadis explains, “and therefore the washer uses less energy.” Consequently, there is less demand placed on the water heater.
Twenty years ago, Vassiliadis explains, they switched from a hot water tank to mixing valves “which consume a lot of steam.” Because the Miele Professional washers incorporate steam injection, he was able to remove the mixing valves. As a result, he uses less steam in the wet cleaning process and he gets by with a smaller hot water tank.
Clothing shrinkage reduced: Standard washing machines subject clothing to high temperatures throughout the wash cycle. Miele’s moderated heating process reduces (stress) on fabric thereby nearly eliminating shrinkage.
Sustainability advantages: By using less water and energy, Miele Professional washers and dryers are better for the environment.
Less steam used to press clothing: Miele Professional washers are so efficient at extracting water, less steam is needed to finish the clothing. Vassiliadis says he set his Miele washer to 50% moisture retention. In fact, some garments can be pressed immediately. “The nice feature with Miele,” he says, “is that you can adjust the extraction RPM according to your needs.”
Superior dryer: Miele Professional dryer uses less steam and energy, and offers a higher quality of drying (fabric is softer and not overdried). A very versatile dryer, it can be programmed to their specific needs.
Less work by staff: Dress shirts and pants require little or no pretreating prior to wet cleaning.
No more clogged drains: Miele’s patented honeycomb drum keeps buttons, collar stays and other debris inside the unit – and not in drain pipes. That saves them about three hours a month spent unclogging drains.
User-friendly controls: Miele controls are easy to follow and train others on. He takes advantage of the standard programs in the Miele washer. In addition, soap distributors added programs to enhance his wet cleaning processes.
After nearly four years with Miele Professional equipment, Vassiliadis lauds their versatile and efficient operations.
“I have used different brands,” he says, “and Miele is the best thing I have come across. It is a no-brainer. Somebody who wants to do quality cleaning should buy a Miele.”