Archive for Dry Cleaning News – Page 2

Sweet of the Week

Like many true individuals, this issue’s “Sweet of the Week” pretty much goes by one name.

best dry cleaners award“We nominate Rutu,” says Jennifer Pryor at White House Florist, last week’s Sweet. Rutu is Rutu Bhonsle, the India-born entrepreneur who owns and operates Zebra Cleaners with his El Salvadoran wife, Nicole. Besides European-style dry cleaning, Zebra provides alterations, as well as wedding gown preservation and cleaning. “You won’t find a more cheerful, outgoing fella in Lexington,” Jennifer promises. She and her family have been taking their dry cleaning to Zebra since 1998, when the Bhonsles opened for business near the U.S. Post Office on Augusta Highway. In 2001, Rutu and Nicole opened a second Zebra Cleaners near Lexington High School; in 2010, they opened their third in Irmo (Peak Exit).

By this summer, they’ll be working in their new downtown Lexington location, next to Pine Press Printing, in the former Miriam’s Petites & Missy Fashions building. Zebra Cleaners ( just started offering free delivery service. Nicole and Rutu moved to Lexington from New York in 1993, following a visit here by train. After living in the big cities of Mumbai, New York and Leicester, near London, Rutu was captivated by the South Carolina countryside.

They had friends in the area, as well as a fellowship of Rutu’s church, the International Family Church. “We said, ‘Wow, this is something fantastic,’” Rutu remembers. When their plans to open a bistro didn’t come together, the Bhonsles decided to enter the dry cleaning business. Nicole worked for a friend’s dry cleaning service, and Rutu went to Europe to study dry cleaning methods there.

They chose the name “Zebra” for several reasons. One is that zebras are hard to train, just as Zebra Cleaners’ methods are hard to imitate, Rutu says. Rutu, 49, designs clothing, and plans to open a boutique. His designs will be seen in the Junior Woman’s Club of Lexington’s fashion show March 25. Meanwhile, at Zebra Cleaners, he and Nicole, 42, make a good team. “I handle the marketing and strategic planning,” he says. “Nicole, she’s the main brain.”

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The Green Cleaning

‘Organic’ and ‘Green’ Dry Cleaning

“The cleaning industry has a habit of stretching the ‘green thing,’ and the tags ‘Environmentally Friendly’ and ‘Organic,’ so you have to watch for that,” says Steve Boorstein, a former dry cleaner who dispenses clothing care advice on his website, and in a new DVD, Clothing Care: The Clothing Doctor’s Secrets to Taking Control. Among the most common perc replacements is the petroleum-based solvent DF-2000, made by ExxonMobil. Because it’s hydrocarbon-based, to a chemist—and almost no one else—it’s considered an “organic” compound. The EPA cites risk of neurological damage and skin and eye irritation in workers using it, and since it doesn’t clean as well as perc on its own, dry cleaners often end up adding pretreatment chemicals.

Common Cleaning Problems

Sometimes clothes just don’t turn out right. Here are some common problems and the likely solutions to the problems.

Problem #1:

Your clothes come out gray or yellow.

You may need to increase the amount of detergent in the next load, use a detergent booster, or increase the temperature of the wash water. However, the gray could be from dye that has bled from darks to lights, suggesting you need to sort better. Bluing added to the wash load sometimes corrects graying in white fabrics.

Problem #2:

You notice detergent residue on clothes.

Your powdered detergent isn’t dissolving properly. Make sure the loads aren’t too full. Use liquid detergent with cold-water cycles. Try letting the washer fill with water, adding the detergent, and then adding the clothes. If the problem is caused by hard water, try using a water-softening product in the next load. To remove hard-water residue from clothes, soak them in a solution of 1 cup white vinegar per 1 gallon warm water. Rinse and rewash.

Problem #3:

You have a problem with pilling.

This is most common among synthetic fabrics. Try turning synthetic clothing inside out before washing. (Pilling is caused by abrasion of fibers, and this cuts down on abrasion during the wash and dry cycles.) You can also wash your synthetics together in a gentler, shorter cycle. Using a liquid detergent will help. To remove pills, snip them off with a battery-powered pill remover (available at sewing stores and discount retailers) or pull the fabric tight over a curved surface and carefully shave the pills off with a safety razor.

Problem #4:

There’s a lot of lint on your clothes.

You probably need to sort better. Separate lint producers, such as fleece sweat suits, chenille items, new terry cloth towels, and flannel pajamas, from lint attractors, such as corduroys, synthetic blends, and dark fabric. To remove the lint, use a lint roller or pat with the sticky side of masking or packing tape. Check to make sure pockets are empty of tissues and other paper before you wash. Make sure the washer and dryer lint filters are clean.

-from Amazing Cleaning Secrets.