Shirts: Facts vs. Myths
The Science of Commercial Shirt Laundering
One of the most frequent comments/concerns I receive is my shirts feel stiff...and I requested NO STARCH! The process of commercially laundered shirts is very different than home laundered shirts. First, the water temperature is much higher, the starch (if requested) is added into the wash cycle, not sprayed on during pressing. The shirts then go through a 7 cycle rinse (very few facilities provide this) to flush any residual detergent. The shirts are then pressed wet and dry during the pressing process. When the outside humidity is low, while the shirts are drying, this can make the fabric become "stiffer" especially during the cooler/drier months of the year. Also different brands/fabrics react differently to this process. Some shirts will always feel stiffer depending on the manufacturer and fabric.
Special Laundry Category
As manufacturer’s begin to add nylon, spandex, etc. to their shirts, for comfort and change the design or style for better fit, laundering becomes very challenging. We cannot press those shirts on our regular shirt unit. The temperature of 350 degrees will immediately melt the nylon, etc. They also do not fit effectively on the unit. We recently purchased state of the art specialty shirt press which is perfect for the latest styles, however requires additional labor. ( Please see the video of this special unit on our home page).
Wear ‘n’ Tear
The average length of a commercially laundered shirt is one year. Very high water temperatures and frequent pressings, wear the fabric quicker than home laundering. The first areas to wear are the collar, cuffs and elbows. (The elbow area appears much lower on the shirt when not being worn and will appear as a cut or slit directly above the cuff vent). The fraying may not appear until it is laundered one last time and the fabric will literally open up during the laundering process.
Why Women Pay More
The cost of cleaning all garments is in the pressing. A woman’s shirt cannot fit on the body press utilized for men’s shirts which is less time and labor. Women’s shirts must be hand pressed and finished, more labor, hence higher cost. It is the same with child’s shirt. It requires hand pressing/finishing.
Dry Cleaning vs. Laundering
As professionals, we recommend Dry Cleaning higher end brand shirts such as Robert Graham, Canali, etc. as the colors stay brighter and the shirt will last longer. Dry Cleaning is more costly, as each shirt must be hand pressed and finished. Again, more labor therefore higher cost. In the end it is more cost effective as the higher price shirt will last much longer. This is only our professional recommendation. We will launder if preferred.