Monday, December 17, 2012

An Update to our Dry Cleaning Policy

Two years ago, I posted on this blog about "The Issue of Dry Cleaning."  In that post, I explained to you why Couture Allure had all garments dry cleaned before listing them on the site.  I also shared with you information on how to find your own dry cleaner for your vintage garments.  Sadly, I now must tell you that I have stopped using my favorite dry cleaner for the vintage garments we sell at Couture Allure.  Here's why:

-   Over this past summer, my dry cleaner was closed for a couple of weeks while they installed all new machinery at their location.  The owner told me that he was doing so to comply with new and stricter laws and that their new machines would clean with an environmentally safer method.  Here in Massachusetts, all dry cleaners that share building space with residential apartments and certain other types of businesses must stop using perchloroethylene (perc for short) by 2023.  Perc is a known carcinogen and is hazardous to the environment and ground water supplies.  Since my dry cleaner shares building space with residential apartments and a pre-school, he decided to make the switch earlier than required.  Honestly, I admire him for doing so.

-   I continued to use my dry cleaner for all garments listed on the site through the fall of 2012.  But after the new machines were installed, I found that the new environmentally safe cleaning method was not as effective at removing stains and odors as the perc had been.  I had to send several garments back for a second cleaning and had to remove some stains myself.  I became more and more frustrated, and have finally had to make the difficult decision to stop using his services due to the less than satisfactory results.

-   During those months of frustration, I began to teach myself which garments could be hand washed safely and which could not.  I nearly cried when a couple of beautiful cocktail dresses were lost during those experiments, but I learned a lot in the process.  I have also invested in a professional quality steam chamber for those items that cannot be hand washed.  

What does this mean for you?  Most garments sold at Couture Allure will no longer be sent out to be professionally dry cleaned.  Many of the garments we sell will be hand washed and pressed.  Those garments will be wearable right out of the box, as you have come to expect.  Non-washable items are put through a 45-minute cycle in a steam chamber here in our offices, which freshens the fabric and removes odors and wrinkles.  If you choose to do so, you may opt to have your item professionally dry cleaned before wearing.  When required, we will send certain garments out to be dry cleaned with an environmentally safe method.   Any garment not cleaned prior to selling will be clearly listed as such on the site.  

There will still be some garments that must go to the dry cleaners and we'll be sure to do so when needed.  At the same time, I'm very happy with the results we're getting with our in-house cleaning and I hope you will be too!